ASIC takes bank to task over credit card ads

by Adam Smith05 Jun 2012

Another bank has been chastised by ASIC over its advertising.

Bankwest has agreed to change its credit card advertising in response to concerns raised by ASIC. The bank's Breeze Mastercard was advertised as "Australia's Cheapest Credit Card" based on an award from Money magazine.

But the watchdog has said the award only compared the Bankwest product to credit cards offered by other banks.

"In fact, there were some other credit card issuers, such as credit unions, that offered cheaper credit cards," ASIC said.

The regulator said Bankwest had been proactive in amending its advertising, and had contacted consumers who had already obtained the credit card to explain the nature of the ad's claim.

"A careful approach should always be taken when promoting awards in advertising for financial products and services to ensure consumers fully understand the basis on which they have been made. Importantly, awards should be adequately explained to ensure they do not mislead consumers," ASIC commissioner Peter Kell said.

The watchdog has already taken aim at advertising and communications from other banks. Earlier in the year, ASIC contacted Westpac and CBA over what it considered misleading communication relating to consumers' ability to raise their credit limits. The regulator has also warned lenders on the advertising of comparison rates.

"ASIC will continue to actively monitor advertisements for financial products and financial services and will take appropriate action in response to misleading advertisements," Kell said.

Related stories:

Watchdog threatens banks on comparison rates

Westpac feels ASIC heat over credit limit stuff-up

CBA takes ASIC medicine over credit limit bungle