man selecting shopping car on screen

Buy now, pay later?

Buy now, pay later?

See it, want it, buy it…then pay for it later, what could be easier?  Buy now, pay later (BNPL) is an increasingly popular in-store or online payment option in New Zealand, but is it right for you? We take a look at what BNPL is, how it works, along with the advantages and drawbacks of this short-term loan option.

What is BNPL?

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) is a service that allows you to get the product or service you want straight away, then pay for it in installments over a period of time. Popular BNPL providers include Afterpay, Laybuy or ZIP.

money illustration

How does BNPL work?

BNPL providers are fully integrated on the checkout page of an online store. You just opt to pay via the BNPL provider instead of using your credit card. Once you’ve created an account, approvals are processed shortly after your details have been submitted. You don’t have to use this service exclusively online either, BNPL is available in-store at many retailers throughout New Zealand.

Some BNPL providers will run a credit check and you may not be approved if you have a poor credit rating.

You may be requested to make an initial payment upfront, then the rest of your payments will automatically come out of your nominated bank account, debit card or credit card. Repayments are usually spread over five or six weekly or fortnightly payments.

lady in mall with shopping bags

Advantages of BNPL

  • It’s convenient
  • Fast and easy set up and approval process
  • Interest free terms
  • No fees if you make your payments on time

 

Drawbacks of BNPL

  • It can encourage impulse spending
  • Easy to overspend and blow your budget
  • High late payment fees if you miss a payment or don’t have enough money in your bank account
  • It can affect your ability to get a loan
  • You can run into trouble if you are juggling too many payment plans at once

man thinking with question marks over his head

So, is BNPL the right fit for you?

Deciding whether to use a BNPL service is a personal choice based on your financial situation. Before you jump right in it’s a good idea to ask yourself – Do I need it, or just want it? Can I comfortably afford the weekly or fortnightly repayments? If the answer is yes, then using BNPL can be a good way to make purchases and spread the payments over a short period of time. However, if you know you don’t have the best spending habits and think you’ll have difficulty making repayments, BNPL could make your situation go from bad to worse. Choose wisely!

You may be aware the New Zealand government is introducing new protections for consumers using BNPL, find out more here.

Feeling financial pressure?

If you have a loan with Oxford Finance and are experiencing an unforeseen change in your financial situation, don’t leave it too late to contact us or call 0800 88 44 66.

Get confidential financial mentoring or budgeting advice from Money Talks, an organization that offers advice at no cost to you. Call them on 0800 345 123 or visit their website here.


New Zealand money in pocket

Get your finances back on track

Get your finances back on track

Summer holidays, long lazy days in the sunshine, or if you’re in the North Island, looking out at yet another day of rain, may be starting to feel like a distant memory. Now that everyone is getting back to work and heading back to school, it’s time to ensure your finances are organised for 2023. Check out our top five tips.

1 – Holiday blowout

Firstly, if you’ve splashed a little too much cash around these past two months, don’t beat yourself up too much. You’re human and we all make mistakes. The important thing is to acknowledge you’ve over spent and find ways to fix any problems straight away.

Priority number 1 – If you have accidently missed a bill payment, don’t wait, pay it now. Alternatively, if your think you might not be able to make an upcoming payment, get in touch with the company or service provider to work through a payment plan or suitable solution.

Lady looking into empty purse

2 – Be honest

Take an honest look at your recent spending. Check out your latest credit card or bank statements to find out where you’ve over spent and why. Once you’ve discovered where the money has gone, you can start to think about strategies to fix it and save money instead. For instance, if you can see that you have indulged in takeaways a few too many times a week, start by writing a weekly meal plan. Buy ingredients for easy meals from the supermarket in advance and prep ahead of time. You can still have the odd takeaway, just make it a treat once a week.

bills and piggy bank on seesaw

3 – Review your budget

How often do you take a look at your budget? Is something missing, what needs to change?

Perhaps your budget is too restrictive and unrealistic or, you need to reallocate how much you have budgeted for certain categories? For example, if your internet provider has recently increased their prices, you will need to adjust your budget to cover the additional expense.

It’s also a good idea to set up an emergency fund. Putting aside a little each week adds up quickly and will give you a buffer in case something unexpected happens.

couple reviewing paperwork

4 – Set boundaries for future spending

Now is the time to set realistic boundaries to avoid the temptation to over spend. There are a number of apps available to help you budget, track your spending and set financial goals. MyBudgetPal is a great example of a free budgeting app available to Kiwis.

stack of gold coins

5 – Every little bit counts!

Small changes really do add up and will help you get your finances back on track. Be a savvy shopper and avoiding certain ‘specials’ at the supermarket. Do you really need five tins of peaches for $5 when you only intended to buy one for $1.20. Or maybe you need to ignore and avoid the latest sales at your local shopping mall and enjoy catching up with friends in the park or beach instead.

The beginning of the year is also a great time to review your subscriptions. It you only used your gym membership a handful of times last year, get rid of it!

Whatever you do, the key to successfully getting your finances back on track is to stay motivated. Break down your goals into smaller steps so they are more realistically achievable, and reward yourself when you get there…just not too much!

Feeling financial pressure?

If you have a loan with Oxford Finance and are experiencing an unforeseen change in your financial situation, don’t leave it too late to contact us or call 0800 88 44 66.

Get confidential financial mentoring or budgeting advice from Money Talks, an organization that offers advice at no cost to you. Call them on 0800 345 123 or visit their website here.


Christmas tree

Top tips for a stress free holiday season

Top tips for a stress free holiday season

With the rush and excitement of Christmas and the anticipation of a well-deserved break, we often forget it can also be a time of added pressure and stress about money. So, we’ve put together some practical tips to help get you through the festive season and have a truly happy new year, and not a financial hangover in 2023.

New Zealand money and calculator

Plan your spending

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, but it doesn’t mean that maxing out your credit card over meeting your financial commitments is a good idea. Here are a few things you can do:

  • It sounds boring but it’s really important – start with a budget and stick to it.
  • Make time to compare prices online and take advantage of pre-Christmas sales.
  • Share the load and cut down time spent at the supermarket checkout by organising family members to each bring a plate on Christmas day.

friends sharing Christmas dinner

Don’t over commit

Between friends and family, work and school, you are bound to have events or invitations fall on the same day. The best way to navigate your social calendar is to prioritise what’s most important and what you can attend in person. It’s okay to say no to a few invites, it will help relieve stress and you might save some money too. If you can, save a few of those catch ups for the new year, you’ll likely be more relaxed anyway.

Be realistic about your budget

You may have just bought a car, finished a kitchen renovation, or have a new addition to your family. Whatever stage of life you’re at, remind yourself that everyone’s financial situation is different. Try not to feel pressured into buying expensive gifts just because your best friend or brother always does.

Relaxing on couch with cup of tea

Give yourself a break

Schedule in some ‘me’ time without breaking the bank. It could be a YouTube workout or walk around the block. A phone call with a friend, or even just 20 minutes sitting down with a cup of tea. Remember, you are only one person and you can only do so much. If the pavlova collapses it’s not the end of the world. It will still taste the same, and you can always try for that Instagram worthy pav next year.

Pavlova with berries and mint leaves

So, this festive season, try to focus a little more on spending quality time with family and friends and less on time spent tapping the plastic!

Feeling financial pressure this Christmas?

If you have a loan with Oxford Finance and are experiencing an unforeseen change in your financial situation, don’t leave it too late to contact us on 0800 88 44 66.

Get confidential financial mentoring or budgeting advice from Money Talks, an organization that offers advice at no cost to you. Call them on 0800 345 123 or visit their website here.


Credit score illustration

Your credit score and why it matters

Your credit score and why it matters

Are you in the dark about personal credit scores? How it impacts on how much money you can borrow? And, how you find out what your rating is?

We’re here to shed some light, explain why it’s an important tool for lenders, and a few tips on how you can make sure yours shines! 

What is a credit score?

Put simply, your personal credit score highlights your history of how promptly you pay your bills and pay back you credit obligations, such as a credit card or a loan. It is a number between 1 – 1,000, and the higher you score the better your credit rating is.

If you’ve ever had a credit card or even a phone contract you will have a credit history. Your credit data is supplied by companies that give credit (E.g. Banks, finance companies, power companies, phone companies), to credit agencies who report and record your credit information. This information can include instances where you’ve applied for a loan, paid bills on time, made overpayments, as well as if you’ve missed a payment or even been declared bankrupt.

loan application form and calculator

Why does your credit score affect your ability to get a loan?

Credit scoring and reporting helps lenders like us get an insight into how reliable you are with your finances – how often you’ve paid your bills on time and, how likely you are to pay them on time in the future. It can be used to determine your level of risk before deciding whether or not to lend you money. Your credit score not only impacts your ability to get a loan but can also impact the interest rate you pay. The better your credit score, the more likely you’ll have credit approved and, the cheaper it should be too.

Illustration of man pushing dial of credit score to excellent

So, how do you get a good credit score and what can you do to improve a low one?

Firstly, find out what your credit score is. New Zealand has a small number of credit reporting agencies who hold your credit data, and it’s an easy process to access your own personal credit history and credit score information. To get a free copy of your personal credit report provided by Centrix Credit Bureau, visit their website here.

Once you have your credit report in hand you can start to look at ways to improve your score. Here are some tips:

  • Pay your bill on time, every time! Set up a direct debit and take the hassle out of remembering when something is due to be paid.
  • If you have missed a payment, settle the outstanding amount as soon as possible.
  • Avoid applying for small loans or credit cards too often. Multiple applications at the same time can negatively impact your score.
  • Having a good long positive credit history will help to get you a higher credit score.

As you can see, how reliable you are with your finances directly reflects your credit score and can impact on how successful you’ll be when applying for a loan.

Check out our easy to use loan calculator to see what your loan repayments may be, and, If you have any questions around applying for finance please get in touch with our friendly team today. Alternatively, if you have a loan with us and are experiencing an unforeseen change in your financial situation, don’t leave it too late to contact us, we may be able to help.

Concerned about your finances?

Get confidential financial mentoring or budgeting advice from Money Talks, an organization that offers advice at no cost to you. Call them on 0800 345 123 or visit their website here.


Car in hand illustration

Don't buy a car on your house!

Think twice about buying a car on your house

When you’re looking to purchase a new car or upgrade the old one, it can be tempting to top up your home loan to finance it. Car finance interest rates are usually higher than home loan interest rates, so you’d think it would make perfect sense. However, you may not realise that it’s much better to pay off your car as quickly as possible, especially when interest rates continue to rise. Here we explain three reasons why.

Reason 1 – You’ll pay less interest

Yes, really! A mortgage can last for decades with an average loan term of 25 years, whereas a car loan is usually 3 years or less. Even if the interest you’re paying is a little higher, the shorter the loan term, the less interest you are likely to pay overall.

Here’s a comparison:

If you add a $20,000 car loan to your mortgage with an interest rate of 6% on a 25-year loan term, the total amount you will have paid overall is $38,700. That’s $18,700 in interest alone, almost the cost of another car!

Alternatively, if you get $20,000 in car finance with an interest rate of 12% on a 3-year loan term, the total amount you will have paid overall is $23,904. As you can clearly see, you’re already winning.

Note: The above comparison is for indicative purposes only. Interest rates are subject to change and are only current at the time of writing this article. Oxford Finance fees, terms, conditions and normal lending criteria applies.

Girl thinking

Reason 2 – Pay off one car at a time

Cars rarely grow in value and are often deemed as a ‘deprecating asset’. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that a new car loses its value the minute you dive it out of the car yard. Aside from loss in value due to general wear and tear, new car models with improved features are introduced by car makers every three to six years.

In a few years’ time you could find yourself in a position where you’ve sold your car and are still paying it off through on your mortgage. Or worse yet, you’ve upgraded your car and are paying off two cars at once!

New Zealand money

Reason 3 – Protect the equity in your home

Everyone knows that if you can, it’s best to pay off debt as fast as possible. This might sound quite difficult right now when you think about inflation and the increased cost of living in New Zealand. However, with the money you save from getting car finance, you may be in a position to put that money towards your mortgage. Remember, if you keep adding to your mortgage, you’ll never get it paid off.

stack of coins graph illustration

When it comes to borrowing money what’s most important is that you can afford to borrow it. Here at Oxford we are committed to our customers and have a very robust affordability assessment to ensure no one is over-committing themselves. However, we all know sometimes life throws us unexpected surprises or changes in circumstances. If the unexpected happens, Oxford will do its very best to help people find a solution that works.

If you’re thinking about a car loan and want to know what your repayments may be, check out our loan calculator.

Alternatively, if you have any questions around applying for finance please get in touch with our friendly team, we’re here to help.


EV road sign

EVs Explained

EVs Explained

Electric vehicles are becoming more common in New Zealand every day, and as EV technology continues to evolve, you may be surprised at the different EV options available to suit your budget and lifestyle.

Before you decide to make the switch to an electric vehicle, it’s important to understand your plug-ins from your hybrids and everything in between. We’ve done the hard work for you and categorised the three main EVs currently for sale in New Zealand and explain what they mean – Let’s get started!

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)
These vehicles run on a both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and a battery powered electric motor. An example of a hybrid is a Toyota Prius. They use a fuel tank and battery for sources of power.

Road conditions and the way you are driving will determine which fuel source an HEV uses. For example, you’ll most likely be using petrol or diesel powered by a combustion engine for acceleration or going up a steep hill, then when you’re sitting in traffic or travelling at a low speed the battery motor will take over. The battery begins to re-charge when the vehicle brakes, a system known as regenerative braking.

The good news is that your fuel cost will be considerably lower, although a downside to a hybrid is that it is less powerful than its non- battery equivalent.

electric car illustration

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

Similar to HEV’s as they both use a fuel tank and battery for sources of power. However, PHEV’s normally operate in electric mode with the ICE partially recharge the battery via regenerative braking, or take over and give you extra power if you need it (when carrying a heavy load or towing). You can also recharge by plugging the vehicle into a standard household electrical socket. An example of a PHEV is a Mitsubishi Outlander.

A PHEV could be a good fit if you need a vehicle for a mixture of long and short trips or often need to drive beyond the battery range.

plug in electric car illustration

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

The king of all EVs, BEVs rely exclusively on electric motors to run. The Tesla 3, Kia Niro and Nissan Leaf are all examples of BEV’s or zero emission vehicles. You’ll need to charge a BEV by plugging it into an electrical socket, charging unit or public charging station. BEVs have limited battery range, so you’ll need to be aware of how far you can go before it’s time to recharge if you’re heading out of town.

If you want low running costs, mostly drive around town and often fund yourself sitting in traffic, a BEV is well worth considering.

electric car illustration

Still unsure if an EV is for you? Why not take one home for a few days and find out? Rental car companies and subscription services provide a good way for you to trial an EV. You’ll certainly get more out of it than a test drive around the block. Plus, you get to see how the vehicle performs across your day to day activities and if it’s the right kind of EV for you.

If you’re thinking about financing an EV or have any questions around applying for finance, please get in touch with our friendly team, we’re here to help.


confused lady with hands in the air

Jargon busters

Jargon busters

You could easily be mistaken in thinking you’re hearing or reading a foreign language when it comes to the world of finance. Just looking at a loan agreement with its pages of jargon can send your head into a spin.

However, don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of words and terms you’re likely to encounter when you take out a loan, and explain exactly what it is we’re talking about – It’s time to unjumble the jargon!

question bubbles illustration

Agreement – A contract between a borrower (you) and a lender (I.e. Oxford Finance). It outlines the terms of your loan and repayments.

Arrears – The overdue amount or amount accrued after missing one or more scheduled loan repayments.

Co-borrower – Someone who has jointly taken out a loan with another person. They could be a partner, family member or friend. Co-borrowers share responsibility and liability in repaying the loan.

Creditor – The person or company (I.e. Oxford Finance) who lends money to the debtor – the person or company borrowing money.

Deposit – Is an upfront part payment towards the goods you wish to purchase, such as a car. The greater your deposit, the smaller the amount you will need to borrow. To get an indication of possible loan repayments check out our online Loan Calculator.

Direct debit – Once authorised by you, a direct debit enables us (Oxford Finance) to take regular loan payments from your nominated bank account.

Dishonour – Is when there is not enough money in your account to make a loan payment.

Guarantor – Is a person(s) who agrees to be responsible for the debt of the borrower by offering their own assets such as their home as collateral. In general, business loans will require a guarantor.

GAP insurance – If your car is written off and the loan amount you owe is greater than what your insurer pays out, GAP insurance covers the shortfall.

Initial unpaid balance – Is the total amount you owe at the start date of your loan.

Interest – Is the amount a lender (I.e. Oxford Finance) charges the borrower (you) for taking out a loan. The interest rate you are charged is based on the type of security provided, value of security in relation to the loan amount, your previous credit history, and your credit and personal profile.

Loan repayment insurance – Depending on the level of cover you choose, your outstanding loan balance will be paid out if you unexpectedly die, or temporarily cover your loan repayments if you are unable to work due to illness or injury.

Mechanical breakdown insurance – Covers the cost to repair the mechanical or electrical parts of your vehicle if it unexpectedly breaks down.

Motor vehicle insurance – If you borrow money for a vehicle, Oxford requires your vehicle to be insured against theft and accident damage.

Payment waiver – Is an optional product you can purchase at the time you take out a loan. It is included in your repayments and will clear the balance of your loan depending on the level of covered events you choose. Find out more about payment waiver.

Security – Means that if something were to happen, and you were unable to repay your loan, the lender would be able to sell your security (usually your car if you have taken out vehicle finance), to recoup the money owing on your loan.

Settlement – Is the amount required to repay your loan in full.

Trade in – When you purchase a vehicle from a dealer, you may be able to sell your old vehicle to the dealer as part payment towards the cost of your new vehicle.

Vehicle offer and sale agreement – Is the documentation from a dealer outlining the details of your pending vehicle purchase. This will include agreed price, finance details, vehicle details, any add-ons or accessories, trade-in information and values if applicable. It is important that you fully understand all the details and terms and conditions of the offer and agreement. If something doesn’t make sense, ask the dealer to explain it to you.

Please get in touch with our friendly team at Oxford if you have any questions around applying for finance.

We look forward to hearing from you.


supermarket trolley

Saving money at the supermarket

Saving money at the supermarket

We’re all noticing that the cost of goods and services are increasing quickly in New Zealand… groceries, power and insurance to name a few, it can start to feel like the money in your bank account is going out faster than it’s going in. That’s why it’s a good idea to start thinking about your spending habits, especially at the supermarket.

Don’t go to the supermarket hungry
It’s sounds obvious, but if you’re in a rush and want to squeeze in a quick shop before dinner, you’ll end up buying more than you need. Eat a piece of fruit and have a drink of water in the car on your way to the supermarket. That way you’ll be less tempted to buy that packet of chips or chocolate bar. Plus, your waistline and your pocket will thank you for it too. 

Make a list…and stick to it
You’ll save money by buying only the items you need and not what you don’t. Also, if you can, shop alone. Kids can be extremely sneaky at putting things in your trolley when you’re not looking or, repeatedly asking for something until you give in. 

Buy generic or home brand products
 The difference in cost between premium brands and home brands can be significant and add up quickly. If the product is like for like you’re not missing out on anything. And just remember, you’re not going to be eating the packaging!

Vegetables at grocery store

Shop in-season
It goes without saying that fruit and vegetables taste better when they are in season and are generally more affordable too. Plan your meals accordingly and reap in the savings.

Cut out the convenience food
Pre-packaged meals such as pizzas or bagged salads are quick and easy, but expensive too. Add your choice of topping to par-baked pizza bases and have some left over for lunch the next day.

Shop online
Today almost all supermarkets have a convenient online shopping option. Once you’ve selected all your groceries you can easily review your items and discard any you don’t really need. It’s a good way to ensure you’re within you budget before you arrive at the check out.


computer screen with icons

CCCFA and how it affects you

CCCFA and how it affects you

You have probably heard a lot of talk lately around recent changes to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA), and the extra hurdles that have been put in place when applying for credit. Does this mean that it’s now harder to borrow? Well, maybe not….

coins stacked in front of car

To put it simply, the CCCFA is a consumer law that protects you when you want to borrow money. The Act sets out rules that we as a finance company must follow when lending money. The main aim of the Act is to ensure that each loan is suitable and affordable for the borrower.

Here we have listed some of the things our lenders look at when assessing whether a loan is suitable and affordable, and what you can do to ensure your finances are in the best possible shape before making an application for finance.

Things key things we look at:

  • Your bank statements

We review your bank statements to determine whether or not you have the ability to repay your loan before providing finance. We check:

  • Your incomings (E.g. Wages, salary) and your fixed outgoings (e.g. rent/mortgage, insurance, power, food and groceries etc).
  • For any payment defaults
  • What other debt you may have. i.e. credit cards, Buy now, pay later loans
  • Your credit history
  • Your employment status and history
  • Your residential status

man on laptop

Things you can do before applying for credit:

  • Keep a record of your expenses before applying for a loan, then create a budget that you can follow;
  • Set up direct debits for your key bills. It can sometimes be hard to remember which bill is due and when, so direct debits are a great way of ensuring you are paying your bills on time. Any missed bills can impact your credit score;
  • Aim to control your discretionary (non-essential) spending. Whilst we don’t focus on which fast food outlet you frequent, we are required to take these expenses into account when assessing your loan;
  • Ensure any defaults are paid off before applying for credit;
  • Aim to pay your credit card balance off in full each month;
  • Be cautious about accepting buy now, pay later payment options. What initially looks like a small repayment each week does add up quickly, and will impact on how much you can borrow.

It can seem like a lot to take in, however it is important that you plan and budget accordingly so that your finances are in order when you’re ready to take out a loan. Remember, the CCCFA helps ensure that all parties are comfortable that you are not extending yourself beyond your means.

Please get in touch with our friendly team at Oxford if you have any questions around applying for finance.

We look forward to hearing from you.


Dangling key outside car

How to get a car loan

How to get a car loan

There are a number of ways you can get a car loan, either from a car dealer, finance broker, or you can go to a lender directly. However, if it’s the first time you’re applying for a car loan it can feel a little overwhelming. So here we’ve compiled a list of steps to help you along the way.

cars in a row

Decide what type of car you want to buy
Take the time to consider your lifestyle and what you want to get out of your new car – Are you looking for a compact city run-around? A car with enough space to fit the kids and the dog? Or, perhaps you’re thinking an EV might be the best option when the cost of filling up the tank is getting more and more expensive every week.

Decide how much to you want to spend and how much can you afford to borrow?
It’s important to work out early on how much you are comfortable spending and borrowing. Take a look at your finances and work out a budget. Look at your income and expenses. Look at what you are currently paying on a regular basis, such as your rent, power or internet. How much is left over after all the bills are paid? Car insurance is another important factor to consider and will need to be included in your budget calculations. To give you an idea of what your loan repayments might be, check out our online Loan Calculator.

Holding calculator

Apply for a loan approval with us
Once you’ve found a car, or decided how much you want to spend, you can apply for a car loan online. There are certain eligibility requirements you’ll need to meet before you begin:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Hold a valid New Zealand drivers licence
  • Earn over $30,000 per year before tax

Conditional approval
After completing our online loan application, if successful we’ll offer you a conditional approval. From here we collect further information from you, such as verifying your identity and looking at your recent bank statements. Don’t worry, this can be done quickly and easily using secure online processes. Once we have all the details we need and have agreed on a loan amount and repayment term, we’ll process and payout your car loan. This may take a day or two to complete.

It’s time to get behind the wheel
Now that you’ve found the perfect car and are heading off down the road, remember that we’re still here to support you. You’ll find lots of helpful and frequently asked questions on our website, as well as online access to your account so you can track your repayments or update your details whenever you need to.