01.Transparency will help card holders
What the passage of the bill means
With the successful passage of the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Home Loans and Credit Cards) Bill on Monday 4 July 2011, anyone signing up for a new credit card after 1 July 2012 will have more protection.
What if I have a credit card that I signed up for before 1 July 2012?
Under the new law, people who already have a credit card will benefit from some but not all of the changes when they come into effect on 1 July 2012.
What the changes mean
- For new credit cards, lenders will be prevented from charging fees to customers who go over their credit limit, unless they’ve expressly asked for this service
- For new credit cards, lenders will be required to allocate repayments to clear higher interest debts first (e.g. some transactions could attract higher interest rates than others)
- It will be mandatory for credit-card application forms to include a clear summary of key account features
- Lenders will not be able to send unsolicited invitations to customers to increase their credit card limits
- Lenders will be required to provide clear warnings on monthly credit statements about the consequences of making minimum repayments only.
CHOICE's ongoing campaign
We will continue to campaign on your behalf to make sure that these changes work in your best interests.
Some of these changes will only apply to new credit cards. However, it is always good to regularly check our Compare, ditch and switch website and see whether your credit card stacks up with what is on offer.
Getting a better deal on your home loan
As part of CHOICE’s Better Banking Campaign, we have also been calling for a mandatory summary sheet for all mortgages that includes the total cost of repayments. From January 1 2012, the changes under the new law mean that you will be able to obtain a personalised key facts sheet for home loan products. This will allow you to shop around more easily and assess which home loan product is best taking into account your individual circumstances.