With development input from the NSW Police, the program will allow the bank to quickly report suspected abuse.

It's the latest part of the CommBank Next Chapter initiative, a program designed to help prevent and support the victims of financial abuse.

The program is set to be introduced in September, and will build on existing transaction monitoring, augmented by AI, that picks up on offensive or abusive language in descriptions.

When the filters pick up on a NSW customer repeatedly receiving abuse in transaction descriptions, the Next Chapter team will get in touch, asking if the customer wants CommBank to make a police report on their behalf.

Victims can also contact the bank and request abuse to be reported to the police on their report.

CommBank already takes several measures when it picks up on their digital banking being used for financial abuse, including delinking the victims bank account from PayID so the perpetrator can no longer contact them and setting up new, safe accounts for victims.

The bank might also send warning letters to perpetrators, temporarily remove their digital banking access or even terminate their banking relationship entirely.

Angela Macmillian, CBA Group Customer advocate, said the new pilot would help provide better support for abused customers.

"Technology-facilitated abuse continues to be a serious problem, and this collaboration with NSW Police enables us to act, not only in supporting victims, but in the prevention of abuse," Ms Macmillan said.

"We hope this paves the way for more effective collaboration in the fight against domestic and financial abuse.”

Responsible banking or big brother?

CommBank cracking down on its digital banking services being used by domestic abusers has been immediately praised.

Anna Bligh, CEO of the Australian Banking Association (ABA), congratulated both CommBank and the NSW Police and said it would help the police access information about financial transactions used to threaten, harass or intimidate victims.

"This trial will provide valuable insights for police services and other banks about how to better combat the scourge of domestic violence," Ms Bligh said.

However, in recent years some people have reported banks flagging transactions for other reasons, threatening to terminate the customers relationship with the bank.

One CommBank customer who did not wish to be named said he received a warning (pictured below) in 2019 after a friend sent money with a transaction description jokingly suggesting the money was for drugs.

"I get that it's a stupid thing to do, but I thought it was a little bit concerning the bank were keeping such a close eye on customers, even threatening to stop me using their services," he said.

"I'm a bit worried what this will look like in the future now AI is involved."

There is heightened scrutiny on banks withholding services from certain customers at the moment after controversial UK politician Nigel Farage said he had been disbarred from private bank Coutts for his political beliefs.

The scandal has since seen the CEO of Coutts resign, and Mr Farage has called for more banking executives to follow, speaking out against banks denying people services.

"Without a bank account, you effectively become a non-person, you don't actually exist," Mr Farage said.

He will be launching a new website to help people who lose or are denied accounts at big banks.

Commbank ed transaction.JPGO

The message CommBank customers who send abusive, offensive or controversial transactions can expect to receive.