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17-377MR Citibank refunds $3.3 million to credit card customers
Citibank will refund more than $3.3 million to around 39,500 current and former customers for failing to refund customers when credit card accounts were closed with an outstanding credit balance.
Citibank will provide refunds for Citibank, Virgin Money, Bank of Queensland, Suncorp and Card Services branded credit cards and for Citibank Ready Credit loan customers. Citibank is the credit provider for all of these products.
This error occurred on accounts as far back as 1994 but did not happen every time an account was closed.
Citibank is writing to eligible customers to advise that they will receive a refund of the credit balance with interest. Former customers will receive a bank cheque and current customers with an open account will receive a direct credit into their account.
The closed credit card and loan accounts with more than $500 in credit balances, which were not transacted on for seven years (or three years as applicable) have been transferred to ASIC as required under unclaimed money legislation.
Citibank has strengthened its systems so that cheques for credit balances are issued to customers automatically when they close their accounts.
"Customers should be confident that when they close an account, they are refunded any outstanding balance," ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell said.
Mr Kell also said customers may be entitled to claim their balance through ASIC's MoneySmart website which holds unclaimed money from accounts which have been inactive for a certain period:
"If you think you might be impacted, your money may be with ASIC as unclaimed money. I strongly encourage you to search your name on ASIC's MoneySmart unclaimed money search."
Citibank reported the issue to ASIC, and has cooperated with ASIC in resolving the matter.
Citibank (Citigroup Pty Ltd) has commenced writing to all affected customers, and affected customers will be contacted before 30 November 2017.
Customers who have any questions should contact their credit card provider:
- Citi: 13 24 84
- Card Services (MyState, QTMB, IMB, AusWide, MyCard and CUA): 1300 135 538
- Bank of Queensland: 1300 55 72 72
- Suncorp: 13 11 55
- Virgin Money: 13 37 39
Money may be identified as unclaimed after seven years of inactivity on an account.
Prior to 2011 the period of inactivity was seven years, from 2012 to 2015 the period of inactivity was three years and from 31 December 2015 the period of inactivity returned to seven years. For more information on the unclaimed money laws, visit the ASIC website.
The unclaimed money received by ASIC is always claimable by the rightful owner and there is no time limit on claims. ASIC's MoneySmart website provides guidance on how to find unclaimed money including a quick and free search and how to claim it.