Before you enter into a consumer credit contract such as a credit card, personal loan or mortgage, lenders must disclose certain key information to you.

Get your credit costs and legal rights in writing

Key information about a consumer credit contract must be given to you in a written disclosure statement before you enter into a consumer credit contract. It helps you to understand the credit costs and explains your legal rights, such as your right to cancel to the contract.

Continuing disclosure is also required at six-monthly intervals or more frequently if it is a revolving credit contract such as a credit card, or when you ask for information about fees, balance owing and so on.

A revolving credit contract is a credit contract:

  • under which you can make more than one request for credit under the contract
  • which does not limit the total amount that can be given you as a borrower.

This includes revolving credit loans under mortgages.

Read Mortgages to find out more.

The lender must also disclose any agreed changes between you and the lender before they take effect.

If disclosure is not made or is incomplete or inaccurate, your credit contract is not enforceable, and you are not liable for the costs of borrowing during that time, until disclosure is made. The lender may also be penalised and you may be able to cancel some or all of the contract.

The law changed for credit contracts from 6 June 2015 and only applies to contracts entered into after that date.

Read the Commerce Commission’s fact sheet on how the changes to consumer law apply to contracts(external link) .

Know your rights

When a lender discloses key information, it must be clear, concise, and easy for a reasonable consumer to understand.

Generally, written disclosure for consumer credit contracts is required:

  • before you enter into the contract
  • during the term of the contract, every six months or 45 working days if it is a revolving credit contract (continuing disclosure)
  • if any agreed changes are made to the contract
  • when you or your guarantor asks for it.

Continuing disclosure may be done on a website when you agree to this and no interest charges or credit fees are payable under the credit contract.

See also:

What disclosure must include

Initial disclosure at the start of a contract under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA) includes:

  • unpaid balance and any subsequent advances to be made, including the total amount to be advanced
  • credit limit for credit cards
  • interest: annual interest rate, the method of charging interest, the total interest charges and any interest-free period
  • credit fees or other default charges if you fail to meet the contract’s terms or miss payments. Also, early repayment charges and how they will be calculated
  • payments: amounts, the number and total amount of payments, and the date when the first payment is due
  • security interests: describe any property that is being used as security accurately and whether a disabling device will be attached to that property
  • cancellation: your right to cancel within five working days of receiving the disclosure statement
  • hardship: your right to ask the lender to change the contract if your circumstances change unexpectedly
  • the dispute resolution scheme the lender belongs to.

You may cancel your credit contract at any time if you didn’t get a copy of the key information (disclosure statement) or it is incorrect, incomplete or illegible.

Also, if full disclosure is not made, a lender:

  • can’t recover any interest and fees for the period of non-compliance
  • can’t enforce the contract
  • may be liable for penalties.

See also:

Information must be clear, concise, and should not mislead or deceive a reasonable person.

Standard terms and conditions

Lenders must make their standard form contract terms and costs of borrowing publicly available on their website or on a notice at their business premises. This is to help you compare the cost of borrowing and contract terms, and to shop around. Lenders must also state that a copy of the standard contract terms is available on request, free of charge.

Contact the lender

Contact the lender if you didn’t get the right information for disclosure or a copy of your credit contract.

If your concern or difficulty is not resolved to your satisfaction, you can then contact the Financial Dispute Resolution Scheme(external link)   that your lender belongs to.

Next steps

If you are unable to resolve your issue directly with the bank or service provider, our Resolve It tool has information to help you take the next steps. These may include going to the Disputes Tribunal or District Court.

Resolve it: Banking, finance and insurance

Need more help?

Contact us for more guidance.

Common situation

Incorrect disclosure

Jack buys a car on finance in September 2015. The finance company gives Jack a copy of the disclosure document. A few months later Jack looks at his bank statement and finds out the repayment rate is different to what he was told initially. When he checks the disclosure document, the interest rate is higher than he expected. He contacts the finance company and finds out the interest rate was wrong in the contract. The finance company needs to correct the error and reimburse Jack for the interest paid during that period of non-compliance, and provide him with correct disclosure documents.