Under the Code, banks make an overarching promise to be fair, reasonable and ethical. The Code also has more than 200 clauses that set out specific rights you have when dealing with your bank day-to-day.

Some of the most important rights include:

Your access to information

  • Banks must give you information about terms and conditions, fees, charges and interest rates when you agree to a contract, or before. (Chapter 11)
  • You have a right to copies of certain documents – such as your contract or statement of account – and when you ask, banks must provide them within 30 days. (Chapter 37)

When you borrow money

  • Banks must lend responsibly, exercising care before offering to lend you money. (Chapters 17 and 20)
  • To protect guarantors, banks have to follow strict rules about guarantees. (Chapters 25 to 29)

Joint accounts

  • If you have a joint account and you ask the bank to change the account authority so that both account holders must approve withdrawals, the bank must make this change. (Chapter 35)

When you’re on a low income or in financial difficulty

  • If you tell the bank you’re on a low income, it must give you information about its low- or no-fee accounts and other accounts that might suit your needs. (Chapters 15 and 16)
  • If you’re having trouble repaying a loan, your bank must try to help you to overcome your financial difficulty. For example, it might agree to postpone a repayment or extend the term of your loan. (Part 9)

If you have a complaint

  • If something goes wrong, you have the right to make a complaint to your bank. (Chapters 47 and 48)
  • If you’re not happy with your bank’s response to your complaint, it must tell you how to take your complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority. (Chapters 47 and 48)

If you have additional needs

  • Banks must make their services inclusive and accessible to everybody, including older people, people with disability, Indigenous people and people in remote communities. (Chapter 13)
  • Bank staff should be sensitive, respectful and compassionate towards people in vulnerable situations – for example, people experiencing abuse, illness or impairment. (Chapter 14)