Starling Bank introduces crypto transaction ban

By Oliver Smith on Wednesday 23 November 2022

Digital Banking

Neobank takes a hard line with additional crypto restrictions.

Starling Bank introduces crypto transaction ban
Image source: Anne Boden/Starling Bank.

Digital bank Starling has decided to block all incoming and outgoing transactions to crypto exchanges and other crypto platforms, firming up its stance against these high-risk unregulated investments.

In a text sent to customers who’ve made these kinds of transactions in the past, Starling Bank wrote: “We’ve taken the decision to prevent all card payments to crypto merchants and to implement further restrictions on outgoing and incoming transfers.”

The move comes amidst increasing scrutiny around crypto, following the bankruptcy of FTX with its billions of customer funds unaccounted for, and ongoing liquidity crises across the sector.

“We recently tightened restrictions on inbound and outbound transactions by card and bank transfer. Today’s message was to make sure that customers who have made such transactions in the past, but not recently, are aware of this,” a Starling spokesperson said.

“The innovative technology, and thinking, behind cryptocurrencies has 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 move means that Starling customers can no longer use their accounts to withdraw or deposit cash into or out of crypto exchanges.

High street banks are gradually cracking down on the movement of money into crypto exchanges, with Santander earlier this month introducing a £1,000 limit on single transactions and a £3,000 limit on transactions each month.

Lloyds, Barclays and RBS have all introduced measures to restrict crypto investments, including blocking credit card transactions and blocking bank transfers with crypto exchanges.

That’s in stark contrast to other neobanking apps like Revolut, which offers crypto trading and even premium crypto-branded cards, and Monzo, which has no restrictions on crypto exchanges.

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