Another Big 4 Australian Bank Blocks Payments to ‘High-Risk’ Crypto Exchanges

National Australia Bank (NAB) has joined other major lenders in the country in blocking payments to some cryptocurrency exchanges. The banking institution said it’s introducing new customer protections regarding financial transactions with certain scam-related crypto platforms.

Australia’s NAB Bank Intervenes in $184 Million Worth of Payments That Raised Scam Concerns

National Australia Bank, one of the four largest Australian banks, is restricting transfers to certain high-risk crypto exchanges. On Monday, the lender announced it’s introducing new blocks on digital asset platforms where scams are more prevalent.

Between March and July of this year, NAB customers abandoned payments for more than $270 million Australian dollars (almost $184 million) after receiving scam alerts from the bank. Nearly half of scam funds reported to the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange in a recent 30-day period were linked to cryptocurrencies, the bank noted.

Chris Sheehan, NAB executive for group investigations and fraud, pointed out that several measures introduced by the bank in the last six months, such as sending payment prompts and taking action on spoofing and stopping the use of links in unexpected text messages, have contributed to protecting the bank’s customers from various scams. He added:

We’re now also taking action to block some payments to high-risk cryptocurrency exchanges in a further effort to stop scammers.

Sheehan also highlighted that crypto-related scams are a fast-growing threat with Australians losing more than $221 million Australian dollars (over $150 million) to them in 2022. “These scammers are part of organized, transnational crime groups. Increasingly, we’re seeing them use cryptocurrency platforms to send stolen funds quickly and often overseas,” the executive explained.

NAB’s steps on that front come after the other three major Australian banks — Westpac Banking Corp., Commonwealth Bank, and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group — introduced similar measures not long ago.

On May 18, Westpac said it had started trialing new customer protections for some crypto-linked payments to reduce “scam losses.” Citing the threat of scams, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia’s largest bank, unveiled in early June its plans to restrict payments to coin trading platforms.

Restrictions imposed by Australian banks and payment providers affected the country’s crypto trading sector. In May, Australia halted Australian dollar (AUD) deposits after Westpac’s announcement and the decision by the local payment gateway Cuscal to discontinue support. It was later revealed that Australian payment provider Payid had quit processing AUD withdrawals for the exchange’s customers.

Do you think Australian financial companies will impose further restrictions on payments to and from cryptocurrency exchanges? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

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