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Australia’s top banks are banding together to share information through a real-time reporting network that could help prevent a particularly brutal type of scam and drastically cut the time to resolve cases. 

17 Australian banks launched a new digital platform called the Fraud Reporting Exchange (FRX) that enables near real-time prevention tactics, which are particularly helpful for authorized push payment (APP) fraud, where victims get swindled into willingly sending money to bad actors under false pretenses.

It’s mateship in action: A group of banks including HSBC, ING, and Westpac are involved in a new effort in Australia to halt payments to scammers.  

The bank-funded Australian Financial Crimes Exchange launched a secure communication platform that provides near real-time fraud reporting, shared intelligence, and the ability to halt transactions for member banks.   

Previously, communication between banks would largely take place over phone calls and email. 

The FRX endeavors to stop fraud by allowing banks to better share information about potential bad actors and interrupt multiple transactions taking place as part of the same scam.  

This new platform is particularly crucial for mitigating APP fraud, where banks often deny culpability for refunds since victims authorize payments themselves. As consumer protection advocates turn up the heat on banks to provide reimbursements to victims of these scams, the platform aims to prevent people from losing money in the first place.

The FRX is a “world-leading initiative” and “means more and more scammers are going to hit a brick wall,” according to Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh.  

In a trial of the platform, the time to resolve most scam cases dropped by more than half.  

In the United States, regulators have also ramped up pressure on banks to add protections and grant reimbursement for APP victims. Banks, in turn, have increased their customer education and have experimented with biometric technology. Australia’s new system models preliminarily effective another strategy.