Posted May 11, 2018 06:15:13Australian banks are already paying their customers to use their bank accounts online.
But that could soon change if the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issues a warning letter that the practice is widespread.
The agency has sent letters to major banks warning them about the practice, which allows consumers to make online payments without the need for a credit card.
But the banks say they are only doing it to prevent fraud.
They have been accused of misleading consumers into using their bank account online for online shopping without paying with a credit or debit card.
“They’re not actually doing any of the things they are telling us they’re doing,” consumer advocate Michael Breen said.
“It’s a very clever scheme and I think they’re trying to trick people into thinking that they’re actually doing it, and that they don’t have to pay with cash or a credit.”
Breen says if the ACCC is successful, it could force banks to follow suit.
“We think that the Australian banking industry has a responsibility to educate people about the potential of using their accounts to make payments without having to go through a credit and debit card,” he said.
But ACCC spokesman Andrew Roberts said the ACCCs enforcement action was not directed at any individual bank.
“The ACCC takes the safety and security of Australians very seriously and is aware of the issues in relation to online banking and the potential for fraud and other risks,” he wrote in an email.
“In this case, we took a broad view of the issue and were not satisfied that there were any specific risks to consumers or to Australian businesses.”
In a statement, ACCC director of public affairs Michelle Loughlin said:”It is not uncommon for banks to take a broad range of actions to prevent people from using their account for online payments.”
“Banks should ensure that they provide clear information to customers on how they can withdraw money from their accounts and that their customer service team is available to help them.”
Bills that do not do so may be subject to an enforcement action.
“Online payments in AustraliaThe Federal Government recently introduced a series of online banking reforms, including a crackdown on the use of credit and overdraft cards, and the closure of the Australian Cybercrime Centre.
But it also tightened the rules on the banks that offer online banking services, requiring them to check customers’ credit and account information and give them a 10-day warning before they accept payment.
It also banned banks from offering credit and bank transfer services, and banned them from offering overdraft services to customers who had used more than one bank account in a 12-month period.
In a submission to the ACCCC, Australian Bankers Association executive director Michael Dyer said: “The introduction of this new rule is good for Australia, but it will cause problems for many Australians who are struggling to access their accounts.”
When a person has a bank account with them, it is not unusual for them to be using a bank card to pay bills, travel, or take out loans.”
He said it was important for banks and consumers to be aware of their options and to make sure they can access their funds safely.
“This is something that many people would do, but we should not see this as a solution to this problem,” he told the commission.