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Westpac refunds $20 million to customers

Westpac signage in Sydney, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. More Australian homeowners are facing higher mortgage repayments after the National Australia Bank became the third major lender to hike its standard variable home loan interest rates. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING
Westpac signage in Sydney, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. More Australian homeowners are facing higher mortgage repayments after the National Australia Bank became the third major lender to hike its standard variable home loan interest rates. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING JOEL CARRETT

WESTPAC has recently refunded about $20 million in credit card transaction fees to around 820,000 customers.

The payments followed on from a customer complaint, which led to Westpac notifying the Australian Securities and Investments Commission that customers may have been incorrectly charged foreign transaction fees for Australian dollar transactions processed by overseas merchants.

It's understood the fees largely hit people using their credit cards to buy products from overseas, online.

Because the bank's terms and conditions did not clearly state that foreign transaction fees would be charged for such transactions, Westpac started a process to identify affected customers and provide refunds with interest.

The bank has updated its disclosure to clarify that Australian dollar transactions - when they are processed by overseas merchants - will also attract a foreign transaction fee.

ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, 'It is essential for consumers to know when fees will be charged, so that they can make an informed decision when using financial products and services.'  ASIC said it acknowledges the cooperative approach taken by Westpac in its handling of this matter, and its appropriate reporting of the matter to ASIC.

Topics:  customers editors picks westpac