NAB blocks abusive transactions in mobile app to protect customers



NAB has increased measures to automatically block abusive and threatening transaction descriptions.

More than 10,000 abusive transactions from 6,800 unique customers were blocked in March 2022. Payments in the NAB app on iOS and Android that feature offensive words and phrases won’t be processed under the changes, while NAB has been actively blocking abusive transactions on internet banking since November 2020.

Customers get a real-time message advising they’ll need to change the description for the transaction to proceed.

NAB Group Executive Personal Banking Rachel Slade said the bank would continue to make sure digital transactions wouldn’t be a vehicle for abuse.

“We have approximately 1,300 words and phrases that are now blocked in the NAB app in addition to Internet Banking protection measures being enhanced recently,” Ms Slade said.

“Our system is now smarter than ever. It can now instantly recognise special characters and spaces that have been substituted in banned words and phrases. Equally, it can recognise if a word should be allowed because it matches the account holder’s legal name or the business’s name.

“This kind of abuse can impact all types of customers, from teenagers using transactions to bully others to intimate partners committing financial abuse.

“We’re committed to working with our customers and other organisations to reduce the prevalence of this behaviour. We also encourage customers to contact us if they receive abusive or threatening messages. We are here to help.”

The changes will apply to all commonly-used payment types.


Safety by Design

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said safety by design was about helping and encouraging industry to place user safety at the very heart of product design and development.

“We believe it’s this initiative that will really move the needle in tackling online abuse and prevent many of the online harms we deal with every day from happening in the first place,” Ms Inman Grant said.

“We commend NAB for taking active steps towards adopting this Safety by Design approach and protecting their customers from online abuse being perpetrated through their banking app and internet banking service.”

Ms Slade said NAB colleagues played a big role supporting customers who had received abusive and threatening transaction descriptions.

“We have a dedicated team who review information on blocked transactions, issue warnings and refer customers to support services. We’re giving colleagues additional training so they can be even more supportive to our customers,” she said.

“We’ve also recently introduced an acceptable electronic banking use policy to call out unlawful uses of NAB’s electronic banking channels. This includes making threatening and abusive comments to any person.

“The policy gives NAB the right to terminate banking services for this kind of behaviour.”

The move is the latest in a range of measures designed to support customers experiencing vulnerability, which Ms Slade acknowledged could happen at different times in their lives, regardless of their age, background or income.

NAB colleagues have been trained to recognise the signs sooner and take action to support these customers and deliver a better outcome for them.

Customers who need support can contact NAB on 13 22 65 or access a range of resources and support here.


The 10,000 abusive transactions from 6,800 unique customers were across the NAB app and Internet Banking.

NAB news article about NAB Assist and NAB’s framework and initiatives for supporting customers experiencing vulnerability

Customers, banking & finance


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