In May 2016 the Treasurer promised reforms to address unfair and excessive credit card fees and charges but some 16 months later, he is yet to deliver on this promise.
18 sitting weeks after the Treasurer promised these reforms in response to a Labor-led Senate Inquiry, he has failed to even introduce legislation to the Parliament that would deliver these important changes.
The promised reforms would improve competition and consumer protections, improve disclosures to customers on fees and charges, tighten responsible lending obligations, and rein in unfair interest charges and are urgently needed to ensure Australians get a better deal on their credit cards.
According to the Government’s own figures, currently there is around $52 billion of debt on the 16.7 million credit cards issued in Australia, with the average balance sitting at $4,730.
If Australians are going to get any relief from unfair and excessive fees they will need the banks to reduce their fees but we also need to have the Government follow through on its promise.
Following on from abolishing ATM fees, the banks should now build upon this and rein in other excessive fees, including credit card late payment fees.
It is only when these two things happen that credit card holders will get a fairer deal from their banks.
If the Treasurer is serious about credit card reforms the legislation he promised more nearly 18 months ago should be introduced in the next sitting week in October.
TUESDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER 2017