ANZ and Westpac refund $21 million to credit card customers after ASIC investigation

Sally McMullen 7 February 2018

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The two big banks are forking out millions after failing to properly disclose fees and concerns around credit limit increases.

Tens of thousands of ANZ and Westpac customers can expect refunds in their accounts in the coming months. In cooperation with ASIC, both banks are refunding a combined amount of more than $11 million in 2018.

ANZ will refund $10.2 million to 52,135 business credit card accounts after failing to properly disclose fees and interest charges on its Business One credit card. In some cases as early as 2009, ANZ reported to ASIC that it failed to communicate applicable interest rates; the interest-free period; annual fee; when overseas transaction fees may apply; as well as the amount payable for overseas transactions with foreign merchants or financial institutions to Business One cardholders.

ANZ has contacted affected customers and ensured that they’ll be refunded with interest in their account. If they’re no longer banking with ANZ, former customers will receive a bank cheque for the refund. For current and new Business One cardholders, ANZ has updated its procedures and fee information to ensure more transparency around the fees and interest rates of the Business One credit card.

Meanwhile, Westpac has provided around $11.3 million in remediation to around 3,400 credit card customers. These refunds follow ASIC-raised concerns about the bank’s credit card limit increase practices.

In 2016, Westpac had agreed to improve its lending practices and ensure that reasonable inquiries are made regarding customers’ income and employment status before approving credit limit increases. As part of Westpac’s agreement with ASIC, it reviewed past credit limit increases provided to cardholders where they subsequently experienced financial difficulty.

As a result, Westpac has issued the $11 million refund including $3 million for fees and interest and around $8.3 to waive credit card balances. As well as the Westpac bank, this refund also concerns eligible customers with St.George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne.

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