Annual Review 2022–23


Product glossary



Business credit card

A form of short‐term finance allowing goods and services to be purchased sooner by a business.

Business loans

A loan provided to a business (may be secured or unsecured, fixed or variable interest).

Business transaction accounts

A deposit account used by businesses for everyday transactions.

Business Interruption

Insurance cover that is designed to cover a business should something happen that causes the company to be unable to operate. 

Commercial property

Insurance that provides cover for commercial/farm buildings, which may include fences. 


Conciliation is one of the methods AFCA can use to resolve complaints.
We organise a telephone conference call that includes the complainant, the financial firm, and an AFCA conciliator to talk about the complaint in an open and informal way.

Contracts for difference

A contract between two people that mirrors the situation of trading a security, without actually buying or selling the security. The two parties make a contract that the seller will pay the buyer the difference in price after a certain period of time if the designated security’s price increases, and the buyer will, in return, pay the seller the difference in price if the security’s price decreases.

Credit cards

Credit cards are a form of short‐term finance, allowing goods and services to be purchased sooner, even if at greater cost, than saving up for them.

Death Benefit

When a member of a superannuation fund dies, the trustee of the fund must pay a death benefit in accordance with the fund’s rules. This might be to the nominated beneficiary (binding) or according to the trustee’s discretion.
The death benefit may include an insured component.

Electronic banking

Transactions carried out via internet banking and telephone banking. 

Foreign exchange

Cash or other claims (for example, bank deposits and bonds) against another country, held in the currency of that country. We only have jurisdiction to consider a complaint if the product is governed by Australian law.

Funeral plans

A type of insurance cover that pays a lump sum on death.

Hire purchases/leases

Buying goods by instalment payments. The ‘hirer’ has the use of the goods while paying for them, but does not become the owner until all instalments have been paid.

Home building

An insurance policy that covers destruction or damage to a home building.

Home contents

An insurance policy that covers loss of, or damage to, the contents of a residential building.

Home loans (also called mortgages)

The funds a buyer borrows (usually from a bank or other credit provider) to purchase a property; generally secured by a registered mortgage to the bank or other credit provider over the property being purchased.

Income protection

Income protection insurance pays a monthly benefit where the life insured is unable to work due to injury or illness. Business expenses may be covered separately or form part of the policy for self-employed.

Investment property loans

The funds a buyer has to borrow (usually from a bank or other financial institution) to purchase an investment property.

Lines of credit/overdrafts

A line of credit allows you to make the bulk of your purchases or payments through a credit card with an interest-free period. You use the credit card for most purchases allowing you to leave the bulk of your wage in the loan until your credit card account is payable. This slightly reduces the balance of the home loan debt for part of the month and, therefore, slightly reduces the interest payable.

Loss of profits

Insurance cover that is designed to cover a business should something happen that causes the company to be unable to operate. 

Merchant facilities

Facility offered by financial firms to businesses to accept payment in forms other than cash (e.g. EFTPOS, credit cards). Different card providers may require different merchant facilities (e.g. AMEX, Diners, Visa and MasterCard).

Mixed asset funds

Multiple managed investments or mixed funds. (So you might have an investment portfolio involving various managed investments.)

Motor vehicle

An insurance policy that covers loss or damage to a vehicle with a carrying capacity of less than two tonnes.


Account-based pension

An account-based pension (also called an allocated pension) is one of a number of concessionally taxed products that investors can buy with a lump sum from a superannuation fund, or pay from a self-managed superannuation fund, to give them an income during retirement. An investment account is set up with this money from which they draw a regular income. A minimum payment must be made at least annually. It is also possible to nominate a reversionary pensioner to continue to receive income payments after the member’s death.

Lifetime pension

A lifetime pension is a type of superannuation pension that is payable for the life of the pensioner and, in some cases, the life of a reversionary pensioner such as a spouse. Lifetime pensions are sometimes called defined benefit pensions.

Transition to retirement pension

A transition to retirement pension (or TRIS) is a form of account-based pension that can be paid to a superannuation fund member even if the member has not yet retired. In addition to the minimum annual pension payment (see account-based pension), there is a maximum annual payment of 10% of the account balance. Unlike an account-based pension, the investment earnings of a TRIS are not eligible for concessional tax treatment, and it is not usually possible for income payments to continue on the death of the pensioner. Instead, if the pensioner dies, the account balance must be paid as a lump sum.

Personal loans

A type of loan available from banks, finance companies and other financial institutions, generally for purposes such as buying a car, boat or furniture.

Personal transaction accounts

A deposit account used by consumers for everyday transactions.

Property funds

A type of collective investment where investors collect their money together and a professional manager operates the scheme, which invests in residential or commercial properties.

Self-managed superannuation funds

Small superannuation funds where the members are also the trustees (or directors of the corporate trustee).


A share is simply a part-ownership of a company. For example, if a company has issued a million shares, and a person buys 10,000 shares in it, then the person owns 1% of the company.

Superannuation account

An account held by a member of an approved deposit fund. A member’s superannuation account can only be paid in cash to the member if the member has satisfied a condition of release but, subject to the rules of the fund, the member can usually request to roll over their account to another approved deposit fund or to a superannuation fund at any time.

Superannuation fund

A superannuation fund is a trust-based vehicle where compulsory Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions and voluntary contributions can be paid. Superannuation funds are usually divided into three broad categories:

  1. Registrable Superannuation Entities (RSEs) that are regulated by APRA
  2. Self-managed superannuation funds regulated by the ATO
  3. Exempt public-sector superannuation schemes providing benefits for government employees, or schemes established by Commonwealth, state or territory law, that are not directly subject to the SIS Act 1993 and APRA regulation.

APRA-regulated RSE licensees are generally classified into four types:

  1. Corporate funds – a private superannuation fund that is supported by an employer. Corporate funds are generally only open to people working for a particular employer or corporation.
  2. Industry funds – a type of not-for-profit superannuation created for people who work in a particular industry or under a particular industrial award. Industry funds are often open for anyone to join.
  3. Retail funds – a retail fund is a type of superannuation fund that is open to everyone. Retail funds can also have sub-plans that are only open to particular employee groups.
  4. Public sector funds – a superannuation fund established for employees of federal and state government departments. They are generally only available to government employees. They may provide higher employee contributions than the statutory minimum.

Term life

Term life insurance pays a death benefit if the life insured dies during the term of the policy (before the policy expires).

Total and permanent disability

Total and permanent disability insurance (TPD) provides a lump sum payment if a person become totally and permanently disabled.


Trauma (or critical illness) insurance provides a lump sum benefit if a person is diagnosed with a specified illness or injury. These types of products cover major illnesses or injuries that will impact a person’s life and lifestyle.

Travel insurance

A policy that covers things such as lost luggage, illness, loss or theft while you are travelling, or any disruption to your travel plans.

Whole of life

A life insurance policy guaranteed to stay in force for the duration of the insured’s life, provided premiums are paid.


Issue glossary



Account administration error

An error in the administration of an account. For example, an error in the calculation of a superannuation account balance.

Appropriate lending

The provision of credit to a small business in breach of the financial firm’s lending obligations.

Claim amount

A disputed insurance claim amount. For example, the financial firm has accepted the complainant’s claim, but for a different amount to what the complainant believes they are entitled.

Claim cancellation of policy

The financial firm has cancelled the insurance policy of a complainant. For example:

  • inappropriate cancellation of an insurance policy
  • policy cancellation without the authority of the complainant.

Credit reporting

Complaints about consumer or commercial credit reporting.

Decline of financial difficulty request

The financial firm declines a request for assistance made on the basis of financial difficulty. For example:

  • a request for assistance, such as a repayment variation, is declined and no offer is made by the financial firm
  • the financial firm has not provided reasons for its decision to decline a request for assistance.

Default judgment obtained

The financial firm has obtained default judgment, but the complainant considers that it should be stayed on the basis of financial difficulty.

Default notice

The financial firm issues a default notice under section 88 of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) or section 80 of the Uniform Consumer Credit Code when the complainant is in financial difficulty (regardless of whether assistance has been requested).


The financial firm followed instructions, but not within an agreed or acceptable timeframe. For example:

  • redemption requests actioned only after the unit price has dropped
  • renewal notices not issued on time
  • insurance cover not arranged on time
  • delay in clearing a cheque
  • loan approval delay
  • settlement delay.

Delay in claim handling

The financial firm has delayed actioning or processing a complainant’s claim. For example:

  • delay in handling an insurance claim
  • delay in processing a chargeback request or EFT claim.

Denial of claim

The financial firm has denied the complainant’s claim. For example:

  • the denial of a claim for insurance benefits
  • an unsuccessful request for a cardholder chargeback
  • a disputed merchant chargeback
  • a PayPal buyer/seller complaint.

Denial of claim – exclusion/condition

An insurance claim is denied on the basis that loss or damage occurred as the result of an excluded event, or a breach of an insurance policy condition. For example:

  • damage caused by an event, such as a flood, and the event is excluded under an insurance policy
  • where a claim on a life insurance policy relates to an excluded medical condition under the policy, such as a pre-existing illness or injury.

Denial of claim – no proof of loss

The financial firm denies an insurance claim on the basis that the complainant failed to establish loss has occurred that is covered under the policy, or failure to establish ownership of goods that were lost/damaged. 

Failure to act in client’s best interests

Failure to act in the client’s best interests in providing financial advice.

Failure to follow instructions/agreement

Failure to follow instructions or to act in accordance with an agreement (written or oral). For example:

  • breach of contract (written or oral)
  • failure to follow written instructions (e.g. direct debit authority not followed, payee name on cheque ignored, internet banking instructions not followed)
  • non-redemption following request, failure to sell stock, failure to buy or sell a financial product when requested to do so
  • insurance cover not arranged, including renewals
  • insurance policy not cancelled
  • sum insured not increased, or change of vehicle not noted on the contract.

Financial firm failure to respond to request for assistance

The financial firm fails to respond to a request for assistance due to financial difficulty. The request may be actual or implied.

Inappropriate advice

Inappropriate or insufficient financial advice provided. For example:

  • inappropriate product or investment strategy advice
  • inappropriate client advice
  • general financial advice provided when personal advice was needed.

Incorrect fees/costs

The financial firm has charged the complainant the wrong amount of fees or other costs for the product or service provided. For example:

  • fees/costs not charged in accordance with disclosed information
  • fees/costs excessive, inappropriate or wrong.

Incorrect premiums

Incorrect premium charged by the financial firm. For example:

  • the financial firm has charged the complainant the wrong amount of premium for the insurance provided
  • the broker has charged the client the wrong amount of premiums for the insurance provided.

Interpretation of product terms and conditions

The complainant does not agree with the financial firm’s interpretation of the terms and conditions of a product or service. For example:

  • disagreement about a definition 
  • disagreement about the interpretation of another term or condition. 

NB: if the complaint concerns the denial of an insurance claim use the most appropriate “Denial of claim” classification. 

Misleading product/service information

The financial firm provided information about a financial product or service that was misleading, or misrepresented the features of the product or service. For example:

  • the financial firm provided information about a banking, insurance or investment product or service that was both inaccurate and misrepresented the product or service, or misled the complainant.

NB: If the complaint relates to a fee or charge use ‘Fee disclosure’ or ‘Fixed interest loan break cost disclosure’ instead.

Mistaken internet payment

A payment made to the wrong person via internet banking. For example:

  • where the sender entered a wrong account number or BSB
  • where an error by the sending or receiving financial firm has resulted in the payment being sent to the wrong account.

Repayment history information

The financial firm has incorrectly placed repayment history information on a credit file 

Request to suspend enforcement proceedings

The financial firm continues action to recover a debt after a financial difficulty request has been made. For example:

  • the financial firm continues or commences legal proceedings
  • the financial firm commences or continues general recovery action, including taking possession of secured property and inappropriate collection activity (including harassment claims after a financial difficulty request).

Responsible lending

The provision of credit in breach of the financial firm’s responsible lending obligations, or without proper assessment of the borrower’s capacity to meet repayment obligations.

Service quality

Other service-related issues that do not fit within other service categories. For example:

  • staff behaviour
  • other service issues.

Unauthorised transaction

Unauthorised transactions performed on a complainant’s account. For example:

  • unauthorised direct debit
  • forged cheques and withdrawal slips
  • stolen card ATM withdrawals
  • credit card transactions not authorised by the cardholder
  • purchase or sale of investments without written or verbal authority to do so
  • an insurance claim paid to someone other than the insured and/or a refund provided to another party.

Unconscionable conduct

A statement or action by the financial firm that is so unreasonable or unjust that it is against good conscience. For example:

  • not allowing enough time to consider a contract
  • requiring someone to sign a blank agreement.


Acronym glossary





AFCA Consumer Advisory Panel

A panel of 11 consumer representatives who meet quarterly with AFCA’s Senior Leadership Group.


Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund

Also known as the Youpla Group.


Authorised credit representatives

Individuals authorised to engage in specified credit activities on behalf of a credit licensee.


Australian Privacy Principals

An APP entity is an agency or organisation that must comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).


Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

An independent statutory authority that supervises institutions across banking, insurance and superannuation, and is accountable to the Australian Parliament.


Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

An independent advocate for small business owners.


The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia

The peak policy, research and advocacy body for Australia’s superannuation industry.


Australian Securities & Investments Commission

Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator.


Australian Securities Exchange

Australia’s primary stock exchange.


Australian Taxation Office

The principal revenue collection agency of the Australian Government.


Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre

The Australian Government agency responsible for detecting, deterring and disrupting criminal abuse of the financial system to protect the community from serious and organised crime.


Banking Code Compliance Committee

The committee that monitors adherence to the Banking Code of Practice to help banks drive best practice.


Buy now pay later

A payment service where customers pay by instalments over time, instead of paying the full amount upfront.


Consumer advocate liaison meetings

Meetings with representatives from over 25 advocacy, financial counselling, and community legal services hosted by AFCA senior managers.


Credit and Investments Ombudsman

A predecessor ombudsman scheme replaced by AFCA in 2018.


Community legal centres

Independent non-government organisations that provide free legal services to people and communities, particularly to people facing economic hardship and discrimination.


Customer Owned Banking Code Compliance Committee

The committee that monitors compliance with the Customer Owned Banking Code of Practice, identifies system industry-wide issues and promotes good industry practice.


Compensation Scheme of Last Resort

A proposed scheme that will provide compensation to eligible victims of financial misconduct who have not been paid, typically because the financial institution involved in the misconduct has become insolvent.


External dispute resolution

A free, independent service for resolving disputes between consumers and financial firms. AFCA is an EDR scheme.


Financial Ombudsman Service

A predecessor ombudsman scheme replaced by AFCA in 2018.


Financial Planning Association of Australia

An Australian professional association for financial planners.


Financial service providers

Organisations that provide banking, loans, money transfers and financial options to customers.


General Insurance Code Governance Committee

The independent body that monitors and enforces insurers’ compliance with the General Insurance Code of Practice.


Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee

The committee that monitors adherence to the Insurance Brokers Code of Practice to help insurance brokers deliver
high-quality service standards to consumers.


Insurance Council of Australia

The representative body for the general insurance industry.


Internal dispute resolution

The process followed by financial firms to resolve complaints from their customers, as set out by RG271.


Life Insurance Code Compliance Committee

The committee that monitors adherence to the Life Insurance Code of Practice to help insurers deliver high-quality service standards to consumers.


National Credit Code

The National Credit Code is a national consumer protection regime that replaced the previous state-based schemes and the Uniform Consumer Credit Code on 1 July 2010. It offers protections to individuals who are borrowing money from institutional lenders for non-business purposes.


National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth)

The National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 sets out obligations for responsible lending.


Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

The independent national regulator for privacy and freedom of information.


Product disclosure statement

A document that financial service providers must provide to you when they recommend or offer a financial product. It must include information about the product’s key features, fees, commissions, benefits, risks and the complaints handling procedure.


Superannuation Complaints Tribunal

A predecessor ombudsman scheme replaced by AFCA in 2018.


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