Labor welcomes Senate Report on credit cards

16 December 2015

At a time of year when Australians are especially conscious of the pressure on their credit cards, Labor welcomes the very constructive report on credit cards released by the Senate Economics References Committee today.

Too many Australians find it too difficult to rein in their credit card debt.

Our priority is to make sure that the financial system works for more people, not against them.

The Committee’s Report includes some good ideas which are worth exploring, including those related to:

  • a minimum monthly repayment of the outstanding balance of a credit card;

  • the requirement that Credit providers assess the ability of customers to pay off outstanding debt over a reasonable period, rather than just their ability to pay the minimum balance, before issuing a card;

  • the requirement for card providers to have “Click and Close” facilities, to allow consumers to close credit card accounts through a simple online process, so it is as easy to close down as to apply;

  • the requirement that credit card promotional material clearly discloses the cost of a credit card, including the headline interest rate and ongoing annual fee; and

  • a Government review of technological innovations that could help facilitate switching in the credit card market, including the feasibility of credit card number portability.

Labor will consider the recommendations of the Senate Committee Report and will consult with relevant stakeholders to determine a policy position to take to the next election.

I’d like to acknowledge the hard work of the Senate Committee for bringing this Report together, including the current Chair, Senator Chris Ketter, and the previous Chair, Senator Sam Dastyari.