Westpac has announced its customers will stop issuing American Express companion cards on its various reward card offerings. In doing so, it joins ANZ and NAB in removing the companion cards from their lineup.
However, with Westpac there is a twist. Westpac has announced its customers will be able to apply diretcly to American Express for a Westpac co-branded card.
What will change?
Holders of Westpac accounts with a companion American Express card will find that their American Express card will no longer work. On the timeline outlined by Westpac, this iwill happen in April 2018.
At the same time, new Westpac-branded card, issued by American Express, will launch. These cards will be made available exclusively to Westpac customers.
The full details of the new offering are yet to be announced. This is what Westpac had to say:
It is expected the new cards will offer an attractive value proposition for customers, including an accelerated reward points earn rate, uncapped points, complimentary retail and travel insurance, and other benefits offered exclusively by American Express. Cardholders will also continue to access the flexibility of accruing points to either their existing Westpac Altitude Rewards or Qantas Frequent Flyer account. Further details about the new credit card products will be announced in early 2018.
Why the Change?
As with ANZ and NAB, the changes are in response to regulatory changes imposed by the Reserve Bank. The effect of this has been to reduce the fees that American Express pays to the banks for issuing its cards. In turn this has reduced the level of rewards the banks can give to their customers.
These changes do not affect directly issued American Express cards. So, this change is basically a way to get around the restrictions imposed by the Reserve Bank.
Further Details are available on the Westpac website.