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According to a recent report by The Telegraph, three UK banks, Barclays, Monzo and Starling, have suspended payments to cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance and SwissBorg. Banks cite crypto-related financial crime concerns as the main driver behind this move.

Among the banks, the online bank Starling, backed by Goldman Sachs, has put the biggest restrictions in place by suspending all payments to crypto exchanges. Starling mentioned that it recently “identified high levels of suspected financial crime with such a payment”.

A Starling spokesman told The Telegraph that these restrictions are temporary and aimed at protecting customers. “This is not just a problem for Starling, but for all banks. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused to some customers. We will reverse this measure if we introduce additional checks specifically for payments to crypto exchanges, ”he added.

Starling has an unhurried policy towards cryptocurrencies. The bank’s CEO Anne Boden told Sifted earlier this month that they don’t see much demand for crypto. “Some fintechs are rushing into crypto. This is not the starling way. Our approach is to find out what customers want and need, ”he said.

Barclays, a UK-based banking giant, claims its clients are not blocked from crypto exchanges. However, customers say otherwise. One of the bank’s customers told Twitter that he was banned from his account after trying to send a large amount to Binance. “It took two 90-minute phone calls to complete the broadcast,” they said.

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I had the same problem with my UK bank @Barclays. As soon as I made a large transfer to Binance, I was banned from my online banking and the transfer was canceled. It took two 90 minute phone calls to complete the broadcast.

– cryptophil (@cryptophilbkk) May 22, 2021

Last week, another UK banking giant, NatWest, briefed its customers on crypto-related fraud. The bank said it had received numerous complaints about fraud in the crypto industry. However, it is still uncertain whether the bank plans to mark cryptocurrency exchanges as suspicious.

Hard On Crypto

The UK has used the “crypto & crime” cliché to attack the viability of cryptocurrencies and streamline its tightened regulations. The country’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had previously warned crypto traders that they should be ready to lose all of their money. The FCA also urged all UK-based crypto exchanges to register under money laundering regulations.

Just recently, the UK’s advertising watchdog – Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – put increased advertising restrictions and blocked advertisements for Bitcoin advertisements from popular crypto exchange company Luno. It wasn’t the first time ASA tried to regulate crypto ads. Back in 2020, the regulator introduced a series of guidelines for crypto-promoting ads, which must clearly state that the space is speculative and carries the risk of losing money.