Credit card change throws client

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 05:00 13/04/2014
Barbara Sandom
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ

FULL BLAST: Barbara Sandom has had issues with her credit card conditions.

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Changes to ANZ's credit card billing system are continuing to trip up some customers months down the line.

In October, the bank contacted customers to let them know it was altering the way it calculates interest on credit card balances.

If customers don't pay off the balance in full, interest is now charged from the date of the transaction itself, not the opening date of the next statement.

The move did not affect the majority of people, who either pay their balance in full every month or always pay only a portion of the balance.

However, Johnsonville resident Barbara Sandom was one of those who has been caught out by what the bank called "transparent" communications.

As she always pays off her balance, she didn't understand what the ANZ letter really meant until last month.

A series of life events meant she could only pay $1000 of her $1300 balance, yet she was charged interest on the full amount, rather than the remaining $300.

"I'll handle my situation," said Sandom. "What really worries me is the number of people out there who've got credit cards with ANZ who don't pay their credit card balance in full. I just want the public to be aware of it."

Sandom said fellow customers she'd spoken to had also received the letter but had not not fully understood it.

A spokesman for ANZ said the bank was unable to comment on the cases of individual cardholders. He said the way interest was calculated was outlined in the card's conditions of use, and was consistent with that of most other card providers.

"For customers that do incur extra costs, we would be happy to talk to them about how they can avoid the charges, and look at whether their account settings are right for them."

A Banking Ombudsman spokeswoman said the office would have received less than 10 complaints on the subject in the last year.

However, she said the Ombudsman was now considering putting out a "quick guide" explaining how interest is calculated.

"We think a lot of people probably don't understand it fully."

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