Australia’s Scam Safe Accord: A Turning Point for Banking Security

May 15, 2024
Outline of Australia, shark's fin and digital security illustrations on a blue background

Learn how Australian banks are joining forces to declare war on scammers with the introduction of the Scam Safe Accord.

2024 and 2025 are shaping up to be big years for Australia’s banking industry. 

The driving force behind this transformation is the implementation of the Scam Safe Accord, a pioneering initiative led by Australia’s banks that’s designed to tackle the growing issue of scams targeting Australians. With biometric authentication at its core, the Scam Safe Accord works to achieve know your customer (KYC) compliance and ultimately secure online transactions.

Join us as we take a look at the contextual trends in Australia that have prompted the need for a collective response from the country’s financial institutions. We’ll also examine each of the initiatives that comprise the Scam Safe Accord and describe how they can safeguard the financial well-being of Australian banking customers.

Technology Adoption in Australia

Australia’s widespread use of mobile devices has led to an increase in mobile transactions as well as rapid acceptance of biometric authentication methods for identity verification. In late 2021, market research found that 3 in 4 Australians prefer using facial biometrics for verifying their identity. 

While this technology adoption has been taking place, Australia has also faced a scourge of financial scams and fraudulent activities. During 2022, Australian bank customers lost a record $3.1 billion to scams — an 80% increase on total losses recorded in 2021. So how are Australia's technology adoption and the occurrence of scams connected?

How Are Scams Targeting Victims in Australia? 

Today’s scammers targeting Australian bank customers use an assortment of social engineering techniques that trick victims into transferring funds (and ultimately losing money). A few of the top methods used include investment scams, business email compromise, and remote access attacks.

At the core of these scams is the payment method involved: To date, bank transfers are the most recorded payment method involved in Australia’s scams. In 2022, the country’s scam victims reported roughly 13,000 transfers amounting to over $200 million. 

These numbers make it clear that when it comes to financial scam activity in Australia, things haven’t been heading in the right direction during recent years. However, there's a silver lining: Australia’s authorities and banks are now taking proactive steps to fight back against fraudulent schemes and protect customers from financial exploitation.

Introducing the Scam Safe Accord

In November 2023, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) and the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) announced the Scam Safe Accord, a six-part initiative that mandates biometric verification and improved security measures within banking systems.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the introduction of the Scam Safe Accord is a turning point for Australia’s banking security. “Australians finally have a government that is fighting back against scams after being left to fend for themselves for years,” said Australia’s Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services, Stephen Jones.

In our next blog post, we’ll tell you more about the six initiatives that come together to form the Scam Safe Accord’s comprehensive strategy for combating against scams.

How Wultra Can Support Australian Banks

With our modern authentication solution, Wultra can help banks and fintech companies in Australia meet each of the objectives spelled out in the Scam Safe Accord. Not only is our solution specifically designed to meet regulatory requirements — it also offers simple customer onboarding aided by facial recognition.

Banks and financial institutions in Australia looking to stay a big step ahead of scammers will welcome the increased level of security that our authentication solution provides. And with the Scam Safe Accord’s initiatives quickly coming into effect, now is the ideal time for banks to invest in a comprehensive authentication solution to protect their customers’ online transactions.

Related articles


get in touch

Consider partnering with Wultra to meet compliance standards, deliver a secure and seamless user experience, and deliver additional value to your customers while improving your bottom line.

Ondřej kupka
Picture of Account Executive Ondrej Kupka
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.