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Tuesday 25 August 2015

15-229MR Consumers can reclaim funds on expired travel money cards following ASIC action

Following ASIC's industry-wide review, travel money cards currently issued in Australia will now allow customers to reclaim leftover funds.

ASIC's review of travel money cards has led to three additional card issuers changing their terms and conditions so that customers do not forfeit their funds when the cards expire. This is in line with all other travel money card issuers in Australia.

Travel money cards issued by ANZ, Cuscal (issuer of the Westpac card) and the Bank of China (issuer of the Australia Post Load&Go China card) will now allow customers to reclaim leftover funds even after the expiry of the card. Without this change up to $3.5 million in funds  sitting on expired travel money cards could have been forfeited to ANZ three years after card expiry (where the amount was less than $500). For the Cuscal and Bank of China travel money cards, the changes will now ensure that current and future holders of the cards will avoid the risk of their money being forfeited.

ASIC reviewed 16 travel money cards by eight issuers. The other card issuers reviewed did not allow for forfeiture of funds after expiry.

ASIC’s review will also result in a number of other improvements being made by the eight issuers reviewed including:

  • improved disclosure in product disclosure statements about how customers can reclaim funds after expiry
  • removal or reduction of fees, including inactivity fees
  • improved communications to customers at, or close to card expiry to remind customers of their available balance and explain how funds can be accessed.

ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell said, 'Consumers can now be confident they will have access to their funds even if their travel money card has expired.'

'This is a positive outcome for consumers, and we welcome ANZ, Cuscal and the Bank of China changing their terms and conditions about forfeiture to align with the rest of the industry.'

Consumers who consider they may be entitled to funds on expired travel money cards should contact their card issuer as soon as possible to avoid any ongoing fees.

Background

Many reloadable card products, including some travel cards, allow consumers to access funds they have loaded onto the card at many locations where debit and credit cards are used. Travel cards allow consumers to transfer funds into one or more currencies for use overseas.

Funds on reloadable cards are generally not protected by the financial claims scheme.

This outcome follows similar action by ASIC in relation to the Commonwealth Bank Travel Money card in 2014. (refer: 14-262MR)

Last updated: 30/03/2021 09:38