By Ekin Genç
British digital bank Starling will now lift its restriction on deposits to cryptocurrency exchanges on June 23 after testing a new financial crime prevention system.
Launched in 2014, Starling is a “challenger” bank seeking to shake up traditional finance through online-only and low-cost banking services.
However, just three days ago, Starling suspended outbound transactions to crypto exchanges after “having observed high levels of illegal activity,” a spokesperson told Decrypt today. Withdrawals from exchanges into Starling accounts were not affected.
This suspension only applied to the “faster payments” option, which allows low-cost bank transfers at any time. Conversely, the spokesperson clarified that fiat deposits can still be made with Starling bank cards.
Starling Bank not alone in crypto woes
As reported by The Telegraph on May 29, some customers of Monzo also had difficulties depositing money into cryptocurrency exchanges. Still, Decrypt was able to deposit funds from Monzo into the cryptocurrency exchange Binance on May 30.
Monzo couldn’t be reached for comments by press time.
Barclays, a traditional UK bank, confirmed with Decrypt on May 30 that it had not blocked deposits to crypto exchanges, contrary to similar reports of user difficulties. The spokesperson added, “We have stringent anti-money laundering controls in place to monitor suspicious activity.”
Another UK bank, NatWest, continues to show an alert to customers upon mobile app log-in, warning them against crypto traders “promising big profits and offering to help.” The bank has advised customers to only trade with exchanges fully registered or temporarily registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
Ziglu, a cryptocurrency exchange founded last year by Starling co-founder Mark Hipperson, is one of the UK’s five fully registered crypto businesses.
Today’s announcement confirms Starling’s temporary restriction is not related to FCA registration concerns—at least not directly.