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Credit card detail that could be costing you: ‘Should be illegal’

One Aussie learned about this detail the hard way.

Credit card
An Aussie has shared this little-known credit card rule. (Source: Getty/Associated Press)

There’s a little-known credit card detail that could be costing Aussies when it comes to their subscriptions and other regular payments.

Sharing on the popular AusFinance subreddit, one user shared they “learned the hard way” that merchants could obtain your new card details, after your old one expires.

“Here's something you might not know: when your old cards expire, you are not automatically unsubscribed to stuff,” the user said.

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“I had this subscription with this streaming service that I did not want, so I let my debit card expire and did not update card details deliberately.

“I found out that I was still being charged on my new card and contacted customer support, thankfully they were nice enough to refund the last charge and cancel my subscription.”

This is actually a common practice with many of the major bank cards and is outlined in their terms and conditions. Commonwealth Bank, for instance, says in some cases it will automatically provide your new credit card details to Mastercard. Mastercard can then pass along this to merchants you have regular payments with.

Westpac says that merchants who are using “Tokenised Credentials” may be automatically updated so your recurring payments will continue.

‘Nothing wrong here’

The original poster said they felt like the practice “should be illegal”, but many other commentators disagreed.

“I suspect the number of people who love this service (so their Netflix / Internet / Mobile Phone / Only Fans subscription doesn't suddenly stop working) far exceeds the number of people who try to use the expiry date of a card to stop paying for a contracted service,” one person said.

“For most people who's cards expire and a new one is sent out, it's not a great experience to have all your recurring debits suddenly be declined,” another person who works at a bank said.

“It's not the merchant being scummy and "reaching out" to find out your new card details. It's just automatic.”

“It's generally in the T&C's for debit & credit cards…The bank is doing nothing wrong here,” another person said.

Other people questioned why the original poster didn’t just cancel their subscription.

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