Commonwealth Bank welcomes improved banking sector Code of Practice

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Boonie and Binga launch pay your mate back week to help settle nation’s ‘mate debt’

  • New research reveals Aussies are racking up debts to mates of $1.8 billion
  • Over a third of Australians who have lent money to their mates have never been repaid
  • CommBank Kaching helps consumers easily pay their debts through mobile banking and payments

18 February 2013: Australians are racking up unpaid ‘mate debts’ totalling $1.8 billion with the average Aussie currently owed $107 by their mates, according to new research released today by Commonwealth Bank.   

To help the two in five (38 per cent) Australians who have lent money and never got it back, CommBank has partnered with cricketing legends David Boon and Brett Lee to launch ‘Pay Your Mate Back Week’ – a national movement to remind all consumers that it just isn’t cricket not to repay debts to your mates.

The research revealed that Aussies are extremely generous with more than two thirds (68 per cent) saying they’ve lent mates money.  Australians are even willing to lend up to $1000. Their generosity, however, is not always rewarded with the average debt not repaid for 56 days and not before being requested more than five times.

“It’s time to take a stand against all the shirkers out there – mates who are terrible  at paying you back, who always ‘forget’ their wallet, or disappear when it's their round. Together with CommBank, Brett and I are introducing ‘Pay Your Mate Back Week’ in Australia – a chance for those phantoms across the nation to finally settle the score on their unpaid mate debts,”  said David Boon, cricketing legend and Australian ‘debt collector’.

Aussies lend their mates money for everything from shouting lunch, to paying off urgent debts but the most common reasons centre around their mates not being able to find their bank or ATM (32 per cent), buying joint birthday presents (21 per cent) or buying tickets to entertainment events (18 per cent).


Surprisingly, while Australians are willing to lend their mates money, over half (55 per cent) of those surveyed found the process frustrating and 34 per cent dread the awkwardness that comes with asking for their money back.  In fact, 17 per cent are even too embarrassed to ask for their money back at all, with 15 per cent fearing it makes them sound money hungry.

When looking at the reasons behind the nation’s unpaid mate debt, more than 40 per cent of respondents admitted to simply forgetting to pay their mates back, while others considered the debt too small to worry about (19 per cent).  In addition, 18 per cent did not have the money to pay off the debt, and 14 per cent did not see their mates often enough to pay them back.


Aussies can easily pay their unpaid debt with the nation’s most popular digital wallet, CommBank Kaching. Users can download the mobile app and bank anywhere, anytime and also pay their friends using their mobile, email or Facebook contacts.

“CommBank Kaching allows customers to reclaim their unpaid ‘mate debt’ and avoid social awkwardness in the process. Combined with Pay Your Mate Back Week – it is the perfect time for Aussies to settle bad debts,” added Andy Lark, Commonwealth Bank’s Chief Marketing and Online Officer.


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Media contact:

Louisa Galligani,
Senior Public Relations Advisor
T (02) 9118 1784
M 0468 987 33 

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