CommBank Faces Backlash for Blocking Customer Crypto Purchases

By Ben Knight March 07, 2024 In Australia, Banks, Cryptocurrency
  • Australia’s biggest bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, has been criticised for “parenting” how its customers spend their money.
  • The institution implemented an AUD $10K limit on transfers to crypto exchanges.
  • Some customers have reported that even small deposits to reputable crypto trading platforms have been blocked, with the investors needing to call up and explain their financial goals.

The banks don’t quite see the irony, do they?

This week, Australia’s biggest financial institution, Commonwealth Bank, has come under fire from the community after denying a customer the ability to purchase AUD $10K worth of digital currency.

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Of course, this sort of limitation is the very thing that cryptocurrencies were introduced to avoid – it’s my money, why should a central authority have any right to say what I do with it?


“Protect [them] From Fraud and Scams”

Most Australian banks aren’t particularly crypto-friendly. While international institutions are making strides toward integrating digital currencies – and even ANZ is working on an AUD stablecoin – CBA, Westpac and NAB have implemented rather draconian restrictions on what their customers can and can’t do with their cash. 

In July last year, Commonwealth Bank introduced a new policy that capped crypto purchases at AUD $10K per month. However, it apparently hadn’t affected many investors until now, with one customer blocked from depositing some of their hard-earned funds into a crypto exchange. 

The letter they received from CommBank was posted online. It read:

Your recent payment to a cryptocurrency exchange has been declined because you have exceeded the monthly cryptocurrency limit…CommBank has introduced these limits to help protect you from frauds and scams.


As you might expect, the community’s reaction to the decision was not particularly positive. 

Especially when you consider the hypocrisy of the bank after they saw an opportunity to make some profits of their own.

Apparently, the move from Australia’s banks isn’t intended to stifle trading on reputable platforms like Swyftx and Coinbase, but rather prevent customers from accessing “high-risk exchanges”. And yet, the limit applies to all crypto expenditures, rather than just to platforms with a history of hosting scams.

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Investment scams are unfortunately rife throughout the crypto world, however, having a catch-all limit is reinforcing the very thing that decentralised currency is standing up against.

Ben Knight

Ben Knight

Ben Knight is a writer and editor from Melbourne with a passion for all things music and finance. He enjoys turning complex topics – especially the technical details of cryptocurrency – into digestible bites that anybody can understand. He acquired his Master’s in Writing, Editing and Publishing from RMIT in 2019 and has run his own creative writing business ever since.

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