Australian Banks Remain Reticent Over Crypto Purchases Despite Stricter Regulations

https://www.theverge.com

While the Australian banking sector so far has not entirely implemented an all-out crackdown against purchasing digital currencies using credit cards, major financial institutions in the country still remain cautious when it comes to the nascent industry. 

According to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Australia’s largest bank, while “customers are still able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using their CBA transaction accounts and debit cards,” the bank along with its subsidiary Bankwest, have already amended their policies over a year ago to ban crypto purchases via credit card.

Conversely, Australia’s second-largest bank Westpac, previously clarified that the bank currently “does not restrict [the] use of accounts or credit cards in relation to purchasing cryptocurrency as long as the transaction complies with our legal obligations and terms and conditions.” These policies are also implemented across other financial institutions owned by Westpac, including Bank of Melbourne, St. George Bank, as well as Bank SA.

Australia’s third largest bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), also shares the same stance. While ANZ currently allows its clients to purchase digital assets using credit cards, the company underscored that it still “monitor[s] transactions for unusual behavior to protect against potential fraud and in line with our regulatory responsibilities.”

Citing the bank’s prevailing policies, ANZ’s spokesperson also stressed that the company is still treading cautiously when it comes to “bank businesses that operate as issuers, dealers or exchanges of digital or crypto-currency as they are outside of our risk appetite.” Brisbane-based regional bank Suncorp has also maintained a somewhat similar approach to such businesses, emphasizing that the bank currently does not provide “services to cryptocurrency businesses.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle Permanent, the largest building society in Australia, also stressed that the credit union neither partners with crypto startups nor does it facilitate crypto purchases via credit cards.

Australia’s largest mutual bank, Heritage Bank, has also enforced similar rules when it comes to dealing with crypto-related businesses, citing the potential risks associated with crypto trading as grounds for implementing such policies.

As a spokesperson for the mortgage loan company stated:

“Due to the high risk and anonymous nature of cryptocurrency trading, Heritage has made the decision not to transact with business accounts that trade in cryptocurrencies.”