Australian banks have united to form a new Scam-Safe Accord. This Accord, between Australia’s community-owned banks, building societies, credit unions and commercial banks is a comprehensive set of anti-scam measures across the entire industry. 

Australian Banking Association (ABA) CEO Anna Bligh, said: “This Scam-Safe Accord is a new offensive in the war on scams. It reflects the banking sector’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding every Australian. It outlines the actions every bank will take to protect Australian consumers and small businesses and to harden the system against scams.”

Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) CEO Mike Lawrence, commented:  “The initiatives we launch today are a significant step forward and demonstrate the banking industry’s commitment to fight scams. It doesn’t matter if someone banks with a regional mutual bank or the largest bank in the country, customers can be confident their bank is working hard to protect their money.”

Scam-Safe Accord to roll out new payee system

At the heart of the Scam-Safe Accord is a $100m investment by the industry in a new confirmation of payee system to be rolled out across all Australian banks. Confirmation of payee will help reduce scams by ensuring people can confirm they are transferring money to the person they intend to.  

With 15.4 billion transactions worth $2.5trn occurring every year across the banking sector, the design and build of an industry wide confirmation of payee system is a major undertaking. Design of the new system will start straight away and it will be built and rolled out over 2024 and 2025. 

Banks have committed to introduce new and higher protections into their systems, meaning customers should expect more warnings and delays when paying someone new or increasing payment limits. To prevent misuse of accounts through identity fraud, all banks will uplift technology and controls, including all major banks introducing unique identification measures known as biometric checks when opening new accounts. 

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In addition, the Scam-Safe Accord includes a major expansion of intelligence sharing across the sector with all banks acting on scams intelligence from the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange by mid-2024 and joining the Fraud Reporting Exchange. This means critical information is shared across the banking sector at speed about scam transactions, improving the chances of preventing scams and recovering stolen funds.