BPay drops accounts after swindle

BPay has scrapped transactional banking accounts, following a swindle that saw hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen from users' accounts. In future, customers will still be able to pay bills by using savings and cheque accounts, but BPay payments cannot be made to transaction accounts. The operators of the fraudulent scheme billed customers' transaction accounts linked to their system.

BPay's general manager Andrew Arnott said that transactional accounts give ready access to cash so there's a “chance for things to go wrong”. He emphasised that it was “dishonest people”, not online and telephone banking technology, that led to the recent fraud.

The Australian Bankers' Association stated that it could not discuss the numbers of customers who will be inconvenienced by the BPay changes. Mr Arnott said that closing the codes of the five relevant financial institutions would only affect a small part of BPay's business, which process payments for 8,800 billing organisations at around 7 million payments each month.

Consumers have been warned not to use a single password for multiple services. Detective Superintendent Megan McGowan, of Commercial Crime Agencies, said that personal information is easily obtainable. Banks often provide a convenient product, rather than a secure one, she commented.