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Chase UK to bar customers from making crypto transactions

Published:Wednesday | September 27, 2023 | 12:06 AM
The JPMorgan Chase & Company logo is displayed at their headquarters in New York.
The JPMorgan Chase & Company logo is displayed at their headquarters in New York.

Chase UK, JP Morgan’s British digital bank, says it will bar customers from making cryptocurrency transactions starting next month, citing an uptick in scams and fraud.

From October 16 onwards, Chase customers will no longer be able to make crypto transactions using their debit card or through an outgoing bank transfer, the bank said Tuesday.

“If we think you’re making a payment related to crypto assets, we’ll decline it,” Chase said in an email to customers. “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 fraud or a scam.”

In an email to The Associated Press, Chase said that Tuesday’s decision was made to help keep customers and their money safe. The bank also pointed to increases in crypto fraud-related losses reported by United Kingdom regulators in the last year.

According to London-based law firm RPC, data from Britain’s fraud reporting agency Action Fraud shows that the value of crypto fraud in the UK increased by 41 per cent last year – reaching a record high of £306 million (US$372.3 million). The November collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTC notably caused a sharp increase in fraud reports, RPC noted when sharing the findings in May, with numbers easing some at the start of 2023.

The Associated Press reached out to Action Fraud for statement Tuesday following Chase’s decision to stop customers from making crypto transactions.

JPMorgan Chase launched its UK-based digital bank under the Chase name back in September 2021. As of May of this year, Chase had more than 1.6 million customers in the UK.

Chase UK isn’t the only bank that has changed its crypto policies over fraud concerns in recent years. In March, for example, British bank NatWest implemented new daily and monthly limits on cryptocurrency exchanges – of £1,000 and £5,000 (about $1,217 and $6,087), respectively – while similarly citing the need to protect consumers from scams.