This section provides answers to common member questions.

FAQ contents:

General

Do members have the opportunity to comment on the way AFCA operates?

We encourage and value member input on matters such as changes to our Rules, submissions to our Independent Reviews and feedback on our approach to complaints. Also, all members have a vote at annual general meetings.

Membership

What does it cost to become a member?

The cost of membership differs depending on what type of membership you need.

  • For licensee members, costs include an annual membership levy, plus additional user charge and complaint-handling fees (if applicable).
  • For authorised credit representative (ACR) members, costs include a one-time administration fee.

Read more about membership costs in the funding model fact sheet.

How long does it take to process my membership application?

We aim to process membership applications within five to seven business days. Once your membership has been accepted, we will send you an email to confirm, and provide you with a membership number.

How do I obtain a copy of my membership certificate?

Members can download and print their membership certificate through Secure Services. Refer to the Secure Services user guide for more information on accessing and using Secure Services.

How can I update my contact details?

The easiest way to update your contact details is via Secure Services. Registered member contacts can log in to Secure Services any time, from any location and update their contact details.

How do I withdraw my membership?

Authorised member contacts can ask to cancel their membership by completing the online cancellation form on Secure Services.

How can I process a name change for my membership?

You’ll need to send an email to the AFCA Membership Team at membership@afca.org.au. Please attach an ASIC Name Change Certificate so we can verify the change.

How do I let customers know about AFCA?

Guidance on how you can tell your customers about AFCA, including some suggested wording, can be found on the telling your customers about AFCA page on the AFCA website.

Can I use the AFCA Logo on my website/publications?

Our logo is available for members to include in communications advising customers of their right to contact AFCA. We provide guidance on how to use the AFCA logo on the AFCA logo use page.

About Secure Services (online member portal)

What is Secure Services?

Secure Services is a password protected online member portal accessed from the members page on the AFCA website.

Registered contacts for AFCA members can log in to the portal at any time from any location to view and manage complaints online, run reports, update contact details, view, print and pay invoices, notify AFCA of authorised representative changes, and much more.

What is available in Secure Services?

The services available in Secure Services are grouped into four categories:

  • Case search and reporting functions
  • Case management functions
  • Membership administration functions
  • Member resources

For guidance on how these functions work, please refer to relevant section of the Secure Services user guide.

What are the benefits of Secure Services?

Secure Services streamlines and enhances communication between AFCA and our stakeholders. The Secure Services available to members:

  • enable you to administer your membership easily online
  • provide tools for analysing the complaints you have been involved in
  • provide secure access to up-to-date complaints data, contact details and invoices
  • reduce the volume of letters and emails passing between us.

Registering for Secure Services

How do I register for Secure Services?

Listed member contacts can register to use Secure Services via the ‘register now’ link on the Secure Services login page.

I tried to register but my name is not recognised?

You must be a listed contact on our member database to register for a Secure Services login. If you believe you should be a listed contact on our member database, the CEO/MD contact for your organisation will have to add you via Secure Services.

Please refer to the “Registering for Secure Services” section of the Secure Services user guide for more information.

Who in my organisation can use Secure Services?

Anyone who is listed in our membership database as a contact for your organisation can register to use Secure Services. All contacts within the member’s organisation will need their own unique login and the services available to you will depend on your contact type.

What are contact types?

All contacts on our member database are allocated a contact type. Your contact type determines your access privileges within Secure Services and how your access is approved.

Make sure you know your contact type before attempting to register for Secure Services.

What is my contact type?

We rely on our members to manage their own contact details, using the Secure Services functions designed for this purpose.

If you cannot register because you have forgotten your contact type, email membership@afca.org.au.

Note: For security we do not provide contact types over the phone.

What is an approver?

Approvers are responsible for managing who in their business can access the Secure Services provided on our website. When registering for Secure Services, the online form will default to which contact type is your approver.

You will need to know your approvers surname and email address when registering for Secure Services.

For additional guidance on registering for Secure Services, please refer to the “Registering for Secure Services” section of the Secure Services user guide.

Troubleshooting Secure Services

What happens if I forget my password?

As part of the registration process, member contacts create their login password. We do not have access to these passwords. If you have forgotten your password you can use the ‘Retrieve password’ link on the login page.

If you still have trouble, please contact us by phoning 1300 56 55 62 or emailing membership@afca.org.au and we will reset your password.

I tried to register for Secure Services, but got a message saying I’m already registered.

Member contacts can only register once. If you’ve forgotten your password, please use the ‘Retrieve password’ link or contact us to reset your password. If you try to register and see a message saying your account is not yet approved, please phone us on 1300 56 55 62 or email membership@afca.org.au.

Fees and charges and invoicing

How are AFCA fees and charges calculated?

Once you are registered for Secure Services (and have the appropriate authority) you can access information on the membership levy, user charge and complaint fees via the ‘invoices’ tab on the Secure Services menu. Please email accounts@afca.org.au if you need more information.

Why is this year's levy different to last year's levy?

The levy amount is calculated on the basis of the assessment data you provide. This means it can vary from year to year.

How can I find my invoices?

Invoices are accessible via Secure Services. Please log into Secure Services and click on the 'Invoices' tab on the Secure Services menu.

How do I pay an invoice?

Invoices can be paid by credit card through Secure Services. If you’d rather pay by cheque, electronic funds transfer or BPAY, you’ll find relevant payment details on the invoice.

Annual assessment

How do I complete an annual assessment?

Your annual assessment is completed via Secure Services. When you are notified that the annual assessment is ready to be completed, please log into Secure Services and click on 'Annual Assessment' on the Secure Services menu.

I’m trying to access my company’s annual assessment, but I can’t get in to look at it.

The assessment can only be seen by the member’s CEO contact, EDR Manager contact and Finance contact. You need to be logged in as one of those people to be able to see your company’s annual assessment.

Can I see the information I provided for last year’s annual assessment?

Yes. In Secure Services, go to the ‘Annual Assessment’ tab in the Secure Services menu and last year’s details are pre-populated in the form.

How can I change the assessment data I provided?

Once the data is submitted, you are unable to amend it. If you made a mistake, please contact us by phoning 1300 56 55 62 or emailing assessment@afca.org.au.

Complaint resolution process

How can I tell which complaints are lodged with AFCA and which are with the relevant predecessor scheme?

All AFCA complaint reference numbers begin at 600000, so if you have a complaint reference that begins with a 6, that complaint will be considered under the AFCA Rules.

How does AFCA work out if it can deal with specific complaints, such as whether a complaint is within its jurisdiction?

The AFCA Rules set out the types of complaints we can consider. The Rules were developed through extensive stakeholder consultation and have been approved by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

The Operational Guidelines to the Rules give more detail about how we apply these rules.

You can read our Rules and Operational Guidelines on the rules and guidelines page on our website.

Can I take enforcement action or any further steps in current legal proceedings against a consumer if they have lodged a complaint with AFCA?

No. As a member, you are bound by the AFCA Rules, which prohibit a financial firm from:

  • commencing legal proceedings against the consumer relating to any aspect of the lodged complaint
  • pursuing legal proceedings relating to debt recovery instituted prior to the consumer lodging the complaint with AFCA, provided the consumer has not taken a step beyond lodging a defence or a defence and counter claim. Attending a directions hearing is not considered to be a step for the purposes of the Rules
  • taking any action to recover a debt (the subject of the complaint), protect any assets securing that debt, or assign any right to recover that debt while AFCA is dealing with the complaint.

An exception to these prohibitions is where we agree in writing to a financial firm taking legal proceedings or enforcement action. This will only occur in limited circumstances, such as where it is necessary to preserve property (the subject of a complaint) or where a limitation period is about to expire.

What is the process AFCA follows when managing complaints?

We encourage financial firms to resolve consumer complaints directly, using their internal dispute resolution processes. If this can’t be achieved, then we follow the process outlined in the complaint process map.

For more information please refer to the “the process we follow” page on the AFCA website.

When a consumer lodges a complaint with AFCA about me, what information do I need to provide?

The best approach is for members to be comprehensive in what they provide. This means providing all relevant contracts, account statements, policy documents, diary notes and dates, reports, emails, analysis, expert opinions, plans, notes, statements from staff (if applicable) and other documents.

We have developed EDR response guides for some complaint types, which outline how to provide a response to AFCA. Please refer to the member resources page for more information.

I’ve had a complaint lodged about me and I’ve provided you with all the information I have. What happens next?

At this stage we will:

  • tell you and the consumer about our process and the next steps we plan to take
  • give you and the consumer an opportunity to present your views to us
  • give appropriate opportunities for you and the consumer to provide further information and documentation to support your case.

Can members ask for an extension to resolve a complaint?

Both members and consumers can ask us for extensions of time in which to respond to the complaint, if there are special circumstances that prevent them from responding within our requested timeframes. However, in the interests of faster complaint resolution, we grant extensions as the exception rather than the rule.

When would a decision be made by an Ombudsman and when would it be made by a Panel?

If a complaint cannot be resolved during the early stages of our process and requires a formal written Determination, we will decide whether a single Ombudsman or a Panel will determine the complaint. How we decide this takes several factors into account, including the type and complexity of the complaint and the type of expertise required to consider the issues.

What do I do if AFCA issues a Determination that requires me to take some action?

If the consumer formally accepts the Determination within 30 days of receiving it, it is the member’s responsibility to take the actions stipulated in the Determination.

How can I find out how AFCA has resolved similar complaints?

If we can’t resolve a complaint through negotiation or conciliation, we may make a written decision. All of our decisions are based on what is fair in all the circumstances, taking into account the law, any applicable industry codes of practice, and good industry practice.

We have created a series of approach documents that explain how we reach decisions about key issues. Please refer to the AFCA approach page on the AFCA website for more information.