Australia’s biggest banks have ruled out any notion of barring customers from buying cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. In Australia’s ABC news report, big four banks of Australia announced that they won’t be withholding their customers from buying cryptocurrencies using their bank’s services. This news came in contrast to the recent trend of the major UK and US-based banks opposing the trading of cryptocurrencies.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
In the announcement, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) expressed their stand on cryptocurrency trading. They said that they reject dealing with businesses operating as ‘issuers, dealers or exchanges’ of cryptocurrency. It is due to their unregulated nature of trading. ANZ also said that they have no qualms about its customers buying cryptocurrencies with their money.
Further speaking to ABZ, an ANZ spokesman said:
“They do not prohibit customers buying digital or cryptocurrencies, or accepting them as a form of payment. We monitor transactions for unusual behavior to protect against potential fraud and in line with our regulatory responsibilities.”
A spokeswoman for Westpac, Australia’s second-largest bank by market capitalization further expressed their optimism in cryptocurrency. She added:“We currently have no restrictions on credit card use to purchase cryptocurrency.” This came as a pleasant news for all the crypto traders amidst news of banks banning crypto trading. Meanwhile, National Australia Bank (NAB) hinted at putting the brakes on ‘some card transactions’. They will do this to reduce customer risks if certain security flags are triggered. The Commonwealth Bank hasn’t confirmed or denied any such policy. But there are no instances to suggest the bank is barring customers from buying cryptocurrencies.
Winds of Change
Australia is coming up with regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges with new legislation. They are trying to bring exchange operators under the purview of the country’s financial intelligence agency and watchdog, AUSTRAC. While the banks’ stance could change in the future, their clear statements in the present run contrary to the moves made by a handful of major retail banks in the UK and the US.
British banking giant Lloyds Group confirmed that it would block its 9 million credit card users from buying cryptocurrencies. They expressed it is to avoid future unpaid debts amid volatile cryptocurrency markets. The ban extends to its subsidiary banks Halifax, MBNA and the Bank of Scotland. Llyods’ shift in policy to bar cryptocurrency purchases follows similar moves made by two major US banks over the weekend. JPMorgan Chase, the largest US bank, and Bank of America, both have a placed a ban on cryptocurrency trading using credit cards. JPMorgan’s ban went into effect on Saturday while BoA’s ban, which extends to personal and business credit cards, kicked in on Friday. Citigroup has also halted cryptocurrency purchases on its credit cards but confirmed it would ‘review’ its policy as the cryptocurrency market evolves.