Westpac Tests New Security Feature

Westpac is testing additional security layer for online payments to alert customers of potential scams, as customer losses to fraud reached a new record high in December

Westpac Tests New Security Feature

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Australian bank Westpac is launching a new security feature Westpac Verify to protect customers from potential scams, which led to double customer losses last December.

The most common scams targeting Australians include business email compromises, investment scams and bank scams.

The additional security layer, currently in testing, will alert customers in cases of a potential account name mismatch for payments made to a new BSB and account number via Australia’s New Payments Platform (NPP). The alert will also “go off” when a customer transfers money to a potentially suspicious account Westpac has never transacted with before.

In such cases, the payment will be put on hold for up to four hours. Customers will receive a text with a request to review the transfer. The decision to either halt the transaction or proceed depends on the customer.

If payment details don’t look right, customers should contact the bank immediately to either change the details or cancel the payment altogether. If no action occurs on the customer side within four hours, the Westpac bank sees it as a green light to authorize the transaction. 

“The majority of scam-related transactions happen when a customer is tricked into transferring their money to a scammer via online or mobile banking. They may think they’re sending money to a legitimate business, individual, or bank account they’ve been told has been set up in their name, but they’re not. Westpac will now pause some payments and give customers an opportunity to check if the recipient details are correct before proceeding with a transaction, adding another layer in the net to catch potential scams."
Chris de Bruin, chief executive, consumer and business banking, Westpac

The new feature will gradually roll out over the next month. Besides that, the bank advises its customers to use PayID, to make online transactions even more secure.

Earlier, Westpac expanded its credit card functionality, adding a flexible BNPL payment option PartPay, which enables customers to make purchases in instalments.

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.