Chase Bank, a relatively new entrant in the UK banking sector, will block crypto-linked payments by UK customers via debit card or bank transfer from Oct. 16, according to an email sent to customers seen by The Block.
The email cited increasing fraud and scams using digital assets as the reason behind the decision — aiming to protect UK customers and keep their money safe.
"From 16 October 2023, if we think you're making a payment related to crypto assets, we'll decline it. If you’d still like to invest in crypto assets, you can try using a different bank or provider instead — but please be cautious, as you may not be able to get the money back if the payment ends up being related to a fraud or scam," the email stated.
"We’ve made this decision because fraudsters are increasingly using crypto assets to steal large sums of money from people. Declining these payments is one of the ways we're helping keep you and your money safe," it added.
UK banking crypto restrictions
Data from the UK's fraud reporting agency Action Fraud shows UK consumer losses due to crypto fraud increased by over 40% in the last year, surpassing £300 million ($365 million).
Chase isn't the only UK bank to take such measures, with Santander and Barclays previously imposing restrictions on certain crypto-related transactions. In February, NatWest also told the UK Treasury Select Committee it was blocking crypto transactions due to volatility and fraud concerns. However, Lloyds took a more pragmatic approach, telling the committee if its customers wanted to put money into cryptocurrencies, it would ensure it was as safe as possible.
"We’re committed to helping keep our customers’ money safe and secure," a Chase spokesperson told The Block via email. "We’ve seen an increase in the number of crypto scams targeting UK consumers, so we have taken the decision to prevent the purchase of crypto assets on a Chase debit card or by transferring money to a crypto site from a Chase account."
Chase reached over 1.6 million UK customers and £15 billion ($18.3 billion) in deposits in May, having launched in the country in 2021.
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