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MASS OUTAGE: What to do if you were charged a late fee

·2-min read
Pictured: ANZ, CommBank, Westpac logos. Woman looking at phone, shocked.
Here's what to do if you're charged a dreaded late fee. (Images: Getty).

Several major banks crashed on Thursday leaving Australians unable to access banking apps and make payments.

Banking customers complained of being charged overdraw fees of up to $15 as they were unable to transfer money between accounts, while others claimed they were unable to make their rent payments.

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But according to finance experts, if you’ve been charged a late fee due to the outage, you’re likely entitled to a refund.

"If you've been charged a late fee for something obviously out of your control, like a bank outage, contact your provider and request a refund,” Finder personal finance expert Taylor Blackburn told Yahoo Finance.

"Even if the outage was for a small window of time your bank may be lenient – especially if you have a good payment history and can make a case you tried to pay.”

He said the best way to challenge a late payment fee is to either call up your bank or use the online customer service line.

"In most instances, when it is a known issue like a power outage, your bank will be reasonable,” he said.

"If your bank refuses to help when you've done nothing wrong, you can always search for a better bank that pays you more interest and is more understanding."

He also suggested Australians set up autopayments for a few days in advance of the deadline. That way if the payment can’t be completed, the bank will nearly certainly reprocess the payment without a fee.

“In some cases you can even get perks or discounts for setting up a direct debit,” Blackburn said.

"As soon as you realise there is an issue, or potential issue, contact your bank and document dates and times."

It comes after the Commonwealth Bank suffered a brief outage in April, with customers unable to use credit and debit cards, while Westpac also suffered an outage in September last year.

More recently, Spotify, Amazon and the entire UK government website crashed after one user updated their settings last week.

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