Aussie banks have taken to the streets to protect their customers from ATM fraudsters.
But ATM users are getting the message, too, with ATMs around Australia now being shut down, including at a number of banks, including ANZ and Westpac.
“This is the latest and the most recent in a series of actions taken by banks in recent weeks to combat ATM fraud,” said Scott Wilson, the CEO of the Australian Bankers Association (ABAA).
“A big part of our industry’s success is the confidence that our customers have in their bank and that banks have a clear set of rules and procedures in place to prevent and detect fraud.”
Some banks have even implemented measures that make it harder for victims to access their funds, and to use other ATM services, such as online banking and checking.
The ABAA says the banks’ actions are “unprecedented” in Australia, and “could put some customers in a worse financial position”.
“It is our view that the ATMs that have been shut down have contributed to the overall decline in ATM use in Australia,” Wilson said.
“It’s been difficult to keep our customers safe and this has put them in a very vulnerable position.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says there are many more examples of banks and other financial institutions that have shut down ATMs.
In a statement to ABC News, Westpac says it is “monitoring the situation” but has “no immediate plans to remove ATM machines”.
But ATMs at other major banks have been operating normally, with most businesses accepting payments through the bank’s web-based system.
“Some banks are now restricting the use of the ATM, while others are reopening the ATM and making it more convenient for customers,” Wilson told ABC News.
Westpac says the bank will be offering customers a cash option to withdraw cash, and also will allow customers to use debit cards to pay their bills, and online.
It says it has also been working with law enforcement agencies to help identify ATM fraud.
WestPac has also increased its monitoring of online banking customers, and is offering new customer service guidelines, and a new “security course”.
However, it is yet to comment on whether customers will be able to access bank accounts online or via mobile phone or other devices.
It is not the first time banks have had to take action against ATM users.
A number of high-profile banks including ANU, Bank of Queensland, Western Australian and Queensland Bank have shut their ATMs due to the increasing use of ATM fraud in Australia.
Earlier this year, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission also warned banks against shutting down ATM machines.
“The ACCC’s concerns about the risks posed by ATM fraud are based on extensive research, including our experience as an industry observer of banks closing their ATM systems,” the regulator said in a statement.
We have also had a number reports of banks reporting ATM activity to the ACCC in breach of the ACCCC Code of Conduct, which includes reporting any suspicious activity to police.”