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24 April 2019

Banks pushing unwanted credit cards and insurance

One in five customers offered unwanted products.

Consumer NZ’s latest banking survey found one in five bank customers had been offered financial products they didn’t request and, in many cases, didn’t want.

Credit cards, increases in credit card limits, life insurance and personal loans were the most common products promoted to customers.

Consumer NZ head of research Jessica Wilson said the majority of people who got these offers didn’t think the product was a good option or suited their needs.

“Seven out of 10 consumers who were offered a new credit card or an increase in their card limit didn’t think it was a good choice for them,” she said.

The annual survey also found 16% had felt pressured by bank staff into buying a financial product they didn’t need.

Ms Wilson said pressure selling by banks was a major concern, given it could lead to consumers unnecessarily going into debt or being sold a poor-value product.

“Banks have attracted a lot of bad press in the past 12 months for their selling practices and we would have expected to see a change in behaviour. However, our survey results don’t give us any confidence that’s happening,” she said.

The survey also found just 47% of consumers thought banks could be trusted while 68% felt profits in the industry showed banks were charging too much.

Customer satisfaction remained unchanged.

“Overall, 60% were happy with the service they were getting from their bank, on par with our 2018 survey,” Ms Wilson said.

The Co-operative Bank and TSB Bank rated above average with scores of 87% and 83% respectively. Both were Consumer NZ’s “People’s Choice” winners in this year’s survey.

In comparison, ASB (55%) and ANZ (54%) rated below average for customer satisfaction as well as for their product advice, fees and value for money.

Satisfaction scores

  • The Co-operative Bank: 87%
  • TSB Bank: 83%
  • Kiwibank: 66%
  • BNZ: 63%
  • Westpac: 60%
  • ASB: 55%
  • ANZ: 54%

About Consumer NZ’s survey

Consumer NZ’s survey was a nationally representative survey of 2118 New Zealanders, aged 18 and over, carried out in February 2019. Satisfaction ratings show the proportion of respondents who scored their bank 8, 9 or 10 on a scale from 0 (very dissatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied). Ratings are for banks that had 30 or more responses.

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