Racial Profiling at a Bank

Yesterday I walked into an ANZ bank and had the worst experience I have ever had with a teller in a bank. I wanted to withdraw >1000 so i had to go to the teller. I did not have my physical bank card but I have the ApplePay one so i figured that would do. Went up to the teller, tapped my phone on the EFTPOS machine. She then said to me "You cant use a non ANZ card". The other teller next to her leaned over and said the same thing. I had no idea what they were talking about and why they would even thing someone would show up to ANZ with another banks card. Anyway, I was confused, asked what she meant then she said her computer is showing that im using a non ANZ card. I showed her the card, she asks me to do it again and she says the same thing. She then asks me for my actual card number, which i show her from my Lastpass. Does the whole verification, name, address, date of birth then walks off to speak to someone and comes back and asks for my ID, which i didnt have upon which she said she couldnt help me. The demeanor of these tellers was really bad honestly. Made me feel stupid and I felt as if they treated me with contempt or very high level of suspicion.

So i went back home and got my ID. I was really affected by the interaction so i wanted to go back to that very same teller. Went back and tapped my phone again. The conversation about the non ANZ card started again….and again. Luckily a more senior person happned to be walking behind and she explained that the phone works at the ATM but not on the EFTPOS machine in front of the tellers. Ah right. I understand. The junior lady then continued serving me, got my ID, asked my name, address, date of birth as usual and im ok with that. Then she asked me to tell her roughly how much was in the account. WTF. I have never been asked that as a security question. I asked her why that matters and she said it was for security reasons. I refused to answer. She then asked for my security code and i gave her. Then she handed me a wad of notes (didn't count it in front of me as they normally do). I went to speak to the manager to tell him about this whole experience.

Here is the thing. I am a minority. I am black. So i get treated funny in a lot of places i walk into. Simple things like being followed around when i walk into a store, having that extra level of verification required when i have an account with >100k, being spoken down to in establishments etc so these tellers behaviour really impacted me. The set up of the branch is also such that there is very little privacy. Every customer in line can hear the entire conversation between the teller and who they are serving. All the verification info, the extra questions from the tellers etc. So i really felt humiliated. Whats worse is that I know how this whole interaction made me feel….i have had soo many pleasant interactions in banks so i know what good service in a bank should look like and yesterdays was not one of them yet i am second guessing myself on whether i over reacted by speaking to the manager and filing a complaint. Sucks.

Just wanted to vent and to get opinions on the above….and vent.

Related Stores


closed Comments

  • +83 votes

    you went back home and still didnt take your ANZ card with you?

    • -81 votes

      I actually dont have one.

      • +40 votes

        Perhaps consider getting one. Would probably streamline the process at the bank.

      • +16 votes

        "…I did not have my physical bank card…"
        Suggests that you do, or did at some time.

      • +2 votes

        If you lost your card, they can send you a replacement for free.

      • +3 votes

        Goes to ANZ bank. Doesn't have an ANZ card or ID. Surprised by lack of service and suspicion. Um okay. Maybe have a card or ID with you in the future?

  • +110 votes

    Nothing wrong with that. Have been asked for how much is in my account before or how much a recent transaction was. ID is also very normal.

    If they didnt have these policies in place you would be on here complaining that the bank stole your money or something.

    • -65 votes

      This is the thing. There is probably nothing technically wrong with what they did, but the way it was done was just downright demeaning and smacked of contempt. And this is where things get funny….there is nothing technically wrong with being followed around in a store because an employee suspects youre up to something….but it does make you feel like shit…absolute shit. There is nothing wrong with being asked "how long have you been in australia" when you were born here, but it does make you feel a certain way.

      • +54 votes

        What does any of that have to do with your dealing with ANZ? Were you followed around the branch?

        They have a checklist for ID verification before handing out money which they followed. Its not their fault you didnt have your card / ID and refused to answer normal verification questions.


        Why don't you answer 'since birth'? I have been asked the same question and also told to go back to wherever and it's not based on skin colour. It's probably more a case of not having a bogan accent.

      • +25 votes

        I 100% believe you experience racism and micro-aggressions on a regular basis. Without being there to observe the incident it's not really possible for us to know if it happened in this instance.

        There are however some facts that make this seem like a common situation. You didn't have the banks card (phone paying services just have access to your card and act as merchants. A picture of your card is not your card). You didn't have ID. Bank tellers don't have flexibility with that kind of thing.

        Also, and most importantly, bank tellers can be rude and difficult with everyone. They're renouned for it.

        • +3 votes

          There are however some facts that make this seem like a common situation. You didn't have the banks card (phone paying services just have access to your card and act as merchants. A picture of your card is not your card). You didn't have ID. Bank tellers don't have flexibility with that kind of thing.


      • +4 votes

        No one can really know for sure since we weren’t there. They probably were talking down to you, most likely because it’s fairly obvious your going to need adequate ID to withdraw cash at a teller. I’d say they were a little bit baffled and as to why you didn’t know that and persisted trying to get money without it. They would have been frustrated and it would have come out in their tone.

        I’m pretty disorganised so have been in similar situations and tried to wing it, not wanting to go home to get ID etc. People get equally frustrated with me and it comes out in their tone. I’m white.

        I don’t want to pretend to know your experience. If you have experienced racism in the past you’d be on edge. I do get the stuff about people asking where you’re from, as people do it to my Australian born husband but never to me, and he has been racially abused in front of me (and otherwise) lots of times. I think sometimes this stuff can stick with you and make you question if someone is treating you poorly because of your race or just because of the situation or their personality. It can erode your confidence in interactions with people, particularly if you’re having a bad day.

        Your race may or may not have been a factor in how they treated you and it sucks that you have to think about whether it was or wasn’t.


        yup asking for approx balance is super standard

    • +7 votes

      Yes I think asking for the balance in account/s and recent transactions is very normal.
      It would be something you would naturally know if you check account activity often to reconcile and spot anything weird. Also you can check on your phone with whatever mobile banking your institution provides.
      End of the day I would much prefer the bank to be over cautious when it comes to money especially if OP had $100k in the account.

    • +1 vote

      Agree with this.

    • +1 vote

      I work for in a bank HO, even when I go the branch (they know me) I need to provide the same detail and more.

  • +80 votes

    Yeah everything you've mentioned is super standard practice. I thought it's pretty basic knowledge that you would need a physical card for cash out. AFAIK you have never been able to withdraw cash without a physical card and I've definitely been asked for an estimated balance or details of a recent transaction, if you've worked in CS you'd realise the person is just going down the list they've been given of approved forms of identification.

    No profiling, IMO you're just an idiot looking to place the blame on the staff for racism rather than on yourself for being unorganised.

    • +1 vote

      I do it all the time because I don't carry physical cards with me anymore. I just provide my details to a teller. Yeah, it takes about 10x longer than using an ATM but I use cash about once a year.


        Yeah but I bet you provide a form of photo ID? And if you don't they MAY help you if you can answer a bunch of POI questions?

        I also get cash out regularly from the bank as I often don't carry my wallet and I live close to a number of branches, every time I've been asked for ID.

        I think the biggest stretch I've had is showing a photo of me holding my passport next to my face on my phone then answering a bunch of additional POI questions.

        • +1 vote

          ServiceNSW app has my driver's licence 🙂

          • +4 votes

            @ozbargainsam: Haha exactly, old mate here had nothing and was so miffed when they got denied that when they returned with ID they just HAD to speak to the same teller. Absolutely screams Karen behaviour.


              @Cheaplikethebird: actually banks do not accept the digital license and will need you to have the physical license.


                @enzioFirenze: Yeah usually, if you get a lax person they might but expect to answer a bunch of extra POI questions.


        FYI, you can also get money out at woolies or coles by tapping. No need for card. Don't need to buy anything either, just walk up to the front desk.


          Yeah that has been a recent change since covid. Supermarkets are not operating under the same guidelines as banks and I’m assuming have also decided to wear the risk in the name of providing good service.


      In this day and age people's expectations have changed and they expect to be able to operate digitally.

      Personally I wouldn't even know where my physical cards are - Apple Pay / lastpass / PayPal is where it's at, and SA has digital drivers licences as well.

      That said, if I went into a non-digital, legacy bank I wouldn't be surprised that they aren't there yet and that their processes are annoying and still require a physical card and ID.

      • +3 votes

        It's called risk mitigation

    • +1 vote

      Cards for cash have definitely been the norm for the last 20+ years, but that's largely because its easier for them to have you get cash from an ATM.

      Whenever I go in branch (which isn't very often) my card is more like an account ID. You don't need to have a card on every account, I know cheques aren't common anymore but you did used to have transaction accounts without cards attached.

      The exact agreement with this account I don't know, but certainly you'd want sufficient ID such that if someone else comes in and says they are you that they don't get access to the account. If I didn't have my card I'd at least want the bank to fill some kind of pseudo 100 points of ID check + Privacy questions combo to make sure everything was above board.

  • +30 votes

    Maybe the customer service sucked, but I dont see this as racial profiling and this has how banks have always operated. I could be wrong as I was not there.

    I would not serve you without physical card and ID as well.

    Who is not to say you where lucky and got a unlocked phone logged into that card. I would be quite concerned if they never asked for ID as any one could go up and pretend to be anyone.

    Also being asked the account balance or the last couple of transactions is quite normal and I've been asked that countless times.

  • +25 votes

    Hi Mate, no offense but there is no harm in following process, i have worked in customer service for 5 years and faced similar scenarios many times for sure bank rep has to follow process they are aware of as in case of anything gone wrong they cant be held liable personally i have seen multiple times people using fake cards and IDs so they are cautious, and i recommend always keep an Photo ID and bank card with you it seems unnecessary and basic but you never know when you need it

    • -26 votes

      Thanks. It really is the way it was done that bothered me….and the "how much is in your account" after i have provided everything else.

      • +9 votes

        It is not the right way, they asked you a security question for which they already know the answer so where is racial profiling or harm in just answering it?
        A customer always thinks they are right but they never look with point of view of next person if bank rep had become aggressive or asked something inaccurate for sure they are wrong but in this whole scenario i don't see them at fault and honestly because of customers like this and again i say no offense many customer reps become harsh and straight forward towards customer and don't go out of there way to help anyone i personally had become one of them

        • +7 votes

          Yep the mere fact the staff offered this person alternate methods of identification indicates that they were trying to help. Most places will tell their staff that if they are suspicious of a customer that they are allowed to shut down the interaction regardless of POI.

  • +29 votes

    Sorry, but that is not a minority or discrimination issue. I get asked for ID all the time, including those account balance type questions.

  • +32 votes

    I'm not sure that your story conveys anything about racial profiling, or discrimination, or even rudeness.
    As others have said, if your bank allowed others to convince tellers to give out your money to them, you would have a bigger complaint.

  • +54 votes

    Racial profiling? Are you ridiculous? You did all the wrong things. Time to toughen up.

  • -1 vote

    Sorry to learn about what happened mate. I think this might have unfortunately been just a one off experience as mentioned by you that this has never happened before.

  • +2 votes

    .i have had soo many pleasant interactions in banks

    Strange that it happens so often. Try keeping your card with you.

    • +1 vote

      Try reading what OP actually wrote

    • +2 votes

      Perhaps you misread that sentence?

      • +3 votes

        yep, lol.

  • +17 votes

    Nothing at all about this has anything to do with race, it's standard procedures when for when a random person turns up asking for cash with no way of identifying themselves or their right to access an account. Would you be happy if it were easier and next time you went to make a withdrawal, found your account empty?

  • +2 votes

    Yeah, I think I was asked similar question before, about the whole what was your recent transaction, your date of birth, blah blah and they do it several times.
    I cannot remember what it was for certain, vaguely remember that I was expecting them to ask multiple annoying questions, so I had my passport and proof of age card.
    They ask for multiple IDs, because each IDs have different weight to them (one photo ID from government and something, and proof of address).

    I think it's more of bureaucracy more than anything else.

  • +28 votes

    It feels like when someone doesn't like something or is losing an argument these days, they play the race card

    Very sad

    • +2 votes

      What is the best time to play my white privilege card? ;)

      • +3 votes

        Certain people would argue that you've been using your white privilege card every day of your life. I'm not one of those people btw.

        I guess some CIS gendered white people just have lower credit limits on their WPC's.


          Oh man ;(

          When's the interest due on all that card?

          people just have lower credit limits on their WPC's.

          I had to google that (I was scratching my head at what Wood-plastic composites had to do with this)… Laughed hard when I scrolled down further.

  • +6 votes

    OP is just salty because he doesn't know the normal procedure to withdraw cash from a bank without ID. Oops?

  • +28 votes

    Mate i think your over thinking it. Banking procedures have gotten quite annoying but for good reasons.

    For instance, if you take out a larger sum of money they will quiz you on what you are using it for and if anyone is forcing you to take out the money. You may be thinking screw them it is none of their business. But they are just following procedure.

    Don't think everyone is out to get you. Hold you head up high, respond in grace and don't even let your mind go there. The only person you upset is yourself.

    Of course, if it is a direct attack on your race (like name calling) stand up for yourself, as everyone on here would stand with you.

    • -22 votes

      Thanks for your response and id like to engage you for a bit. I honestly think i have posted this on the wrong forum. Here is the thing that I think a number of people wont get. I am not complaining about the request for ID etc. Honestly, the same could have been done by a different person, not talking down on me and I would not have walked away feeling that way. I have never in my life pulled the race card, never and i am very conscious of how easy it is to do that when its not even there. But the way i was treated yesterday…..i could never imagine it happening to a white male in the manner that it happened.

      • +19 votes

        None of us were there but you. It is possible the person that served you had shit customer service or was indeed a racist prick. But it sounds like they followed procedure.

        It seems what bothered you more was not the procedure but the attitude. I get it, over time these feelings compound and hurt. They get through the armour. But dude, i'm from a migrant background. I have experienced similar shit from a young age in school, workforce and in public. And i do believe the more different you look from the 'white male stereotype' the worst it is.

        The reality is there are moronic half wit racists out there. When you get upset they win.

        Follow their procedure, go back to the same teller with a big grin on your face, in your best suit and while you are there ask them for an update on your bank balance.

        And then ask them to print out for you as well!

      • +22 votes

        Newslash: the 20-something teller behind the counter does not give a rat's arse what colour you are just that you are holding them up from going back to checking insta stories on their phone. If you're holding them up don't be surprised if you cop a little attitude.


          Haha true that
          The actualy good ones actually want to get somewhere

      • +3 votes

        I can tell you it happens to the whites too.

        You come across all sorts of people in the world. Most people in the world will prejudge you. Right or wrong, it's how it is. It's not always about race. It could be how you dress, how you carry yourself, how friendly you are, how appropriate you are, whether you have a dog, the car you drive, where you live and the list goes on and on. Until people get to know you, even at a cursory level, how are they going to know who you are?

        It sounds like you borh prejudged each other. Perhaps that caused some issues on both sides?

        There are other issues too. Not everyone is having the best day of their life. I've had many circumstances that put my frame of mind in a bad light, so the following interactions were able to sideways easier than it usually would.

        Last point. Sometimes you just come across an (profanity). You'll go mad trying to control everyone elses response. All you can do is control your own and act in the way you want to live.

  • +11 votes

    Customer service at a bank is critical of everyone. They experience a lot of customers, and if you're the customer service rep that falls for a scam, they'll go through an investigation/a process to ensure they're not a part of it, and its not fun. It's best to be critical in banking/money situations for the staff.

    It was a red flag trying to withdrawal a lot of money without ID and a bank card. And then refusing to answer a security question.

    I hope these comments and your inquiry can make you personally resolve this situation. Nobody wants to feel like they are a colour or profiled. Perhaps the manager and staff involved in the situation reviewed what happened, and identified how they made you feel, and how they resolved it.

    Feel good about yourself and who you are, not what you think other people (who don't affect you positively/personally) might think about you. You'll be a good influence to others in the future.

      • +1 vote

        Talking down with contempt happens to everyone at some stage in their life.

        If you have the work experience in a bank, then you'd know this situation would bring 'essential suspicion' on you.

        Read some of the positive and supportive comments here again and feel resolved about the situation. You've got a lot of people here showing you support, and in case you havent noticed, you're getting downvoted a lot for continuing negativity and not helping yourself.

  • +7 votes

    This verification is a part of Anti Money Laundering rules. You see, the syndicates often target students and other people they think are vulnerable to help carry them place their money into the system or take out of it. There are strict laws and fear among the banks after Westpac was found infringing AML laws. It was imposed around $700 million fines by Australian Regulatory Authorities. Hence, double, triple questions to confirm you are not a money mule for these syndicates. Don't take it by heart. There have been so many cases in past. If ANZ, slips on AML detection, they could be fined tons of millions of dollars.

    • -4 votes

      Its really the way it was done. It was as if these tellers were speaking down on me. I am not against the verification checks. The how much is in your account when i have given her my ID, name, address, date of birth etc just seemed unnecessary. I didnt answer it and i was still able to get my money - so it wasnt really necessary.


        It's a check to see if you have some undisclosed money sent to you and you are there to take that out from your account.

      • +2 votes

        You didn't respond to the account balance verification question, but:
        "She then asked for my security code and i gave her."


        How much is in your account is a security question and I've been asked it before. You don't have to give an exact answer, but an approximate one indicates that you have genuine knowledge of the account.

        I've worked in finance and look at this a different way - you were actually very luck that the teller was nice to you because they could have refused to serve you when you refused to answer the security question. By refusing you actually become more suspicious / more likely that you aren't the genuine account holder.

        (or as I'm sure you won't like the above answer - yes of course the teller was being racist).

    • +1 vote


      I wonder if there are things in the AML laws about reasonable suspicion etc.

      Black/possibly an immigrant, young, potentially a student, possibly vulnerable -> A higher suspicion that they are a mule.

  • +27 votes

    Do you attribute every single negative encounter that happens in life to you being "black" and a "minority"?

    • -8 votes

      No i dont. THis is the first time i have actually felt this way.

      • +6 votes

        Your earlier comments suggest not?
        "there is nothing technically wrong with being followed around in a store because an employee suspects youre up to something….but it does make you feel like shit…absolute shit. There is nothing wrong with being asked "how long have you been in australia" when you were born here, but it does make you feel a certain way.'

      • +2 votes

        Above you suggested that you've been followed around a store? Did that happen?

        • -12 votes

          It hasnt happened to me. I was giving it as an example of something that regularly happens to some people of colour.

          • +1 vote

            @lexdiamonds: I am yet to see where the racial profiling has happened. Was it only the part of "how much is in the account"?

            • -2 votes

              @Therage: Honestly, it was the demeanor of the tellers throughout this whole process. They spoke down on me, i was conscious every other customer could hear our conversation and what it looked like. I did think that after providing ID, pass code, address, date of birth asking the amount in the account was over the top and unnecessary. The fact that she proceeded without me answering the question makes me think it really wasnt necessary. I honestly cant think they would behave the same if it was a white person they were interacting with.

              You are right, there's nothing outright racial that occurred, but i cant put to words how they talked to me. But i do know when someone talks down on me.

              • +6 votes


                I honestly cant think they would behave the same if it was a white person they were interacting with.

                You'd be wrong. My 84 year old, 4' 10", white mum was asked all the same questions a few weeks ago, right down to the amount in the account, also at ANZ. The local branch closed and it was the first time at a new one and she prefers to use the tellers rather than ATM or internet banking. She doesn't drive and so doesn't have a licence for ID etc and so always has these sorts of problems.

              • +1 vote

                @lexdiamonds: Just because someone isn’t friendly doesn’t mean they’re talking down to you because your black. You said it’s the first time you’ve felt this way, I doubt it. Some people are starving and can’t feed their families but you’re whinging you were asked security questions by a bank when you didn’t have a card.

          • +2 votes


            So i get treated funny in a lot of places i walk into. Simple things like being followed around when i walk into a store

            This sentence in your OP states otherwise, so which one is it?

          • +2 votes


            Above you suggested that you've been followed around a store? Did that happen?

            It hasnt happened to me.

            Are you shitting me? Lol you gave it as an example in your OP of something that has happened to you.


  • +5 votes

    Being given the 3rd degree over transactions is not uncommon, and being asked the expected balance is quite common in these circumstances!. The banks are under huge pressure to combat fraudulent transactions in principle caused by net access. So, dealing with banks has become harder, but I am sorry that you thought you were being singled out - it happens to many of us!.

    • -6 votes

      its really how it was done. I felt they were speaking down on me.

  • +5 votes

    OP, are you certain that all the tellers weren't minorities themselves? All mine are.

    • -2 votes

      One was. One wasnt.

  • +6 votes

    This sounds very normal. I wouldn't bother trying to do anything at the bank without ID (after a similar experience to yours as a young adult). Not every negative customer service experience is due to how you look.

  • +9 votes

    Then she asked me to tell her roughly how much was in the account. WTF.

    So this is the point at which you were "racially profiled"? When someone asked you an entirely valid security question (that I've been asked several times in the past, both in person and over the phone … so nothing to do with skin colour)?

    And after all the carry on (that potentially would have been avoided had you been carrying your ID and the physical card related to the account) you got your money?

  • +6 votes

    Move along, nothing to see here.

    • +3 votes

      Should have read your comments first. Wasted my time reading this bs.


    I went to speak to the manager to tell him about this whole experience

    ANZ are known (and actively market/promote/donate) for being the most accepting of the "minorities", so from the top down at least you would think that would be drilled into them.

    What was the manager's response?

    • +6 votes

      I'm going to repeat my comment above: the 20-something teller behind the counter does not give a rat's arse what colour you are just that you are holding them up from going back to checking insta stories on their phone. If you're holding them up don't be surprised if you cop a little attitude.

      I'm a cancer - very emotionally intelligent ;)

      • +1 vote

        Just checking that I had replied correctly to kanmen below. :p


    • +8 votes

      I think you are displaying a moral superiority complex rather than emotional intelligence. Self assessment can be unreliable.

      • +3 votes

        Probably but fairly certain we're all stroking our egos during these debates. Worked in CS for 5 years, the likelihood this person created extra work for themselves because they're racist is practically nil.

        Also it was a tongue-in-cheek response to the comment I was replying to which assumes they are emotionally intelligent while the rest of us aren't.

      • +2 votes

        Exactly. Massive moral superiority complex uder the guise of "having empathy" or trying to appeal to a sense of humanity. Society should be run on objectively logical rules and procedure, not catering to subjective feelings.


        The fact that I've obviously triggered people with my post ironically and literally proves my point about emotional intelligence, thanks for that!

        Not sure why a little bit of understanding and empathy shows a 'moral superiority complex' but again, the ability to discern the difference proves my point.

        • +1 vote

          Then why did you just swallow the ego bait whole?


          Ha, rebutting someone's comments does not make one triggered but nice try at winning the argument in a roundabout way.

          Your inability to show understanding or empathy for the bank teller and that you are taking OPs story on face value actually shows a low level of emotional intelligence. Having emotional intelligence doesn't simply mean that you care more.

  • +12 votes

    If some random withdrew $1k from your account because the bank did not follow due diligence with ID requirements you would also be upset and probably blame your skin colour.

    You can't have it both ways.

    • +2 votes

      Sure, it is Black and White. :+)