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ANZ fined $15 million for misleading customers

More than 186,000 ANZ accounts were charged an average of $45 in fees and interest on cash advances.

The Federal Court found ANZ misled customers about the available funds in their credit card accounts. (Source: Getty)

ANZ has been slapped with a $15 million fine after it admitted to misleading credit card customers about their available funds.

The major bank falsely indicated to customers they could get cash advances from money in their ‘Available Funds’ without getting hit with fees and interest.

However, the Federal Court found ANZ displayed the incorrect amount of ‘Available Funds’ to customers and showed a larger amount than what was actually available for withdrawal.

This meant customers were charged fees and interest when they went to take out a cash advance, based on these available funds.

More than 186,000 accounts were charged an average of $45 in fees and interest on cash advances between May 2016 and November 2018, with some customers charged thousands.

ANZ has now paid back $8.3 million to these impacted customers and will establish a remediation program to repay customers charged between November 2018 and September 2021.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission deputy chair Sarah Court said customers deserved “clear and accurate information” about the available funds in their accounts and what fees and charges they may incur.

“Many ANZ customers relied on the account information displayed by the bank and were charged fees that were inconsistent with that information,” Court said.

The court also found ANZ did not address the problem quickly enough.

“These are errors that we expect a bank to be aware of and fix in a timely manner. It should not have taken ANZ several years to address this issue,” Court said.

If ANZ determines you are eligible for a remediation payment, it will typically deposit the payment directly into your ANZ account and send you a letter shortly after the payment is made.

If it can’t find a suitable ANZ account for payment, it will either send you a letter with a cheque or send you a letter with details on how to claim your refund.

NAB fined $2.1 million

ANZ isn’t the only major bank to be slapped with a fine. Last week, NAB was fined $2.1 million for charging customers incorrect fees.

Federal Court Justice Derrington called the penalty “woefully insufficient” but noted it was the maximum penalty that could be applied.

In addition to the penalty, NAB has paid approximately $9 million in remediation to affected customers who incurred incorrect periodic payment fees from August 1, 2001.

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