EVER HAd a credit card?
you could be entitled to $100s or $1,000s in refunds for junk insurance
Joel Gibson, Consumer Expert
have you ever had a credit card?
If so, there’s a good chance you’re entitled to a refund worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars for ‘Junk Insurance’ that banks and other credit card issuers have been adding to accounts over the past decade.
Never mind if you don’t believe you’ve paid for some of this ‘Junk Insurance’: many claimants don’t even know until we conduct a search for them!
The number of refunds will be much higher by now and this really is just the beginning. Because the big banks and major insurance companies have sold over 5.6 million policies for so-called “Junk Insurance” on credit cards and loans.
FACT: That’s more than 1 policy for every 4 Australian adults!
And read on if you want to know all about how to get refunds for Junk Insurance on a Credit Card.
Tracy from New South Wales
"Thanks so much Remediator for getting me a refund of $4,951 for mis-sold Consumer Credit Insurance on a credit card within 2 weeks. I am very happy with threir service."
How do you know if you've paid for junk insurance on a credit card?
If you’ve paid for Junk Insurance on a Credit Card, there might be some evidence of the premiums in your old statements.
If you don’t still have them, you can ask the Credit Card provider for copies or ask Remediator to help you source them.
Some of the language to look out for includes:
Consumer Credit Insurance (CCI)
Purchase Protection Insurance
Extended Warranty Insurance
Mortgage Protection Insurance
Loan Protection Insurance
But it’s not always easy to find: for example, many banks gave these insurances their own names (such as ‘CBA Credit Card Plus’).
Junk Insurance was often disguised within loan or credit card applications by banks and looked like a compulsory part of the application, according to an ASIC review.
They also didn’t make it clear that premiums were ‘capitalised’, which means you’d pay interest on the premium too if your card wasn’t paid off each month!
“We found that lenders listed CCI under headings such as ‘card options’ or ‘setting up your card’, misleading consumers about the distinction between credit card and CCI application and information,” ASIC said.
"Almost all lenders reviewed did not inform consumers that interest was payable on the CCI premium if the credit card balance was not paid in full and they relied on the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to provide consumers with the necessary information.”
Vena from Queensland
"I got back $6,912 for mis-sold Consumer Credit Insurance on a credit card. Thanks to the team at Remediator for such an efficient process."
What is consumer credit Insurance (cci)?
Consumer Credit Insurance (CCI for short) is meant to protect you if you can’t afford the repayments on your Credit Card.
Let’s say for example you can’t work because you get sick or you have an accident or you’re disabled. Maybe you even lose your job or - Heaven forbid - you die and the debt remains.
Every CCI policy is different but they’re designed to cover at least the minimum repayments for a certain amount of time.
The reason a lot of CCI is now known as ‘Junk Insurance’ is that reports by ASIC and the 2018 Banking Royal Commission have exposed how many of these policies were sold to people who were either ineligible to claim, unlikely to benefit or unaware of what they were buying.
They might have signed you up without your proper consent or understanding. If you weren’t aware of the cover and what it included or excluded, chances are it was “mis-sold” and could be refund-able.
They might have signed you up using dodgy sales tactics. Millions of us may have paid for policies which were sold using unfair sales practices and high-pressure tactics.
It might be entirely worthless to you. Some policies are double-ups of insurance we already have elsewhere, or they “cover” us for things that are automatically covered anyhow under consumer law, or we’re not even eligible for them for some reason.
Credit cards worse than other products
The watchdog has also found that Credit Cards are even worse than loans and other products when it comes to getting money back from CCI policies.
Just 11 cents was paid back out of every dollar that customers paid in premiums, according to a 2019 ASIC investigation. (Imagine a poker machine that advertised those odds!)
Another worrying statistic was the number of CCI insurance claims that were either withdrawn or declined.
Out of the lenders below, between 14% and 33% of Credit Card customer claims were withdrawn or declined. ASIC explained why this is a problem:
“One of the value measures of insurance is the ability for a consumer to successfully claim on the policy when they need it."
“For the financial years 2011–18, we found that one in five (20.03%) claims made on a CCI policy were either declined by the insurer or withdrawn. This ranged between 15.6% to 33.6%."
“Many insurers also did not accurately and reliably record the number of (and reasons for) withdrawn claims or claims that did not proceed."
“The higher declined/withdrawn claim rates indicate that:
there are systemic issues in how the product was sold, including the sale to consumers who were ineligible to claim;
consumers do not understand (or were misled about) the features, limits and exclusions of the policy;
policy exclusions are too onerous; or
policies may not have been suitable for the consumer’s individual circumstances.”
How many claims were declined and withdrawn from fy2011-FY2018 (asic)
% Declined / Withdrawn
What is purchase Protection Insurance
Purchase protection insurance covers you for loss, theft or accidental damage to a new personal item - usually within 3 months of the purchase.
It’s included for free on many Credit Cards but it’s sometimes an additional expense, and so you might be eligible for a refund if you’ve paid for it in the past.
It often excludes things such as:
Cover for loss or damage arising from flood, earthquakes, wear and tear, fraud or illegal acts.
Cover for items left unattended in a public place, or in an unlocked motor vehicle, or in an unattended motor vehicle overnight.
Theft or loss or damage to jewellery and watches from baggage unless hand carried by you, animals or plant life, cash or travellers cheques, consumable or perishable items.
Frank from Victoria
"Thanks to Remediator for assisting me to get a refund of over $2,600 for CCI sold on a credit card. Thanks for the great result!"
Which banks were guilty of adding junk insurance to credit cards?
All the big banks and a number of second-tier banks in Australia were selling CCI to Credit Card customers at some point in the past decade.
That’s why so many Credit Card customers could be eligible for refunds thanks to the work of the Royal Commission and regulators.
One law firm estimates that CBA alone might owe refunds to as many as 750,000 Australians, because it’s Australia’s largest bank and sold CCI to so many of its Credit Card customers.
ASIC’s investigation covered the following 11 lenders:
Australian Central Credit Union
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank
CBA & Bankwest
In May 2020, ASIC reported that 434,000 Australians had already been repaid over $160 million for dodgy CCI sales.
When it came to which Credit Card providers paid back the least on CCI policies, ASIC has also found that Suncorp, Citigroup & ANZ were the worst - all paying back less than 7c in the dollar.
Even NAB, which came out looking better than the others, still paid back just over 14c per dollar in premiums it collected on this type of insurance.
How much did cci pay back on credit cards from 2011-2018 (asic)
Cents In The Dollar
A warning: When it comes to Junk Insurance refunds, not all financial institutions are proving to be refund-friendly. The financial watchdog ASIC has acknowledged that some financial institutions are quicker than others when it comes to giving us our money back, because they’re prepared to give claimants more ‘benefit of the doubt’.
“We are also seeing some positive signs from firms who are looking at ways to fast track remediations, including through the use of beneficial assumptions,” ASIC said.
At Remediator, we know how to approach each bank differently, depending on their refunds policy. So wherever you had a Credit Card, we can give you a fighting chance of getting your money back.