The UK’s Banco Santander is planning to block payments to cryptocurrency exchanges next year. According to a report published by the Reuters news agency over the weekend, the action was intended to protect consumers from fraud.
Santander did not say when, in 2023, the change will take effect. However, in the short term, the bank will already impose a more limited set of restrictions.
As of November 15, payments to cryptocurrency exchanges using mobile and online banking will be capped at €1,000 per transaction, with a total cap of €3,000 in any continuous 30-day period. The new rules will not affect customers’ ability to withdraw.
“Over the last few months, we have seen a huge increase in the number of UK customers falling victim to cryptocurrency fraud,” a Santander spokesperson said. “We want to do everything we can to protect our customers and we feel that limiting payments to cryptocurrency exchanges is the best way to ensure your money stays safe.”
Santander will also continue to block payments sent to Binance, in line with the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) stricter stance on the exchange, which was banned from operating in the UK in 2021 by the watchdog group. The FCA claimed that the company “is not capable of being effectively supervised” and that its “complex and high-risk financial products” pose a significant risk to consumers.
Santander’s policy appears to be in line with the FCA’s recent cautious approach to cryptocurrencies. In August 2022, the regulator announced plans to significantly tighten its rules regarding cryptocurrency advertising, bringing them into line with regulations governing traditional securities such as stocks and securities.
Santander isn’t exactly unique among popular British banks that have taken a prohibitive approach to crypto transfers. Nearly half—47%—of top UK banks do not support cryptocurrencies, according to data from price comparison website Finder.
This group mainly comprises traditional popular banks like Lloyds, Nationwide, HSBC and TSB Bank, but also includes some of the new “disruptive banks” like Starling Bank.
But not all UK banks are moving away from crypto. Neobank Revolut, which has been operating in the UK since 2015, recently launched a card that allows users to pay in crypto for their goods and services.
Revolut’s “invest in crypto” feature allows users to choose crypto assets from over 1,000 tokens and receive cash back on their purchases.