British Bank Santander to Censor Transfers to Crypto Exchanges

The U.K bank Santander will prevent its customers from sending real-time transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges starting next year. 

The prohibition aims to protect customers from scams and fraud, as well as the general risks associated with crypto investing. 

Banks Blocking Bitcoin Purchases?

In a notice published to its website on Friday, Santander said that certain new limits would be imposed starting next week. These include a £1,000 limit per transaction when using online or mobile banking, and a £3000 limit per month. 

“You can still get payments from cryptocurrency exchanges into your account,” the bank clarified. “We’ll be making more changes to limit or prevent payments to crypto exchanges in the future, though we’ll always let you know before we make these changes.”

Santander noted that there’s been a “large increase” in its U.K. customers becoming victims of cryptocurrency fraud in recent months. Due to their pseudonymity and irreversible nature, cryptocurrencies can be a popular vehicle for crimes like phishing scams and ransomware. 

Furthermore, consumers are unlikely to get protection for crypto-related crimes from the Financial Ombudsman Service or  Financial Services Compensation Scheme. As such, the bank deemed it necessary to impose transaction limits to protect consumers. 

According to Reuters, the full block on transfers to exchanges will be implemented at an unspecified point in 2023. It will particularly block “faster payments” – the real-time payment infrastructure used by most bank accounts within the country. 

In emailed comments to Reuters, Faster Payments owner Pay UK said it was “working with regulators and the payments industry to develop and implement better protection for victims of fraud.”

Crypto Access in the U.K.

Santander also plans to continue preventing transfers to Binance. The Financial Conduct Authority said the latter does not have authorization to operate in the U.K. Nevertheless, withdrawals from the exchange will still be possible. The FCA warns investors on its website that they should be prepared to lose all their money when investing in crypto. 

Data from Finder suggests that nearly half (47%) of major U.K. banks do not support transfers to crypto exchanges, or direct purchases of crypto via credit card. 

Some banks, however – like Revolut – offer sophisticated services that allow users to pay for products using cryptocurrency directly. 

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The nation’s newest Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has previously shown interest in making the U.K. a global crypto hub. 

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