Introduction of New Money Link Fee

29/12/2016 10:38

Ownership of Money Link cards entails some loyalty to Carpenters Finance, on the part of those who use them. The Consumer Council of Fiji, therefore, wishes to comprehend why is loyalty on the part of these loyal customers being penalized?

The Council understands that Carpenter’s Finance will be introducing a new monthly fee of $2.50 on all its Money Link Accounts. This is a unilateral decision made by the financier. This new fee regime will start from 1st of January 2017 and will be referred to as the “Monthly Administration Fee”.

However, the Council aspires to point out that other institutions such as banks that offer similar credit card services do not charge extra monthly fee on top of their annual fees. This is despite more administration work due to dealing with much more external entities not forgetting foreign countries. Why can’t Carpenters Finance like other institution that offer similar services rely only on its annual fee? This is in consideration of the fact that all business pertaining to the Money Link card is done internally and within the same entity.

The Council would further like to understand whether the $2.50 will be waived for periods of non-use when a customer fails to use the card for a month or so. According to the service provider if this monthly fee is charged to an account that has a nil balance, then this will incur an interest of 3.25% per month on the defaulted amount.

The Council requires Carpenters Finance to reconsider the implementation of this maintenance fees on the Money Link card. Simply because Carpenters Finance does not come under the laws that pertain to Banks in the issuance of credit card, this does not mean that it can just introduce any fee at a whim.

During these Cyclone season many a soul will be forced to take desperate measures in order make ends meet for unplanned expenses. The last thing one needs is to be taken advantage of during such times.

The Council is hopeful for some form of regulation of the conduct by Carpenters Finance for the benefit of vulnerable consumers. We need proper monitoring of such practices by the service providers who are not under direct control of any Regulator.