National Australia Bank blocks payments to Binance

abdelaziz Fathi

National Australia Bank (NAB) would curb access to high-risk cryptocurrency exchanges, which is understood to include Binance, joining the country’s other big lenders in blocking payments to digital-asset platforms.

National Australia Bank

This move is part of a broader crackdown by major banks as they allegedly grapple with the scammed funds being funneled into cryptocurrencies, making it challenging to recover for victims. The regulatory pressure and controversy surrounding Binance have further intensified the scrutiny on the exchange.

While specific exchanges were not mentioned, NAB’s ban will initially apply to “several” high-risk exchanges and may potentially expand in the future.

“These scammers are part of organized, transnational crime groups. Increasingly, we’re seeing them use cryptocurrency platforms to send stolen funds quickly and often overseas. You’ve got ‘crypto exchange A’ that we have concerns with, and we’re not going to allow payments go there,” Chris Sheehan, executive for group investigations and fraud at NAB, said in a statement.

However, the spokesperson for the lender didn’t provide clarification on whether these measures will be applicable to all crypto exchanges or only a limited number of them.

Asked if the ban would explicitly apply to Binance, he added, “our approach is going to be consistent with the rest of the industry. If we start to see, as always happens with these criminal groups, they pivot to start targeting something else, we can change our rule settings as we go”.

Australia’s largest bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), also introduced similar anti-scam measures in June that include blocking certain payments to specific cryptocurrency exchanges. As part of these measures, the bank now holds specific payments to crypto exchanges for a period of 24 hours.  Furthermore, the CBA plans to apply a monthly transfer limit of A$10,000 (US$6,666) to crypto exchanges.

The move follows Westpac’s decision last month to ban customers from transferring funds to Binance, citing its efforts to reduce losses from scams. The Australian big four bank said the move comes after its internal data revealed that investment scams constituted approximately half of all scam losses, with one-third of scam payments being directly transferred to cryptocurrency exchanges.

As a result, the Australian arm of Binance told its customers that it will be unable to deposit or withdraw Australian dollars (AUD) using bank transfers. The suspension was initially announced on May 18, but the exchange resumed withdrawals via bank transactions for Australian users until June 1.

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