Many Australians are unaware that the can be denied the use of their money if they break rules buried in the fine print of opening an account.
The Commonwealth Bank states a customer may not use their banking services if they engage in conduct ‘that in our opinion’ is ‘offensive, harassing or threatening to any person’ or ‘promotes or encourages physical or mental harm of any person’.
Professional poker player and author Crispin Rovere, who is in dispute with Westpac after they froze his account, highlighted the Commonwealth Bank’s terms and conditions in a tweet last week.
A Commonwealth Bank spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia the terms were to prevent ‘to address the issue of financial abuse in the context of domestic and family violence’.
‘In 2020, we updated our Acceptable Use Policy to address technology-facilitated abuse and to provide a safer banking experience for customers,’ the spokesperson said.
‘Any customer found to be using NetBank or the CommBank app to engage in unlawful, defamatory, harassing or threatening conduct, promoting or encouraging physical or mental harm or violence against any person may have their transactions refused or access to digital banking services suspended or discontinued’.
But some Aussies said the rules were too vague.
‘Since when are banks the arbiters of moral and legal conduct? Especially the Commonwealth Bank? Do they even remember The Royal Commission findings????’ one said.
‘Setting themselves up to freeze people’s bank accounts for wrong speak,’ another added.
The Commonwealth Bank says that its conditions are intended to stop family and domestic violence
Others said the rules were justified.
‘Classic example is abusive ex’s harassing their ex-partners with 1c transfers that include threats in the description. In support services you see this all the time as a modus operandi. In the normal world, most don’t even know it happens.’
In July, Mr Rovere slammed Westpac as ‘totalitarian’, claiming the bank froze his accounts after he made a ‘modest’ cash deposit following a poker win.
The bank demanded to know where Crispin Rovere’s funds came from, which were ‘way, way under’ $10,000 and refused to unblock his account until he told them.
Last Wednesday the Commonwealth Bank came under fire after it announced it had opened a cashless ‘specialist branches’, where customers would no longer able to access their money over-the-counter a trend also happening with NAB branches.
‘The specialist centre branches focus more on business customers and loan products and are located nearby to traditional branches,’ a spokesperson said.
‘We continue to maintain Australia’s largest branch network for customers.’
However, the news did draw favourable responses on social media.
‘Bank branches without money? WTF! That’s like having a petrol station with no fuel! Do they expect people to call into the branch just to say hi and have a chat,’ one said.
Another joked: ‘A bank without cash, that makes real sense.’
‘I suggest everyone to change their bank where this is happening,’ a third said.
Mr Rovere told Daily Mail Australia he only realised there was a problem when he tried to make a card payment at a hotel he was staying in, but the bank rejected it.
In the UK a prestigious bank’s treatment of a former politician and outspoken right-winger has created a major scandal.
Coutts, an exclusive bank used by the British royals, has been embroiled in a highly embarrassing stoush with former European Parliament MP and Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage after they closed his account.
Controversial UK former politician Nigel Farage was dumped as a customer by Coutts bank because he did not ‘align with their values’
After first claiming Mr Farage had let his deposit amount dwindle to the extent he did not qualify for the account the bank was later forced to release documents showing they put a black mark against him for not ‘aligning’ with their values.
Eventually the bank was forced to apologise to Mr Farage for ‘deeply inappropriate comments’ made about him by staff as they promised to undertake ‘a full review of the Coutts processes’ on bank account closures.
‘Why every Australian should start paying in CASH’: Mum exposes the little-known hidden cost of using a bank card: ‘Use it or lose it’
A mother-of-three has explained why every Australian should start paying with cash instead of cards – showing that tapping for payments is taking money out of the community and giving it to banks.
In a Facebook post that has gone viral, Brisbane woman Fiona Edmunds showed that physical money will retain it’s value no matter how many times it is used.
However whenever you use a bank card, some of the money will invariably be eaten away by fees, which the shop owners are forced to pay.
‘I have a $50 banknote in my pocket and I go to a restaurant and pay for dinner with it,’ Ms Edmunds said in the post that more than 19,000 people have shared.
‘The restaurant owner then uses the bill to pay for their laundry. The laundry owner then uses the bill to pay the barber,’ she continued.
‘After an unlimited number of payments it will still remain a $50 value which has fulfilled its purpose to everyone who used it for payment.’
‘BUT if I come to a restaurant and pay digitally via card, the bank fees for my payment charged to the seller could be up to 3 per cent or $1.50.’
Ms Edmunds said a similar percentage is imposed on every other transaction using that original $50 if the holder pays via tap-and-go.
‘Payments made by the laundry shop owner, the barber and so on. Therefore after 30 transactions the initial $50 will exist at only $5 and the remaining $45 has become property of the bank.’
While this is a simplified example and fees vary wildly between banks, the principal is sound.
With each subsequent purchase, banks and credit card companies take a small cut from the original $50 until with enough transactions, eventually it becomes theirs.
‘Use it or lose it folks… cash is king,’ Ms Edmunds said.
According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, fees that businesses pay banks or credit card companies to use their payment services – known as merchant fees – have on average decreased over recent years.
‘However, consumers are making more payments with cards than ever before, which is raising total payment costs for merchants,’ the RBA said.
‘Smaller merchants also face notably higher card payment costs per transaction than larger merchants,’ the central bank also noted.
This means that your local café is paying more of their income in fees than a large chain store which turns over a lot more money and can get fee reductions.
Business are allowed to pass on surcharges to customers to cover merchant fees but the amount cannot exceed the fee amount.
Average merchant fees for payment types:
Eftpos: less than 0.5 per cent
Visa and Mastercard debit: between 0.5 per cent and 1 per cent
Visa and Mastercard credit: between 1 per cent and 1.5 per cent
American Express: between 1.5 and 2 per cent
A Brisbane mother-of-three shared an elegantly simple explanation of why cash is superior to paying by card
Source: Reserve Bank of Australia.