Australia’s biggest banks have announced they are not planning to bar their customers from buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Banks of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)do not support the move taken by Lloyds Banking Group in the UK and US banks JP Morgan, Bank of America and Citi.
These banks started banning crypto purchases through credit cards. They share a common fear that with the recent craze surrounding crypto buying, banks that investors might end up much higher than what they can usually afford to.
Moreover, thieves stealing crypto cards might be using it to their undue advantage of converting fiat currencies into decentralized digital assets. As a result, they can possibly use it for illicit activities of money laundering or even terror funding.
“Across Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA [the brands under its corporate umbrella], we do not accept credit card transactions involving the purchase of cryptocurrencies,” a Lloyds spokesperson said.
According to the report from ABC, ANZ “does not prohibit customers buying digital or cryptocurrencies, or accepting them as a form of payment”. Other banks that continue to allow credit card customers to buy cryptocurrencies are Westpac and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
A spokesperson for Westpac, Australia’s second-largest bank by market capitalization, added: “We currently have no restrictions on credit card use to purchase cryptocurrency.”
However, National Australia Bank (NAB) dropped a hint that several restrictions should be imposed on ‘some card transactions’ to reduce customer risks.
“ASIC advises that, as most of the virtual currency exchange platforms are generally not regulated, customers may not be protected or have any legal recourse if the platform fails or is hacked,” NAB’s spokesperson said. “We take the protection of our customers’ information and accounts extremely seriously.”
Australia is insisting on regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges with new legislation bringing exchange operators under the purview of the country’s financial intelligence agency and watchdog, AUSTRAC.
Barclays, Britain’s leading credit card issuer with a market share of around 27 per cent through its Barclaycard brand, allows buying cryptocurrencies with credit cards as well. “We constantly review our protections for customers as a responsible bank and lender, and are keeping this matter under close review. At present UK customers can use both their Barclays debit card and Barclaycard credit card to purchase cryptocurrency legitimately.”
Spain’s second-biggest bank BBVA also has no restrictions in place on crypto purchases.
Despite the prohibition, digital money still can be bought as the bans extend only to credit card purchases. Users of debit card can easily use them to purchase cryptocurrencies.