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Prudish payment processes are something we cover a lot. Whether that hurdle means not being able to easily secure funding for your sextech startup, or having to turn to cryptocurrency to pay for certain porn sites, banks and tech platforms have never really been all that accepting of sex-related stuff

Paying for a porn subscription shouldn’t be something to deter you from getting a loan for your first house. But, according to a new Australian report, loans are being rejected when applicant’s bank accounts feature transactions related to adult entertainment – even if they’re only a joke. 

You know the story: you go out for dinner with friends and they promise to transfer you their share once they’re home. An hour later, you’ve received a transaction for $30 for “sexual favours” or “drug money.” It’s not big, it’s not clever, but it can be quite funny. 

What’s not so funny is when this stops you buying your first home.

Unequal treatment

In an increasingly sex-positive world, banks still have a pretty conservative, judgemental approach to offering loans. If you’re someone with frequent payments going out to a porn site, for example, it could be picked up, as finance broker Chris Foster-Ramsay explains to Australian property news site Domain:

“If [a] person happens to be in the property market at that time, the bank’s going, ‘Hang on, what’s this?’ Particularly if there’s $50 here or $50 there,” “[Banks ask,] ‘Is it for adult entertainment?’ … If that happens over a period of time, the bank is picking up on it.”

This puritanical attitude to sex in relation to finance is a problem that sextech comes up against time after time. Finding a payment processor that’s happy to take payments for sex-related businesses is a “notoriously difficult task”. And the recently launched Apple Card promises privacy above all else, but the company’s traditional anti-sex stance means adult industry workers remain dubious. 

Yes, we understand that banks need to be sure you can make your repayments each month, but sex-related transactions shouldn’t factor into that decision-making process. We extensively cover how Big Tech is, generally, anti-sex – this week, even LGBTQ+ friendly TikTok made headlines for censoring queer content in some countries. 

This prudish viewpoint assumed by bank lenders is shared with huge tech players: Facebook is notoriously not cool with sex, Instagram makes it virtually impossible for adult performers to build up a following and Tumblr is no longer a place for niche porn (or any porn, for that matter).  

Incognito by default

If you’re starting to worry about your statements might look at (if, like me, you generally avoid looking at them), don’t panic just yet. Lots of adult business transactions will show up on your statements with an alternative trading name. For example, shopping for sex toys on our sister-site sextech.co.uk would show up as ‘BBT Retail’ on your bank statement.

But for now, our best advice for anyone seeking a loan in the near future: stop tooling around with that payment reference box when you’re splitting a pizza, at least if you’re based in Australia.

Read Next: UK’s controversial porn block plans could come into force sooner under no-deal Brexit

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