Being smart with book up
Your local store might offer 'book up'. Book up is a type of
informal credit offered by stores and other traders. This can help
you get the things you need now and pay for them later.
Be careful if you use book up and try not to book up too much -
you could end up owing more money than you can afford. Here is some
information on how book up works and what to do if you need
What is book up?
You might know book up by another name, such as 'book down', 'on
the tick', 'on the slate', 'running a tab', or 'tiki'. Regardless
of what you call it, it usually refers to a practice where a store
lets you get goods or services now and pay the store later.
Some stores charge a fee, or charge more for things that are
booked up than they would charge if the customer paid for them in
cash. Find out what fees the store charges so you can work out how
much you will owe.
Problems with book up
Here are a few things to help you avoid problems
when using book up
When you use book up the store owner might ask you to leave your
ATM card as security for the debt. It is important to remember that
you are in charge of your ATM card, so you decide if you want to
leave it at the shop. If you do, think about how you will be able
to pay for things at other stores, and how you will get access to
money if you urgently need it.
You should never tell anyone - including the store owner - your
PIN (personal identification number)
because it means other people can access your money. If you do give
away your PIN you will lose control of your money, including the
right to get it back if someone takes it. If you think someone has
taken money from your account without you knowing, contact your
bank straight away to cancel your card.
Some other things to watch out for if you are booking up
- Extra fees or charges for using book up instead of cash
- You might be offered too much book up and find it hard to pay
the money back
- A store might let other people book up on your account without
- You might find it hard to track how much you have spent unless
you ask for itemised receipts
How to book up safely
Some other things to remember when using book up are:
- Terms and conditions - Understand how much you
have to pay and when you have to pay the money back. Ask the store
owner to write this down for you so you have a record.
- Set a limit - Decide how much you want to
spend on your book up and set a limit - otherwise you might never
pay it off.
- Access to your book up - Give the store owner
a list of the people who are allowed to use your book up
- Keeping track - Always write down what you buy
and how much you have to pay back, and keep your receipts
Getting help with book
If you get into a lot of debt using book up you can talk to a financial
counsellor. You can also find your local financial capability
worker using the Department of Social Services' Grants Service Directory. When
you use the Directory, choose 'Commonwealth Financial Counselling
and Financial Capability' for the service type.
If you think a store owner or someone else has stolen money from
your account contact your bank and the police straight away. If you
need additional assistance, you can also contact your local Legal
Service, or ASIC's Indigenous Help Line on 1300 365 957.
For more information go to get help with money.
community workers about book up
For more information about book up, download ASIC's short
Dealing with book up: Key
Or, download detailed chapters:
Chapter 1 -
About book up
Chapter 2 - Action tips
Chapter 3 - Better book
Chapter 4 - Other ways
Chapter 5 - Money skills
Chapter 6 - The law
Chapter 7 - Getting help
To find out how book up is affected by the national credit laws
see ASIC's National credit laws and book up: What you
need to know.
For information about alternatives to book up, listen to our
audio segments on bank accounts, loans and credit
Be careful if you use book up. Make sure store
owners or other people are not taking money from you without you
knowing. Keep track of your bank and store accounts and remember,
you decide what gets booked up.
Last updated: 29 Mar 2018