Macquarie Bank cuts rewards points for ATO and BPAY payments

Sally McMullen 5 May 2016

ATOform

From next week, Macquarie customers will be unable to earn rewards points on tax and BPAY payments.

Macquarie Bank joins the ever-growing list of Australian banks cutting the value of its rewards points this month. From 11 May, a range of cards will no longer earn points when making payments to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or when used for BPAY payments.

Which cards are undergoing rewards cuts?

Given that tax time is fast approaching and many cardholders were potentially intending on using their credit cards to cover their tax payments, this is likely to come as a quite a blow to some Macquarie customers.

What else am I unable to earn points on?

  • GST and government charges (including fines paid to any government agency)
  • interest and other bank fees and charges (including any GST payable on any of these)
  • BPAY® payments, i.e. bill payments, and other payments made through the BPAY Electronic Payments Scheme
  • Cash advances
  • Transactions for items that are directly convertible to cash (including, but not limited to, purchase of foreign currency and traveller’s cheques) or cash equivalent transactions
  • Balance transfers
  • Transactions deemed by us to be for operating a business or in connection with business expenditure
  • Transactions that are reversed (refunds)
  • Payments for credit card protection insurance
  • Transactions used for gambling purposes (including gambling chip and lottery ticket purchases).

Changes to Macquarie Qantas card rewards

ATO payments and BPAY payments aren’t the only rewards changes that Macquarie is making this year. From 20 June 2016, the bank will also be cutting back the rewards value of Platinum and Black cards with the introduction of a tiered system. Macquarie’s Qantas Platinum and Black cards will continue to earn 1 point per dollar spent, but it will be restricted by a spend limit per month. These restrictions include:

  • Platinum. 1 Qantas Point per $1 charged on eligible purchases for the first $2,500 spent per statement period, then 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent thereafter per statement period.
  • Black. 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on eligible purchases for the first $4,000 spent each statement period, then 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent until the next statement period.

Why are Macquarie and other Australian banks cutting their rewards value?

Macquarie is currently one of 10 Australian banks that have announced cuts to their rewards programs in 2016. This trend has largely been attributed to the RBA’s introduction of an interchange fee cap this year. Banks often used the profits they received from interchange fees to purchase rewards from airlines and other loyalty programs. So after the introduction of interchange fee caps in an attempt to lower excess surcharges, banks are struggling to recover. As a result, they’re having to cut back on rewards value (by offering less competitive earn rates and prohibiting customers from earning points on particular purchases) in an attempt to make up for these losses.

Unfortunately for the cardholders, this means that you’re not going to have as many opportunities to earn points and it might cost you more to earn the same amount of rewards.

If you don’t think you’ll receive the same value from Macquarie Bank following May 11, it might be time to consider comparing some other rewards cards and credit cards that still earn points on ATO payments.

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