The High Court says big fees for late payments on credit cards are here to stay


The High Court has dismissed a class action challenging the size of fees charged by the ANZ Bank for late payments on credit cards.

Customers had been charged as much as $35 when the bank’s costs were about $3.

Lawyers for the class action, representing 43,000 customers, argued the late fees were unfair and amounted to a penalty.

There are other class actions pending against the Commonwealth, Westpac, the NAB and a string of smaller banks.

The action, said to be one of the largest class actions in Australian history, could have cost the banks a combined $220 million.

Maurice Blackburn started proceedings against the ANZ bank in September 2010.

A Federal Court in 2014 found that the late payment fees for credit cards were “extravagant, exorbitant and unconscionable”.

That was later overturned by the full bench of the Federal Court.

An appeal against that decision was rejected by the High Court today.

Today’s decision means that the ANZ Bank is entitled to charge late payment fees of up to $35.

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