CHOICE membership

Does my credit card provider REALLY need to know?


I received an email a couple of days ago from my credit card provider. It stated in part:

In order to meet our regulatory obligations and improve the quality of our service, we are required to update some of the details we hold in relation to your [credit card] with Card Number ending xxx.

Our records indicate that the following information we hold may not be up-to-date, and we ask that you confirm and update it by 15 December 2018:

• Nationality

• Occupation

Please log-in to the Online Service Centre where you can provide us with this information through secure messaging by visiting [insert website here] and:

  1.  Log-in using your username and password
  2.  Select the Card ending in xxxx
  3.  Click "My Messages"
  4.  Click "Compose" and select "Feedback/General enquiry" from the drop-down menu
  5.  Type "Enhancement", your nationality and your occupation
  6.  Click "Submit"

Seriously? One, they haven’t got the setup to collect this information. Two, under what law are they ‘required’ to collect it? The email states near the end, as part of an FAQ:

In accordance with Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing regulations and [insert provider name here] [policy name] policies, we are required to have accurate and up-to-date information about all our customers.

This may include, but not limited to, full name, date of birth, residential address, occupation and nationality. We may also ask further information from you such as your mother’s maiden name, email address and mobile number which will help us identify and/or contact you in the future, where necessary.

Another FAQ states:

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Instrument 2007 require all Australian Financial Institutions to complete adequate due diligence on all customers. Part of this process is taking steps to maintain our records of your personal information.

Can anyone advise whether this is a scam to get more information about the provider’s customers, or if there is a legitimate requirement? I’m almost tempted to say that I’m an unemployed pimp, of African extraction (a couple of hundred thousand years ago, perhaps - but…).


It’s a scam either way :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Rules 1, 2, 3 etc etc. “it’s always a SCAM “

When in doubt I ring my provider using the phone contact number on my last genuine paper statement or the one on the back of the Credit card.

Twice in a 100 plus such emails and SMS there has been a need to respond to a genuine message. Eg, when they have detect suspect transactions on your account!

Never though by following any links to provide customer information!

The second most worrying aspect has been the response of one of the CC providers. They see these SCAMs as everyday events and a customer problem to report. Just not to them for any action!


Read about FATCA, the l.o.n.g arm of American law. Any company that does business in the USA has to comply or be banned from that market,

If you open a new financial account you will be asked about your tax residence(s) and whether you are a ‘US Person’ (US citizen or company with US presence). If so they are required by US law (!!!) to get your US social security or tax number, and our compliant government has agreed with the US that the ATO will advise the US Internal Revenue Service about all ones Australian sourced income.

This US over-step apparently started in US Civil War times, but most ignored it; as technology has allowed they have gone full on targeting anyone with even a power of attorney over a US or US persons accounts.

For anyone who has not picked up on my previous posts about this, US citizens are legally required to report global income to the US IRS and pay income tax on it, even if as a US citizen you were born abroad and never once set foot on US soil or have a single $1 of US sourced income. For entertainment you might read on the potential issues for Prince Harry and the royal family now that he has an American citizen wife. It is ludicrous, but whether it is a scam as traditionally known, no. it is worse.

nb. Many companies are still trying to find out if present/previous customers are foreign nationals and whether US Persons (or Eritreans, who apparently share the joy). As for it being a credit card rather than an income source, it is all part of the related money laundering tracking. The only place they do not seem to ‘follow the money’ to get answers (or tax revenue) is for pollies and political parties where opaqueness remains acceptable policy :expressionless: )


It is definitely a request from the credit card company, but one that I do not feel inclined to answer. It seems that they are seeking to apply a law that was too broadly written for their own data collection purposes.


Reality is it is from a financial institution. Financial institutions do not often differentiate their data collection re FATCA and money laundering legislation by product because a customer may open another product where that data matters.

If you add a share trading facility for example, your occupation is required as part of that application these days as well as other bits that border on the nonsensical but serve to show the institutions diligence at understanding your circumstances and risk tolerance. (Oops, fell off my chair, ouch).

I have some US accounts that ask the same questions once a year as required by law. My Aussie accounts have only ever asked them once when I opened the account, until recent years when they were tasked to identify every customer who was or even might be a US person. That they asked shows they are trying and have covered themselves. Whether you answer or not is, for now, not their worry :wink: but expect them to periodically keep trying.


Maybe not a scam but maybe info they failed to collect in the past. With the RC, they may be doing audits to ensure that there data has been captured and current. Also see…

Check the cards T&Cs about what information is recorded and what is maintained/updated for currency. Also check current applications by the same card provider to see if this information is required for a new credit card application.

I suppose the worst they can do by refusing to provide the information is to cancel the credit card(s).


I received the same email and wondered… I think I’ll take up the suggestion to ring the credit card provider and talk to somebody. If the requirement is ‘real’, I would have preferred a an option to ‘reply’ with the information they want instead of having to go through such a convulated procedure — I’m 78 yrs old and have better things to do with my time!


I had the same request from one of my credit card providers (Coles Financial Services) and was concerned about the contained threat to deny me credit if I didn’t comply. As usual their website was utterly useless when I tried to update the required information (and I agree: what is the relevance of my nationality and occupation?!). I phoned them to provide the details but they didn’t seem all that bothered so I was left feeling that the whole exercise was just that: ticking boxes because someone somewhere decided they needed ticking…


FATCA and the long arm of US law such as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Everyone should realise neither ‘foreign’ law nor international boundaries are of interest to the USA when it suits.