Credit card interest rates still high as OCR drops

  • 15/08/2015
Credit card interest rates still high as OCR drops

By Emma Cropper

Each year New Zealand banks are posting larger profits, and this week Australia's Commonwealth Bank, which owns ASB, posted its largest profit ever.

But despite soaring profits and a falling OCR, credit card rates remain high.

Many Kiwis struggle to pay back their credit cards, and Labour's consumer affairs spokesperson, David Shearer, says with what banks are making they should do more to help them out.

"I think that it's right that you point the finger and say, 'Look, we want to get the best value that we can for our consumers in New Zealand,' and if the banks aren't doing that than it's right that we point the finger out," says Mr Shearer.

Mr Shearer says banks' lending has shrunk from 8.5 percent to just 3 percent and they should be passing on their profits in lower credit card rates.

Currently more than half of Kiwis pay back their credit cards in full each month, but Mr Shearer says many find that too hard, and they can easily get into big debt.

But the Bankers Association says with more money comes more power to cut customers slack, as they have been with farmers coping the collapse in dairy prices.

"Profitable banks are strong banks, and what strong banks can do is continue to support the economy in a downturn," says Bankers Association chief executive Kirk Hope.

So it's unlikely customers will see a huge drop in interest rates anytime soon.

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