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AMP bolsters protections against financial abuse

The non-major bank has announced strengthened safeguards for vulnerable customers at risk of financial abuse.

AMP Bank has announced it has updated terms and conditions for loans and accounts for new and existing customers in order to allow the lender to provide improved support for customers when its products and services are used inappropriately.

The non-major bank confirmed updates to facilitating the closure of accounts, blocking transactions, cancelling cards and/or access methods, and restricting accounts for the protection of another individual.

Additionally, AMP Bank has the authority to now act on requests made by an individual to prevent or mitigate financial hardship they may be experiencing in the event where it is believed that a joint account holder is under financial pressure.

Welcoming AMP Bank’s updated terms and conditions, the Centre of Women’s Economic Safety (CWES) and author of Designed to Disrupt and associate professor at UNSW School of Social Sciences, Catherine Fitzpatrick, believe it sends a clear message that financial abuse will not be tolerated.

Stated in the Designed to Disrupt report, the CWES urged lenders to redesign products to enhance financial safety.

The CWES called for banks to begin by changing terms and conditions to be fully transparent in their stances against financial abuse and that action will be undertaken against customers using products for harmful purposes.

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AMP Bank group executive Sean O’Malley stated it’s important for banks to implement safety features into products and services and continue to work with industry and authorities to “raise awareness about abuse and do all we can to prevent it from happening”.

“There is an opportunity for our industry to continue to innovate and iterate the design of financial products to increase financial safety,” Mr O’Malley said.

“Particularly at this time of year, we’re sensitive to the impact Christmas and end-of-year fatigue and commitments can have on family dynamics, increasing customer vulnerability.”

CWES chief executive Rebecca Glenn said AMP Bank has joined the ranks of Australian financial institutions that are “making it harder for perpetrators to use financial abuse as a tactic of coercive control”.

“Few other businesses are better placed to protect women against financial abuse and its devastating health and economic impacts for them and their children,” Ms Glenn said.

Ms Fitzpatrick added: “This is globally leading action from Australian banks, which directly addresses one of the key drivers of gendered violence.

“Tens of millions of customers have been told banks won’t condone disrespectful and controlling behaviour and they’ll change their practices to explicitly forbid and censure it. Never has it been more important.”

AMP’s move to update its terms and conditions came as major bank Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) recently announced that its AI technology used to detect financial abuse will be available for free to any bank worldwide.

According to CBA, its AI model helps identify digital payment transactions that include harassment, threats, or offensive messages.

[RELATED: Commonwealth Bank expands financial abuse technology access]

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