ANZ, Westpac and NAB have confirmed they do not currently plan to emulate the Commonwealth Bank’s ban on the use of its credit cards to purchase Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies.
“Due to the unregulated and highly volatile nature of virtual currencies, customers will no longer be able to use their CommBank credit cards to buy virtual currencies,” CBA announced earlier this week.
Bitcoin’s value has swung wildly in recent months, dropping from US$19,000 in late 2017 to close to $6000 earlier this month. Coinmarketcap currently pegs it at just over $10,000.
CBA said that customers could still purchase Bitcoin as well as other digital currencies by using their debit cards or direct bank transfers.
“We have made this decision because we believe virtual currencies do not meet minimum standard of regulation, reliability, and reputation when compared to currencies that we offer to our customers,” the bank said.
“Given the dynamic, volatile nature of virtual currency markets, this position is regularly reviewed.”
Spokespeople from ANZ, Westpac and NAB said there had been no change in their approach to the issue.
The banks indicated that they would still attempt to block suspicious transactions, however.
“Cryptocurrency is a very recent – and fast growing – market, and it’s an unregulated currency,” an NAB spokesperson told Computerworld.
“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.
“We take the protection of our customer information and accounts extremely seriously, and so some card transactions may not be processed as we aim to reduce this risk for our customers.”
“ANZ does not prohibit customers buying digital or crypto currencies, or accepting them as a form of payment,” a spokesperson said.
“We monitor transactions for unusual behaviour to protect against potential fraud and in line with our regulatory responsibilities.”
However, the spokesperson confirmed that ANZ would not bank businesses “that operate as issuers, dealers or exchanges of digital or crypto currency”.
“These businesses are currently unregulated and therefore not within ANZ policy,” the spokesperson said.
Australian banks’ reticence to do business with cryptocurrency exchanges has been a source of complaint from the nascent industry.