Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the largest bank in Australia, announced a temporary decline in “certain” payments to cryptocurrency exchanges as part of newly introduced measures to battle scams in the country.
According to an official release, the CBA will decline or hold crypto payments for 24 hours or more. As part of the scam risk measures, the bank will also place a A$10,000 ($6,650) limit on the payments made to exchanges in the coming months.
CBA to Pause Certain Crypto Payments
James Roberts, CBA General Manager of Group Fraud Management Services, said:
“Consumer interest in cryptocurrencies has been increasing, and unfortunately, scammers globally are capitalizing on this trend and masquerading as legitimate investment opportunities or diverting funds into cryptocurrency exchanges. Customers who make payments to cryptocurrency exchanges are currently facing a significantly higher risk of potentially being scammed.”
Roberts added that the introduction of 24-hour holds, declines, and limits on payments to crypto exchanges would help reduce both the number of scams and the amount of money lost by customers. The CBA will monitor the impact of the scam measures, and they will be subject to review.
“Across Australia, a whole-of-ecosystem approach is required to combat scams, and CBA is committed to helping keep customers safe, as part of a broader national focus by government, regulators, banks and other industry sectors. We are committed to being part of the broader solution with government, regulators, banks, telcos and other industry sectors to keep Australians safe,” Roberts added.
A Major Turnaround
The CBA’s move is a major turnaround for the bank, which announced in November 2021 that it would enable crypto trading for Aussies on its banking app, CommBank. The CBA was to become the first Aussie bank to roll out such services, supporting ten crypto assets, including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).
However, a tussle with Australia’s financial regulators last year prevented the launch of a pilot of the crypto-trading service.
The CDA is not the only major Australian bank to prohibit customers from transacting with a crypto exchange. Last month, Westpac banned its users from making payments to leading crypto trading platform Binance as part of recent protection measures against scams.
Meanwhile, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) instructed banks to report their exposure to crypto-related ventures and start-ups.
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