JPMorgan-owned U.K. retail bank Chase, does not trust its customers with their own money. In fact, the bank claims that it is so worried about account holders being duped into losing their money to a scam, that from October 16th it will be declining any transaction it suspects of being related to crypto assets.
According to an email sent to customers this week, “fraudsters are increasingly using crypto assets to steal large sums of money from people,” so, “declining these payments is one of the ways we are helping to keep you and your money safe.”
For any customers still wishing to invest in crypto assets despite the impending block on payments, Chase suggests using a different bank or provider instead, but warns:
“Please be cautious, as you may not be able to get the money back if the payment ends up being related to a fraud or scam.”
Basically saying that customers can no longer be trusted to make their own informed decisions on what to do with their money, so the bank will impose its own arbitrary rules regarding this and claim it is all in the name of ‘protecting’ the customer.
Which rather begs the question of which other things Chase may at some point decide that its customers need to be ‘protected’ from. There are certainly plenty of other payments that potentially put a customer and their money at risk.
Of course, many in the crypto community would question the wisdom of trusting a bank with their money in the first instance. And surely, pretty much everybody will wholeheartedly agree with Chase’s suggestion: that if their bank doesn’t let customers use their money in whatever way they wish then they should use a different bank or provider instead.
Chase is hardly the first bank to impose restrictions on crypto purchases, either in the U.K. or elsewhere. But it is important to realise that, despite the bank’s protestations, these measures are rarely (if ever) imposed to protect the customer.
Neither Chase nor any other bank really cares much if a regular customer loses their money to a scam. But they do care when those scam victims try to make a claim against the bank to reimburse their money.
The main argument in these cases tends to be that the bank should have ‘protected’ them against such scams. So for those poor souls who require the banks to act as a proxy parent rather than simply a guardian of funds, such limitations are introduced to protect the banks from liability.
For everybody else, such rules are both overkill and overstepping a line in the role of a bank, which should not have any right to dictate what customer can spend their money on.
We don’t imagine that the average customer would put up with such limitations on any other form of payments, but crypto denizens have long accepted that most banks hate them and have already found ways to work around this.