Westpac refunds $9.2 million after failing to waive bank account fees for eligible customers

Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC:ASX) has recently refunded approximately $20 million to around 820,000 customers for not clearly disclosing the types of credit card transactions that attract foreign transaction fees. Now the banking corporation has refunded approximately $9.2 million to 161,414 customers after it failed to waive fees on Westpac and St. George branded savings and transaction accounts over six years.

For customers aged under 21 years, Westpac previously relied on staff to manually apply the following fee waiver benefits:

  • a monthly service fee waiver for customers with a Westpac Choice transaction account; and
  • a withdrawal fee waiver for customers with a Westpac Reward Saver account.

However, between May 2007 and April 2013, 133,045 Westpac Choice and Westpac Reward Saver accounts were opened for some eligible customers without the relevant fee waivers being applied.

Westpac also discovered that there were 28,369 customers under the age of 18 who were eligible for a St. George Complete Freedom Student transaction account (which has no monthly service fee), but instead held a standard St. George transaction account which charged a monthly fee.

Westpac reported this matter to ASIC under its breach reporting obligations in the Corporations Act. ASIC acknowledges the cooperative approach taken by Westpac in resolving this matter.

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