Monday, 13 July 2020 17:48

CBA claims Benefits finder has saved customers more than $153m

Angus Sullivan: “Benefits finder has been instrumental in supporting the financial well-being of our customers, particularly during the coronavirus crisis." Angus Sullivan: “Benefits finder has been instrumental in supporting the financial well-being of our customers, particularly during the coronavirus crisis." Supplied

The Commonwealth Bank claims its Benefits finder feature, added to its app and online nationally last September, had saved customers more than $153 million in utility bills and additional government payments alone over the past year.

In a statement, the bank said it had designed the evaluation along with Harvard University’s STAR Lab.

Latest conservative estimates indicated that customers had saved more than $69 million in utility bills and generated $84 million in additional income, on a recurring annual basis, the bank said.

Benefits finder aims to help connect customers with their share of unclaimed government rebates and benefits. Since launch, 2.2 million customers had used the feature in the app and more than 700,000 claims had been initiated.

Of those, 370,000 had been started after the coronavirus pandemic started.

The bank said Benefits finder had proved to be a key digital support measure for customers during the COVID-19 crisis and had seen a 500% increase in usage compared with use before the crisis.

The major claims started using the Benefits feature from 1 June 2019 to 3 June this year included:

  • Unclaimed money (286,972 on a federal and state level);
  • Unclaimed super (28,228);
  • Power saver bonus (41,124);
  • Jobseeker related payments (24,256);
  • Family tax benefit (15,587);
  • Rent assistance (13,863); and
  • Family energy rebate (12,038).

The $69 million in utility savings was mostly energy rebates added as discounts to the bill such as the NSW Gas Rebate, Winter Gas Rebate, Family Energy Rebate, Low Income Household Rebate, and Pensioner water concessions among others.

The $84 million in additional payments comprised Federal Centrelink payments or allowances on top of customers’ regular payments, such as Rent Assistance, Education Entry Payment, Mobility Allowance, and bushfire payments.

CBA Retail Banking Services group executive Angus Sulllivan said there were more than 230 benefits available to customers who might not know they were eligible.

“Benefits finder has been instrumental in supporting the financial well-being of our customers, particularly during the coronavirus crisis," he said.

"In addition to the support we are providing directly with our own product and service changes, we are determined to help our customers claim as many benefits and rebates as possible to free up money for essential expenses and reduce their financial stress.

“Leveraging our number one banking app and the Customer Engagement Engine, Benefits finder is one of the ways we are creating a simple, personalised, informative relationship with customers, and making it easy for them to know what is going on digitally, in the palm of their hands.

There are more than 230 benefits and rebates available for small businesses on Benefits finder which was developed by CBA and Harvard’s Sustainability, Transparency and Accountability Research Lab.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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