Santander UK, the British unit of the Spanish banking giant, is the latest financial institution to block payments to crypto exchange Binance.
"Keeping our customers safe is a top priority, so we have decided to prevent payments to Binance following the FCA's [Financial Conduct Authority's] warning to consumers," Santander UK's support page tweeted Thursday.
Santander UK added that it has seen "a large increase" in U.K. customers becoming the victims of crypto fraud in recent months. About 2.3 million people, or more than 4% of adults in the U.K., hold cryptocurrencies, according to the FCA.
Late last month, the FCA banned Binance Markets Limited (BML) — Binance's U.K. entity — saying that the firm is not authorized to operate in the country. The ban, however, did not involve Binance.com, the main crypto exchange platform. So it is unclear why banks have moved to block user payments to Binance.com following the FCA's warning.
A Binance spokesperson told The Block, "We are disappointed that Santander appears to have taken unilateral action based on what appears to be an inaccurate understanding of events."
"We reiterate the fact that the FCA notice was not about user deposits on Binance.com at all," they added.
Santander UK follows Barclays, which earlier this week banned debit or credit card payments to Binance until further notice. Lloyds Bank reportedly does not allow crypto payments on credit cards, including to Binance. NatWest too is said to have lowered the daily limit on how much money can be sent to crypto exchanges after a "high level of cryptocurrency investment scams."
Binance is losing fiat onramps from the U.K. following the FCA crackdown. Earlier this week, the exchange had to suspend customer deposits via the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) due to "events beyond our control." The SEPA network allows customers to send euros across 36 countries.
Besides the U.K. regulator, Binance has recently faced crackdowns from regulators around the world, including the U.S., Japan, Thailand, and the Cayman Islands. Yesterday, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority cautioned citizens against using the exchange, citing the FCA's statement, and highlighted the risks involved in trading cryptocurrencies.
This article has been updated with comments from a Binance spokesperson.
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