Banking Tips

The reasons your money is safe with a customer-owned bank


While Australians are increasingly – and rightly – concerned about the security of their money in an age of scams, customer-owned banks have lifted their protection mechanisms even further to ensure their members’ money is safe. That’s on top of the guardrails that were already in place, such as strict regulations.   

Here are some of the measures you can rely on to shield your hard-earned cash from external threats. 

  1. Your deposits are secured by an Australian Government guarantee 

In Australia, banks, building societies and credit unions – otherwise known as Australian Deposit-Taking Institutions (ADIs) – are protected by a government guarantee. It’s known as the Financial Claims Scheme and essentially means in the unlikely event the bank collapsed, a safety net of up to $250,000 per customer, per ADI, would apply. 

  1. We’re bound by the same rules as big banks

Like the big banks, customer-owned banks follow strict rules and regulations. Many customer-owned banks also follow our Code of Practice, which makes seven key promises to protect the financial wellbeing of members. 

  1. We’ve united to crack down on scammers

After the recent rise in scams activity, the Customer-Owned Banking Association joined forces with the Australian Banking Association in an accord to fight fraudulent activity. Together, we’ve committed to delivering an industry-wide solution for confirmation of payees, increasing the verification threshold, and introducing new warnings and payment delays to protect customers’ money. We’re also investing in an expansion of intelligence sharing and limiting payments to high-risk channels. 

Individual banks are also joining the fight against scams in ways that are relevant to their own unique customer base. For example, a Geelong Bank employee personally helped a customer who had been scammed file a police report, then the bank recovered the money from its own coffers. Meanwhile, Cairns Bank decided to notify its customers of the scams circulating in its region to better keep members informed and on guard. It’s not alone either. Beyond Bank is providing regular community education, while Orange Credit Union is hosting forums to keep its region safe. 

These are just a few examples of what some customer-owned banks are doing, but it’s worth seeing how your own bank, credit union or building society is keeping you safe.   

What else you can do to protect yourself

While you can rest assured your bank is working hard to protect your money from scams, there are things you can do to further limit fraudsters. These include: 

  • Deleting suspicious messages or hanging up immediately if you get a strange call
  • Verifying a sender or caller’s details by directly contacting the company or agency they claim to be from on their main phone line  
  • Regularly changing passwords 
  • Chatting to friends and family about scams they’ve noticed 
  • Keeping an eye on the latest scams doing the rounds. 

For more tips, visit Scamwatch.gov.au

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