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In a recent development Down Under, the National Australia Bank (NAB) has implemented stringent measures by halting payments to cryptocurrency exchanges deemed “high-risk.”

The bank has successfully intercepted a staggering sum of over A$270 million ($183.8 million) in the span of four months. While NAB has remained tight-lipped about disclosing the specific platforms in question, their rationale revolves around the potential threat of fraud, as per an announcement by the bank on July 17.

Following NAB’s lead, other major Australian financial institutions have followed suit in safeguarding their customers’ interests. Westpac, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and ANZ have taken parallel actions in recent weeks, demonstrating their commitment to mitigating risks associated with cryptocurrency transactions.

The move comes as no surprise, as the cryptocurrency landscape continues to grapple with security concerns and illicit activities. By proactively blocking payments to exchanges deemed “high-risk,” these banks are taking proactive steps to shield their clients from potential fraudulent schemes.

Crypto exchanges remain undisclosed

While the identities of the targeted exchanges remain undisclosed, these financial institutions’ united front underscores the significance of addressing the risk factors associated with the crypto realm. As the Australian banking sector takes a stance against potential threats, it becomes increasingly evident that maintaining robust security protocols is paramount in the world of digital assets.

NAB’s Executive for Group Investigations and Fraud, Chris Sheehan, has highlighted the effectiveness of several measures implemented over the past six months in safeguarding customers from scams.

“Introducing payment prompts, taking action on spoofing, and stopping the use of links in unexpected text messages are among key measures we’ve introduced recently. We’re now also taking action to block some payments to high-risk cryptocurrency exchanges in a further effort to stop scammers,” Mr Sheehan said.

He added:

“While many customers ultimately complete their payment after receiving a prompt, we’re seeing around $290,000 worth of payments abandoned daily. This tells us that customers are taking the time to stop and think before they make a payment.”

In a recent 30-day period, approximately half of the funds reported as scams to the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange were found to be associated with cryptocurrency.