Cryptocurrency Regulations Improve in Australia, But Banks Are Still Showing Cold Shoulders
In Australia, there has recently been substantial debate over the regulations that need to govern cryptocurrency locally. This confusion ultimately led the authorities to issue clear regulations that would motivate growth of cryptocurrency, which much of the community was pleased with.
However, the major banks in the country have maintained a cautious policy regarding bitcoin and cryptocurrency, considering the potential risk that these businesses bring to banks. Even so, there are multiple institutions allowing their customers to use their credit cards for cryptocurrency purchases, according to reports from Bitcoin.com.
The second-largest back in Australia by capitalization, Westpac, commented that they do not prevent customers from making crypto asset purchases with their credit cards, with the stipulation that it has to coincide with “our legal obligations and terms and conditions.” These policies line up with the same requirements at Westpac-owned St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne, and Bank SA.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), the third-largest bank, does not stop their customers from making crypto purchases either. A representative from the bank said that their policy does not stop “customers buying digital or cryptocurrencies or accepting them as a form of payment.” However, adding to their statement, the representative added that they “monitor transactions for unusual behavior,” which is part of their effort to protect their bank from being involved with fraud and keeps them within their “regulatory responsibilities.”
The largest bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), changed their policies just over a year ago, specifically prohibiting customers from using their credit cards for digital currency purchases. Still, a spokesperson for CBA stated that customer can both buy and sell in the crypto market with their accounts and debit cards. Bankwest, a subsidiary of CBA, follows these policies as well.
So far, as far as the research from Bitcoin News shows, there has been no financial institution in Australia that is actually willing to be involved with the activities of a cryptocurrency business. Neither CBA or Westpac were willing to comment, though a spokesperson with ANZ said that the bank cannot “bank businesses that operate as issuers, dealers or crypto exchanges of digital or crypto-currency,” due to the aforementioned risks. A spokesperson with the Suncorp regional bank added that their company simply does not offer “services” for these types of businesses.
At this point, even the credit union in Australia is cold to these cryptocurrency businesses. A spokesperson stated that the Newcastle Permanent company does not form partnerships with these businesses, and their customers cannot use credit cards to make crypto purchases. One of the largest credit unions in the area, Heritage Bank, commented on the matter as well, said that their decision not to be involved with crypto trading businesses is based on “the high risk and anonymous nature of cryptocurrency trading.”
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