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12-110MR Bankwest amends credit card advertising following ASIC action
The Bank of Western Australia Ltd (Bankwest) has agreed to make changes to recent advertising for their Bankwest Breeze MasterCard (the Breeze MasterCard) following concerns raised by ASIC that the advertisements were misleading or likely to mislead.
Bankwest claimed in print advertisements that the Breeze MasterCard was ‘Australia’s Cheapest Credit Card’. The advertisement prominently disclosed that this claim was based on a recent award the Breeze MasterCard had received from Money magazine.
ASIC reviewed the award issued by Money magazine and discovered that the Breeze MasterCard was only the cheapest credit card when compared with 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 was concerned that the claim ‘Australia’s Cheapest Credit Card’ was a strong, definitive claim likely to attract consumers’ attention. It was not clear in the advertising that the credit card had won this award only when compared to other banks.
Bankwest has been proactive in responding to ASIC and is taking a number of steps to address the concerns, including:
amending the advertisements, and
contacting consumers who have taken out the Breeze MasterCard since the advertisements were published to more accurately explain the nature of the 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.
ASIC released Regulatory Guide 234 Advertising financial products and advice services: Good practice guidance [RG 234] in February this year. Mr Kell reminded promoters of financial products and financial services and publishers of advertising to review the guide to ensure they understand their obligations and ASIC’s expectations.
‘ASIC will continue to actively monitor advertisements for financial products and financial services and will take appropriate action in response to misleading advertisements’, Mr Kell said.