The property industry welcomed another layer of cyber security to its arsenal last year with the introduction of PEXA Key.
In 2018 alone, Australian businesses lost more than $60 million to e-mail scams. It is also estimated that by the end of 2019, cyber scam losses will exceed $532 million, surpassing half a billion dollars for the first time. As a $7 trillion industry, property is and has been an obvious target for cyber-criminals. The email interception of bank account details is one of the more common forms of attack, and the conveyancing industry faces this risk almost every day.
Recognising the risk to members and clients alike, PEXA has recently launched a free secure app, PEXA Key, to support the industry by providing a safe communication channel for bank account details to be exchanged during settlement, backed by the Secure Communication Guarantee.
Director of OWNit Conveyancing, Melissa Warbrick and her team didn’t flinch before introducing PEXA Key into their business as they could see the obvious benefits for their clients, and real estate agents.
“More often than not, buying a new home is an emotional transaction. People can spend years saving for their new home and we have a responsibility to make sure their life savings aren’t intercepted by cyber-criminals”, said Melissa.
“At OWNit Conveyancing, we take cyber-security seriously. We already had our own security strategies in place but PEXA Key adds another robust layer of protection for our customers and our business.”
Once sellers enter their bank account details into PEXA Key, they are communicated into their practitioner’s digital PEXA Workspace, removing the risk of email interception and the need to rekey bank account information. The app also enables the buyer’s practitioner to provide their firm’s trust account details securely to the buyer to help ensure the safe transfer of deposit and settlement funds.
“This security is equally as important for real estate agents as it is for customers. For the agent, their commission depends on the safe transfer of funds and PEXA Key helps ensure there’s no vulnerability of their commission being intercepted.”
Melissa concludes by describing the fluid efficiencies PEXA and PEXA Key have brought to property settlements and other parties involved.
“We will always contact our clients to congratulate them on a successful settlement, however due to the nature of our business we can sometimes get held up if another transaction needs urgent attention. When transacting online we can now notify both our clients and real estate agents instantly when settlement has occurred – consumers via PEXA Key and real estate agents through automatic settlement notifications from the PEXA platform. Neither party are waiting for us, instead the process can proceed seamlessly, and people can move into their homes.”
In addition to the app’s security features PEXA Key offers educational material on what to expect when buying and selling property and high-level settlement tracking. Many Australians already track their online purchases and parcel deliveries, so providing this capability provides an additional element of excitement and transparency for the consumer.
“For my partner and I, there was some anxiety surrounding the purchase of our first home, but when our conveyancer introduced us to PEXA Key, we found that it really alleviated some of that initial worry. The app was a great way for us to follow our settlement and made us feel like we were really part of the process,” said Andrew – homebuyer.
For more information on PEXA Key, you can visit pexa.com.au/pexa-key.
Featured in the REIQ Journal – December 2019 edition
 May 2019, Report of the ACCC on scams activity 2018
 August 2019, ACCC Media release: Record losses expected as scammers target Australians
 June 2019, Core Logic Economic Report
 For more information, including the terms of the PEXA Key Secure Communication Guarantee, visit pexa.com.au/pexa-key.