Westpac has refunded approximately $9.2 million in account fees to more than 160,000 Westpac and St George account holders, according to ASIC.
According to a statement issued by the regulator, the refunds were made by the bank after it discovered relevant fee waivers for customers under 21 years old had not been applied.
The error affected 133,045 Westpac Choice and Westpac Reward Saver accounts, as well as 28,369 St George 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”, ASIC said.
The waivers should have been applied manually by Westpac staff, and ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said businesses using such manual processes should “carefully consider how they manage the risks of processes not being followed” and have controls and procedures in place to do so.
“Financial institutions that offer products with benefits such as fee waivers must have effective and robust systems in place to deliver the promised benefits to consumers,” he said.
Westpac notified ASIC upon realising the error, and the bank has refunded the money owed as well as an additional amount to account for interest.
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