Updated: 7 December 2023
  • AFCA received more than 2,500 complaints from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • This was up 13% on the previous year 

There has been a significant increase in the number of complaints made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Australia’s financial dispute resolution scheme. 

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) received 2,523 complaints from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the 2022-23 financial year, a rise of 13 per cent on the previous year.

Overall, AFCA received nearly 97,000 complaints in 2022-23, in banking and finance, investments and advice, insurance and superannuation. This was a rise of 34 per cent and a record number of complaints.

About 3 per cent of those complaints were submitted by people who self-identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

The three products most complained about by First Nations people were personal transaction accounts, personal loans and credit cards. The most common issues were unauthorised transactions (including scams), delays in insurance claim handling, and service quality.

More than one in 10 complaints submitted by First Nations peoples were about financial hardship. This compares with one in 20 involving hardship for AFCA complaints overall.   

“The fact that there are more than double the proportion of complaints about hardship among First Nations peoples is of great concern to AFCA and we call on financial firms to do more to address this,” AFCA’s Deputy Chief Ombudsman, Dr June Smith, said.

“We encourage firms to be more proactive about identifying First Nations customers in hardship and working with them to alleviate their financial problems.”

Dr Smith added that there was still significant work to do to improve financial inclusion for all First Nations peoples. “First Nations peoples should be served by organisations that are culturally aware and engaged in culturally sensitive practice.”

Dr Smith said AFCA continued to review its own performance against this goal.

With regard to financial hardship, AFCA prioritises vulnerable complainants and provides them with additional assistance to make the complaint process less stressful, she said. “We encourage people to indicate when lodging a complaint that they may need flexibility with the AFCA process – such as longer deadlines – if they are experiencing difficult circumstances. 

“People can appoint a representative – whether that’s a friend or family member or a financial counsellor – to walk alongside them during the process,” she said. AFCA could also provide referrals to other free community support services. 

AFCA's dispute resolution service is free for consumers and small businesses. Complaints can be lodged online, by mail or via a free call to 1800 931 678.  

Note to editors: More detail is available in AFCA’s Annual Review.

Published: 27 November 2023

Media enquiries: media@afca.org.au

About AFCA

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government ombudsman service providing free, fair and independent help with financial disputes. AFCA is a one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses who have a dispute with their financial firm, over things such as banking, credit, insurance, advice, investments or superannuation. Where an agreement cannot be reached between parties, AFCA can issue decisions that are binding on financial firms.


Sorry, we’re currently offline.

Would you like to end your chat with AFCA?

Please bear in mind that your conversation will not be saved.

AFCA chat service terms and conditions

Welcome to our live chat help service.

Please be advised we cannot provide you with financial or legal advice. However, we may be able to refer you to a community legal centre or financial counselling service if you need help.

Our live chat is operated by Genesys Cloud on behalf of AFCA. Any personal information provided in this chat will be captured by both organisations in accordance with their privacy policies, available at www.afca.org.au/privacy and www.genesys.com/company/legal/privacy-policy


We provide consumers and small businesses with fair, free and independent dispute resolution for financial complaints.

Please enter your details to start your chat with an AFCA representative.

Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter a valid phone number

We provide consumers and small businesses with fair, free and independent dispute resolution for financial complaints.

Welcome to our live chat help service.

An agent should be with you shortly.