Starling Bank is from now on blocking all card payments to crypto merchants and restricting other outgoing and incoming crypto-related bank transfers, the digital bank informed its customers on Tuesday.
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“We always review our position in relation to financial crime. We consider crypto activity to be high risk,” the bank said in a message to customers.
“We’ve taken the decision to prevent all card payments to crypto merchants and to implement further restrictions on outgoing and incoming transfers.”
Although Starling customers are not able to hold crypto with the bank, this announcement means they’ll no longer be able to use a Starling account to withdraw or deposit fiat money into or out of crypto exchanges.
Starling is not the first British bank with such ideas. Santander intends to prohibit real-time payments to cryptocurrency exchanges beginning next year. The step is intended to protect users from scammers, according to an email sent to clients.
Santander has not specified when the change will take effect in 2023. The bank will soon put in place a more limited set of rules.
A spokesperson for Starling told Sifted: “We recently tightened restrictions on inbound and outbound transactions by card and bank transfer. Today’s message was to make sure that customers who have made such transactions in the past, but not recently, are aware of this.
“The innovative technology, and thinking, behind cryptocurrencies has great potential advantages, however, right now, they are high risk and heavily used for criminal purposes and, as such, we no longer support them.”
“We’re spending far more of our time protecting customers from the scammers than we are trying to promote crypto,” said Anne Boden in an interview at the Money 2020 conference.