NAB has strengthened measures to automatically block abusive and threatening transaction descriptions in an effort to prevent financial abuse.
Financial abuse cost Australians an estimated $5.7 billion in 2020, with NAB announcing on Friday that it had blocked specific words and phrases from appearing in digital transactions in a bid to tackle abuse in banking services on line.
According to NAB, more than 10,000 abusive transactions from 6,800 unique customers were blocked in March 2022.
Payments in the NAB app that contain offensive words and phrases will not be processed under the Amendments.
Customers receive a real-time message informing them that they will need to edit the description for the transaction to proceed.
NAB now has a team to assess blocked transactions and issue warnings in the event of misuse or abuse.
In addition, NAB has an Electronic Banking Acceptable Use Policy, which gives Big Bank the right to terminate banking services in the event of abusive, threatening or illegal banking behavior.
Rachel Slade, director of personal banking at NAB Group, said the bank would continue to ensure digital transactions were not a vehicle for abuse.
“We have approximately 1,300 words and phrases that are now blocked in the NAB app, in addition to recently enhanced internet banking safeguards,” Ms Slade said.
“Our system is now smarter than ever. It can now instantly recognize special characters and spaces that have been replaced in prohibited words and phrases.
“Similarly, it can recognize whether a word should be allowed because it matches the account holder’s legal name or the company name.
“This type of abuse can affect all types of customers, from teenagers using transactions to bully others to intimate partners committing financial abuse.
“We are committed to working with our customers and other organizations to reduce the prevalence of this behavior. We also encourage customers to contact us if they receive abusive or threatening messages.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT
In an emergency or if you feel unsafe, always call 000.
Financial abuse via the banking sector
Financial abuse has been described as a “hidden epidemic”.
An avenue of financial abuse typically includes small transfers under $1 for the sole purpose of sending abusive messages in the description to intimidate or harass the recipient.
This is used instead of social media, phone and SMS services where the abuser can be blocked.
The ABC decided to block abusive transaction messages after finding that 8,000 customers may have received such messages in June 2020.
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