What are we doing?
The big four banks control nearly 80% of the credit card market. They make it difficult to find out exactly how much a card will cost, to switch and cancel cards. They've used tricks and traps to charge consumers more than $2 billion in unnecessary interest since 2011.
We're calling for an end to the confusion and high costs. CHOICE has written to the Senate Economics Committee to make it clear that consumers need a better deal.
You can join our call by signing the petition for better credit cards.
We want the big banks, who control nearly 80% of the credit card market, to compete on costs and be transparent about the real value of 'special offers' and rewards points. CHOICE is calling for:
- credit card advertising to include a dollar figure to let us compare the average monthly cost of interest and fees.
- credit card providers to compete on the real cost of cards, fees and interest rates.
- a simple online process to cancel credit cards.
- a simple online process to transfer direct debits to make it easy to switch between cards.
- for the industry to invest in changes to make portable account numbers possible.
- for card providers to tell their customers about their cheaper products and to switch customers, with their permission, from expensive legacy products to a better deal.
This work builds on our Better Banking campaign, which was launched in 2010 in Sydney's Martin Place, home of the banking elite. It called on industry, government and consumers to help transform our banking sector.
Lack of competition was and still is one of the biggest issues. Many Australians thought switching banks was too much hassle, or not worth it.
In December 2010 we responded with our Compare, Ditch and Switch comparison tool, shaking up the market by helping consumers find a better banking deal. In March 2011, we delivered our Better Banking report to Canberra. We called for reforms, including easier switching, stamping out unfair fees and increasing competition.
The government listened, acting to scrap mortgage exit fees and simplify account switching processes. They also mandated that banks provide better information on credit products.
In March 2012, we asked Australians to send the big four bank CEOs a message they could not ignore and move their money. We showed the savings possible by shopping around beyond the major banks. On the back of that action we delivered the big four a giant farewell card, signed by 4500 Better Banking supporters.