Super-Rewards helps bridge gender super gap powered by BPAY APIs

- By Collaborative Media & Publishing
Compulsory superannuation will underpin the retirements of millions of Australian men in the years to come, but for many women the outcome won’t be as good.
 
In fact, women retire with about 58% of the super that men do, according to data from the Australian Human Rights Commission, while a government report on planning for retirement estimated almost 40% of single women retire into poverty.
 
It’s a problem Super-Rewards founder Pascale Helyar-Moray is focussed on, and one she hopes to help alleviate with her superannuation savings platform.
 
Super-Rewards is an online shopping platform that rewards consumers with superannuation contributions when they make purchases. For instance, they earn up to 4% of the purchase price when they buy clothes from Country Road; up to 2.4% when they buy from ebay; and up to 1.1% when they buy from Appliances Online. Some 440 retailers have now signed onto the platform.
 
Every month, Super-Rewards deposits their rewards into super accounts using BPAY APIs.
 
Helyar-Moray says the site is particularly well suited to women, because many of them are running their own households as well as potentially their older parents’ households, and so are making regular purchases.
 
Benefits extend beyond boosting super
 
There are several benefits. The first is that the regular monthly payments, which may be as small as $5 to $20, help increase super balances. But importantly, the regular deposits also keep the super account active.
 
As part of the recently-introduced ‘Protecting Your Superannuation’ legislation, super funds are required to close inactive super accounts with a balance of less than $6,000 and transfer the monies to the Australian Taxation Office.
 
They define an inactive account as one where no contribution has been made for 16 months.

Additionally, life and total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance included with many super schemes is cancelled if an account becomes inactive.
 
“I would say 99.9% of people I talk to have no idea about that legislation,” Helyar-Moray says. “Super-Rewards is a way of ensuring that insurance remains in place.”
 
Super-Rewards also helps drive members’ engagement with their super, which has been a problem since the introduction of compulsory retirement savings over 30 years ago.

“What Super-Rewards does is it simplifies all that jargon. It simplifies all the confusing language. And it takes the very complex concepts and framework with superannuation and just boils it down to add to your super every day doing what you do anyway,” Helyar-Moray says.
 
There are several reasons for women’s smaller than average super balances tied to society's ongoing gender bias. Women tend to earn less than men, which means compulsory super contributions from their pay packets are smaller; they tend to spend more time out of the workforce having and caring for children, and caring for relatives; and women often work more part-time hours compared to men.
 
Automation with BPAY APIs
 
The gender gap might well have been made worse by the COVID-19 crisis provision to allow people to make two early withdrawals of up to $10,000 each time from their super.
 
The ATO says nearly three million people have taken a total of $36 billion out of their super accounts, which Helyar-Moray believes impacts more on women because they were more likely to have spent it on food, clothing and utility bills.
 
It’s likely to exacerbate the problem where women retire with an average of $150,000 in super compared with $270,000 for men, yet women live longer.
 
When Helyar-Moray started Super-Rewards in late 2019, they initially asked members for their super account details, but found many people didn’t know them or made errors. It was taking 50 to 80 hours a month for the Super-Rewards team to enter the details and manually approve payments.
 
After researching a solution, they discovered the majority of super funds accept contributions by BPAY, and they could use BPAY APIs to automate the process. These include the Retrieve BPAY Biller Details, Validate BPAY Payment, and Generate BPAY Batch File APIs.
 
BPAY’s capability allows members to make voluntary contributions to their super accounts using a BPAY Biller code and reference number in the same way they might pay an electricity or gas bill.
 
“We did our first run using the BPAY APIs in February and that process was 70% automated,” Helyar-Moray says. “And we’re getting better and better every month that we make the payments. And with $100,000 of Super-Rewards now paid into our users’ super funds, we are reminded every day of how this could not have been possible without BPAY.”

Learn more about BPAY Group’s Developer Portal and BPAY APIs here.

Published by BPAY Pty Ltd (ABN 69 079 137 518) email: marketing@bpay.com.au. The BPAY Scheme is managed by BPAY Pty Limited.  When you use BPAY payment products, the BPAY Scheme is paid fees relating to processing costs and BPAY Scheme membership.  Contact your financial institution to see if it offers BPAY payment products and to get the Product Disclosure Statement.  Any financial product advice provided by BPAY Pty Limited in relation to BPAY payment products is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on such advice, you should review the Product Disclosure.
 

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