Wednesday, February 07, 2018

British Banks are Banning Cryptocurrency Purchases

It's happened in the US and now it's happening in the UK. Lloyds Banking Group, which runs Halifax, Bank of Scotland, MBNA and, of course, Lloyds, has banned its customers from buying bitcoin with their credit cards. "We do not accept credit card transactions involving the purchase of cryptocurrencies," a Lloyds Banking Group spokesperson told the Guardian. It's thought to be the first UK bank — or rather, banking chain — to block its members from investing in the cryptocurrency. The worry, presumably, is that people will borrow cash and then be saddled with large amounts of debt they cannot pay back due to Bitcoin's fluctuating value.

Bitcoin had a stellar trajectory in 2017, rising from roughly $800 in January to $19,783 in late December. As the value grew, so did the attention of traditional investors and tech-savvy citizens who wanted to make a quick buck. The following month, however, Bitcoin's value cratered. The reasons are unclear, but it was a harsh reminder of the volatility of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin now sits at just under $8,000 and understandably, banks are worried about its customers getting caught up in the craze. We've asked HSBC, Barclays, Santander and First Direct for their current position on credit card-funded Bitcoin transactions.

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