Third of Austrians struggle to pay bills

Around a third of Austrians have struggled to pay their bills in the last six months and are having a hard time making ends meet, according to a poll carried out by credit management service Intrum Justitia.

Third of Austrians struggle to pay bills
Photo: APA/Fohringer

18 percent of Austrians admitted to struggling financially every month and 28 percent said they are in serious financial trouble.

The majority blamed rising living costs, and 78 percent said that when money gets tight they cut back on going out to save on expenses.

77 percent reduce their spending on clothing and 41 percent cut back on food expenses. 78 percent of Austrians said that the high cost of food was having a serious impact on their wallets.

The most significant factors causing money problems were loss of employment (86 percent), rental costs (87 percent) and fuel prices (80 percent). 57 percent of Austrians said they felt the euro was to blame for their financial woes.

Wolfgang Teller, head of Intrum Justitia in Austria, advised people who are struggling to pay household bills on time to get in touch with their providers or landlords: "sometimes you can arrange to pay in installments or you might be given a little more time to pay".

For its European Payment Index Report Intrum Justitia interviewed 21,000 people across Europe. Results showed that five percent of people feel worse off than they did two or three years ago, and 13 percent are afraid to open their bills.

Three out of ten young Europeans (15-24 years) say that they do not have enough money for a dignified existence. Worst off are Estonians (44%), Irish (41%) and French (40%).

Meanwhile a Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors concludes that the world economy is in its worst shape in two years, with much of the concern focused on the euro area.

Almost two-thirds of those polled said the eurozone was weakening while 89 percent saw disinflation or deflation as a greater threat there than inflation over the next year.

Respondents said the European Central Bank and the region’s governments are making the situation worse by pursuing too-tight policies.

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Reader question: I’ve received my Austrian Klimabonus as a voucher, now what?

Austria's federal government is sending out €500 payments directly to the bank accounts of millions of people, but many have been getting vouchers. Here's what to do with them.

Reader question: I've received my Austrian Klimabonus as a voucher, now what?

With rising inflation, mainly due to the increasing energy costs, people in Austria have seen their salaries purchasing less and less. Because of that, the federal government announced a €6 billion package with assistance, tax cuts and one-off payments.

The main (and somewhat controversial) payment is the so-called “climate bonus and anti-inflation payment”, better known as Klimabonus in Austria. Residents of the country will receive €500 to help cushion the effects of climbing prices. Minors are entitled to half that amount.

The only criterium is that the recipient must have lived in Austria for at least 181 days in 2022 to be eligible for the payment. It doesn’t matter your nationality or employment status – if you have spent six months legally in 2022 in the country, you will get the money.

READ ALSO: When will Austria make the €500 anti-inflation payment and how do I get it?

Money vs voucher

The main difference between recipients is that some will receive the money automatically in their bank accounts and others will get a mailed voucher.

If your bank data is up to date with Austria’s financial institution FinanzAMT on their FinanzOnline portal, you should receive the payment straight to your account. If not, they will mail you the Klimabonus voucher via a secure letter – meaning you need to be at home to sign for it.

READ ALSO: How could Austria’s new electricity price brake benefit you?

There is also an option to have someone else sign the letter for you via a power of attorney form. You can read more about it here.

Once the voucher arrives and you sign for it, you need to redeem it. After that, it’s possible to use them in hundreds of locations, including supermarkets, bookshops and bookshops to thousands of stores.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Austria’s new finance measures could benefit you

You can check the nearest location that will accept your vouchers here.

Additionally, you can trade your vouchers (they come as ten €50 vouchers) for cash on the official Bank99, which is the bank owned by the Austrian Post and that can be found in hundreds of the Postal Service’s branches.