British bank Natwest implements new limits on cryptocurrency payments to combat crypto scams

The U.K.-based bank Natwest Group has announced new limits on cryptocurrency payments, citing crypto scams that cost U.K. consumers £329 million annually.

By Staff

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Amid the banking sector rout in the United States following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and its subsidiary, Silicon Valley Bank U.K. Ltd., the Edinburgh-based financial institution Natwest is limiting cryptocurrency payments. 

Natwest, however, cites cryptocurrency scams in the United Kingdom that cost consumers £329 million ($399 million) annually as the reason for the limit. The bank’s notice also indicates that men over the age of 35 are most at risk of such scams.

According to Natwest’s press release cryptocurrency investments are often made through legitimate exchange platforms. The British banks also stated that these websites let customers buy, sell or exchange cryptocurrencies for other digital currency or traditional currency. 

The British bank also emphasizes that, in addition to men over the age of 35, criminals are using the cost-of-living crisis to entice investors with the promise of high returns.

Stuart Skinner, Head of Natwest’s Fraud Protection Unit commented saying, “You should always have sole control of your cryptocurrency wallet and nobody else should have access. If you didn’t set the wallet up yourself or can’t access the money then this is likely to be a scam. We have seen an increase in the number of scams using cryptocurrency exchanges and we are acting to protect our customers.”

This is not the first time Natwest has limited transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges. The bank set a temporary limit in June 2021, and the following month, it specifically blocked payments to Binance, citing the heightened risk of cryptocurrency scams. 

Natwest has often categorized cryptocurrency assets as high-risk in the past. In April 2021, just before the first limit was imposed, a Natwest Risk Manager said: “We have no appetite for dealing with customers who transact with cryptocurrencies.”

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