Starling has banned customers from purchasing digital currencies with their bank cards or receiving funds during transfers from crypto merchants.
Starling, a digital bank based in the United Kingdom, is the latest financial institution that bans crypto-related transfers and activities for its cardholders.
Customers of Starling are no longer able to purchase digital currencies such as Bitcoin or receive incoming transfers from cryptocurrency exchanges or merchants.
The online bank announced the news to customers and on Twitter, citing the perceived high risks of trading.
Hi there 👋 We always review our position in relation to financial crime. We consider crypto activity to be high risk. We’ve taken the decision to prevent all card payments to crypto merchants and to implement further restrictions on outgoing and incoming transfers.
— Starling Bank (@StarlingBank) November 22, 2022
Furthermore, the bank described cryptocurrencies as “high risk and heavily used for criminal purposes.”
A spokesperson for Starling says that the bank has had restrictions of “varying degrees” on transactions regarding cryptocurrency for some time. “We recently tightened restrictions on inbound and outbound transactions by card and bank transfer,” the representative stated, adding:
”The innovative technology, and thinking, behind cryptocurrencies have great potential advantages. However, right now, they are high risk and heavily used for criminal purposes, and, as such, we no longer support them.”
The bank took some measures that came amid the ongoing industry scandal involving FTX, one of the world’s biggest crypto exchanges that allegedly misappropriated user funds with Alameda. According to FTX’s bankruptcy filing, this company owes over $3 billion to its 50 biggest creditors, while the total amount of creditors reportedly numbers more than 1 million investors.
Some traders in the crypto community believe that some restrictions on crypto activity by most banks seem reasonable; however, there are better solutions than a blanket ban.
“While it is understandable to block individual transactions that banks believe are outright fraud, banning legitimate transactions involving an entire industry is unacceptable,” SovrynBTC argued in a tweet on Thursday.
The crypto enthusiast also asks why the banks don’t care about various other types of risky transactions by their customers, including gambling or trading stocks.
While it is understandable to block individual transactions that banks believe are outright fraud…
banning legitimate transactions involving an entire industry is unacceptable.
— Sovryn | DeFi for Bitcoin (@SovrynBTC) November 24, 2022
The recent restrictions and bans aren’t the first time Starling has cracked down on cryptocurrency-related activity. The bank shorted stopped payments to crypto exchanges in May 2021 over similar concerns, citing “high levels of suspected financial crime with payments to some cryptocurrency exchanges.” Subsequently, Starling resumed crypto exchange operations about a month later on.
The block comes a few weeks after Santander UK limited customer deposits for cryptocurrency exchanges to 1,000 pounds per transaction and a total of 3,000 pounds monthly.
Various British banks reportedly restricted and banned many crypto transactions altogether. In June last year, TSB bank banned its 5.4 million customers from buying Bitcoin. Other primary lenders may include NatWest, Lloyds, and Virgin reportedly restricted crypto purchases by using credit cards in 2018.