The real cost of running a car

The Australian Security and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released a new app that helps Australians work out the true cost of buying and running a car.

MoneySmart Cars is a free education tool that aims to support Australians with the financial decisions associated with buying a car and to help them understand the ongoing costs of running a car.

The new app gives covers the cost of buying a car, including interest fees, added extras and ongoing costs. It also helps consumers avoid nasty extras and common car buying traps, such as life insurance sold through car yards. MoneySmart Cars even helps users to find alternative ways to finance a vehicle, to help them get a better deal when buying a car.

“With the average car debt per household at about $19,500, buying a car, particularly for young drivers, is an exciting but expensive financial commitment. Our research found that while price is a key consideration, other costs such as loan interest, insurance, servicing and fuel are generally not considered,” said ASIC Deputy Chairman Mr Peter Kell. “Knowing how much owning a car will cost you, including the cost of interest and add-ons you might not think about, will help you make informed decisions about how much you can afford and ensure you get value for money.”

As an example, MoneySmart Cars shows that a car costing $15,000 at the point of sale will cost a total of $50,000 over five years when interest fees and running costs are taken into account.

“We also know that many consumers fall prey to poor financial decisions, when in a car yard for example, because they may be solely focussed on the car or overwhelmed by information overload.  ASIC’s new app is a practical tool that puts you in the driver’s seat,” said Mr Kell.

MoneySmart Cars joins an impressive list of apps released by ASIC that helps Australian consumers make better financial decisions. Apps such as MoneySmart HealthCheck and MoneySmart TrackMySpend aim to support Australians in making the most of their incomes.

ASIC’s MoneySmart Cars app is available now on the App Store and Google Play. To download the app for Apple or Android devices, please visit MoneySmart.

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