Chase U.K. Takes a Stand Against Crypto Payments Amid Rising Fraud

By  Noah Washington October 3, 2023

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  • Chase U.K.'s bank will disallow payments related to cryptocurrencies, sparking a debate in the crypto community
  • The ban becomes effective on October 16, 2023, giving customers time to adjust
  • Chase U.K. is taking this step to combat the growing issue of crypto-related fraud and scams

Chase U.K. has recently announced its decision to block crypto-related payments for its customers, effective from October 16, 2023. The primary driver behind Chase U.K.'s bold move is the surge in crypto-related fraud and scams.

The bank. recently informed its customers of an upcoming policy change regarding cryptocurrency transactions. In an email announcement, Chase provided advance notice that it will soon prohibit payments associated with cryptocurrencies, including purchases and transfers.

The email clearly outlined the scope of the ban, which will apply to both debit card cryptocurrency transactions as well as outgoing bank transfers related to cryptocurrencies. By sharing details ahead of time, Chase gave customers time to understand the changes and consider alternatives for continuing to invest in cryptocurrencies after the ban goes into effect.

Customer Responses

The recent decision by Chase U.K. to ban cryptocurrency purchases has elicited strong reactions from customers.

One customer commented on Chase's recent post saying, "You've sent me an email telling me what I can do with my own money? Surely it's my money and my choice if I buy crypto!"

A Chase customer giving the business to the bank. Source: X

The reaction from many Chase customers has been quite negative, as they feel this ban infringes on their financial autonomy and is unfair given the bank's own crypto involvement.

Issues with Crypto Access in the U.K.

The decision by Chase U.K. to not allow its customers to move funds to crypto exchanges occurs against a history of difficulties for crypto enthusiasts in the United Kingdom.

Traditionally, U.K. banks have blocked or restricted customer access to cryptocurrencies, generating frustration within the crypto community. In response, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has actively encouraged discussions between banks and crypto companies, prompted by the unwillingness of many banks to provide services to the crypto industry. Through facilitating these talks, the FCA aims to improve crypto access for U.K. consumers.

If other banks around the world follow Chase UK's lead and ban crypto transactions, it could severely limit the ability of average consumers to enter the crypto markets. This could negatively impact overall crypto adoption and trading volumes.

However, other banks may decide to take the opposite approach and allow crypto card purchases in an effort to gain a competitive edge over the competition in the UK.

While the crypto industry aims to make transactions easier across borders, new barriers erected by banks could undermine this goal. The coming months will determine whether the Chase UK's ban is just the beginning of a broader clampdown on crypto or if more progressive policies gain traction globally.

Rationale Behind Chase's Decision

Chase U.K. pointed to fraud as its primary concern. It cited an alarming trend wherein fraudsters are increasingly exploiting cryptocurrencies to steal substantial sums of money from unsuspecting individuals.

The recent cyberattacks and scams targeting cryptocurrency platforms like Mixin Network and Upbit are likely causing concern for major financial institutions like Chase UK. As a prominent bank, Chase must consider how such incidents could impact consumer trust and lead to potential litigation.

With cumulative crypto-related losses exceeding $920 million in 2023 alone, Chase UK is likely reviewing internal security protocols and assessing vulnerabilities.

The bank may take a cautious approach regarding crypto, implementing more rigorous identity verification and investigating suspicious transactions to avoid exposure. Chase wants to protect its reputation and prevent the need for costly legal defenses down the line.

Regulatory Framework in the U.K.

The United Kingdom has taken steps to regulate the cryptocurrency industry in order to protect consumers. The main regulatory body overseeing cryptocurrencies is the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The FCA requires crypto asset businesses like exchanges to register with them and follow anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations. In 2021, the FCA banned the sale of crypto derivatives to retail investors due to high risks.

While cryptocurrencies themselves are currently unregulated in the UK, the FCA advises consumers that investing in crypto assets is high-risk and unprotected. The Treasury has consulted on bringing certain stablecoins under regulation and giving the Bank of England oversight powers.

Ongoing Discussions Surrounding Crypto Policy

Chase U.K.'s recent decision to prohibit cryptocurrency payments reflects broader global attempts to reduce crypto-related fraud. However, it is uncertain if other major banks will follow suit with similar bans. This policy could make cross-border crypto transactions more difficult for Chase clients, creating complications that regulators may need to address.

Caution is understandable given past crypto scams like PlusToken, which defrauded millions. Although the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority is moving to oversee crypto markets, Chase customers impacted by this ban may turn to more crypto-friendly options like Revolut.

Experts emphasize the need for judicious crypto security and education to protect consumers, predicting that increased oversight could reshape the industry.