Some banks are listening

Consumer group action to tackle bank penalties is having a major impact, with the NAB the latest bank to respond. The NAB today announced it would cut direct debit dishonour fees from $50 to $30. It will also launch a mainstream transaction account that allows consumers to avoid bank penalty fees altogether.

This follows on from last week’s announcement by the ANZ Bank says it will waive the first penalty fee incurred by customers. Consumer Action’s chief executive, Catriona Lowe, says NAB has gone further than ANZ to set a new benchmark in the way penalty fees apply on transaction accounts.

The announcements by NAB and ANZ follow the June launch of a nationwide campaign against unfair bank fees.

Penalty fees are charged when consumers don’t have enough money to cover a direct debit or cheque payment, go over their credit card limit or make a late payment. Other banks and financial institutions are continuing to charge penalty fees as high as $50 for each default. NAB executive director Ahmed Fahour says the message from Australian had been clear. “Banks need to offer greater choice, better value and more simplicity in banking.”

He says the bank’s next step is to introduce a range of accounts that will lower the cost of banking for many Australians and cut fees.

See: Bank fees costing SMEs billions


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