Despite increasing regulation in the cryptocurrency sector, Australia’s major banks maintain cautious policies when it comes to cryptocurrencies. While cryptocurrency businesses appear to challenge Australian banks’ appetite for risk, many institutions permit cryptocurrencies to be purchased using credit cards.
A spokesperson for Westpac, Australia’s second-largest bank by capitalization, stated that the company “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.” The policies extend to Westpac-owned St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne, and Bank SA.
The country’s third-largest bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), also does not prohibit its customers from purchasing cryptocurrencies, with an ANZ representative stating that the bank “does not prohibit customers buying digital or cryptocurrencies, or accepting them as a form of payment.” However, the spokesperson added that the bank “monitor[s] transactions for unusual behavior to protect against potential fraud and in line with our regulatory responsibilities.”
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Australia’s largest bank, however, revised its policies 14 months ago to prohibit virtual currency purchases via credit card. Despite this, a Commonwealth Bank spokesperson stated that “customers are still able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using their CBA transaction accounts and debit cards.” CBA subsidiary Bankwest shares the same policies.
News.Bitcoin.com was unable to find an Australian financial institution that expressed a willingness to bank cryptocurrency businesses.
Of the major banks, while CBA and Westpac declined to comment on the matter, an ANZ spokesperson indicated that the company’s policy “is to not bank businesses that operate as issuers, dealers or exchanges of digital or crypto-currency as they are outside of our risk appetite.” A spokesperson for regional bank Suncorp also indicated that the company does not provide “services to cryptocurrency businesses.”
The country’s credit union also appears to hold policies that are cold to cryptocurrency businesses, with a Newcastle Permanent spokesperson indicating that the entity does not partner with crypto companies, nor does it permit cryptocurrency purchases using its credit cards.
A spokesperson for Heritage Bank, one of Australia’s largest credit unions, 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.”
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