Unlocking your account details can save you money and you may even find the process easier than you thought, according to a new report from Australian Financial Council (AFCC).
Key points:Users can lock up accounts for a fee of $300 or more in a number of countries including the US, UK, Germany, France, Canada, Canada and New ZealandIf you’ve locked up a balance for more than a year, you can apply for a refundA range of banks, credit unions and other financial services providers offer the option to lock accounts for $300 per month, or $300 for 12 months, AFCC has foundIn a report published today, the consumer advocacy organisation said consumers could lock up their accounts for up to a year in a variety of countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France.
But AFCC said this process could be complicated and confusing.
It said that in some countries, the process is similar to how a credit card application is processed and could take up to three weeks to complete.
“Many users have been locked up for up a year without a refund, or have had to pay an overdraft fee,” the organisation said.
“Some banks offer the opportunity to lock down your account for a fixed period of time for a very small fee.”‘
This process could take weeks to a month’If you’re not sure whether you should lock up a debt, AF CC advises contacting the company, asking them for information and if they can confirm the account is locked up, the organisation advises.
AFCC said it was not the first time Australians had faced difficulties in getting their accounts locked up.
Earlier this year, the Federal Government released a report showing that the number of Australians with credit card debt was higher than expected, with many people still unable to access the money due to issues with their credit reporting agencies.
In a statement, the AFCC described the recent announcement as an “unacceptable and unfair response” and said “a number of banks have been reluctant to provide access to their customers”.
“It’s not uncommon for people with debt to be locked up as a result of not paying their debt,” the statement said.
While AFCC advises against locking up debt, it said that many people who are unable to pay their debt and are locked out of their accounts are “doing so because they can’t access their accounts or they simply don’t want to pay”.
“We have seen an increasing number of people with credit cards who are locked down for longer periods of time than they were previously due to poor credit,” it said.
‘You could lock your account down forever’AFCC’s report also highlighted the “unexpected, high level of concern” some people were having about their financial situations.
“A number of users have reported difficulties in accessing their accounts and the banks have shown little or no interest in providing access to them,” it says.
“This is not unusual and it’s not a surprise.”
Many people are unable or unwilling to pay debts and have been caught in the middle of this, not knowing whether they have a debt or not, unable to do anything about it.
“Topics:consumer-finance,consumer-protection,financial-services,bankers-and-brokers,credit-industry,financials,consumer,consumerism,money-and.services,internet-technology,internet,credit,consumerpolicy,government-and%E2%80%99s-election,consumer.action,federal-government,government,united-statesFirst posted January 04, 2019 06:22:08Contact Matthew DeaneMore stories from New South Wales