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Tuesday, 27 April 1971

Senator KEEFFE asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:

(1)   How many credit card organisations, based on American or other foreign firms, are now operating in Australia.

(2)   Are credit arrangements for such organisations approved by the Treasurer or the Reserve Bank.

(3)   Has the establishment of such organisations taken additional credit from this country at a time of economic crisis and, at the same time, caused Australians who use the services, unnecessary additional expenditure.

(4)   Will the Treasurer take steps to restrict credit card organisations which are largely foreign owned from operating in Australia.

Senator Sir KENNETHANDERSONThe Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   There are no precise figures on the number of companies issuing credit cards in Australia. While many organisations run charge card systems more or less exclusively for their own customers, there are probably only about 3 companies engaging in the issue of credit cards, either as their principal business or extending to purchases beyond the range of goods and services offered by the firm. Two of these companies appear to be predominantly Australianowned.

(2)   No. Approval is not required under Comimonwealth legislation.

(3)   No information is available on the net effect of the operations of such organisations on our international reserves, but their total operations are relatively small and not of major significance in the national setting.

(4)   This would not appear to be necessary or practicable.

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