Banks in Britain and U.S. ban Bitcoin buying with credit cards

UNTV News   •   February 6, 2018   •   4018

FILE PHOTO: A Bitcoin (virtual currency) coin is seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, June 23, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Illustration

LONDON (Reuters) – Banks in Britain and the United States have banned the use of credit cards to buy Bitcoin and other “cryptocurrencies”, fearing a plunge in their value will leave customers unable to repay their debts.

Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY.L), which issues just over a quarter of all credit cards in Britain, and Virgin Money (VM.L) said they would ban credit card customers from buying cryptocurrencies, following the lead of U.S. banking giants JP Morgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Citigroup (C.N).

The move is aimed at protecting customers from running up huge debts from buying virtual currencies on credit, if their values were to plummet, a Lloyds spokeswoman said.

Concerns have arisen among credit card providers because their customers have increasingly been using credit cards to fund accounts on online exchanges, which are then used to purchase the digital currencies.

However, other banks said on Monday they will continue to allow credit card customers to buy cryptocurrencies.

“We constantly review our protections for customers as a responsible bank and lender, and are keeping this matter under close review,” a spokeswoman for Barclays said.

Barclays is Britain’s leading credit card issuer with a market share of around 27 percent through its Barclaycard brand.

“At present UK customers can use both their Barclays debit card and Barclaycard credit card to purchase cryptocurrency legitimately,” the Barclays spokeswoman said.

Spain’s second-biggest bank BBVA (BBVA.MC) also said it has no restrictions in place on such purchases.

Last week Mastercard Inc (MA.N), the world’s second biggest payments network, said customers buying cryptocurrencies with credit cards fueled a 1 percentage point increase in overseas transaction volumes in the fourth quarter.

At that time Bitcoin was staging a spectacular rise in value, reaching a peak of $19,187 on Dec. 16 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.

But the biggest and best-known cryptocurrency has since fallen dramatically and on Monday was down by 11 percent to $7255 at 1719 GMT on Bitstamp, extending losses from Friday amid worries of a global regulatory clampdown.

CREDIT RISK

The decision on whether to allow credit card users to buy cryptocurrencies is a credit risk decision made by the card-issuing banks, a spokesman for Mastercard said.

A spokeswoman for Chase bank said it is not currently processing credit card purchases of cryptocurrencies because of the volatility and risk involved, while a Citi spokeswoman confirmed a similar ban, but did not give a reason.

The bans extends only to credit card purchases, with debit card users still able to buy cryptocurrencies.

“Across Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA, we do not accept credit card transactions involving the purchase of cryptocurrencies,” the Lloyds spokeswoman said in an email.

Lloyds did not say how it planned to enforce the ban, although the Telegraph newspaper reported on Sunday that its credit card customers will be blocked from buying Bitcoin online through a “blacklist” that will flag sellers.

A spokeswoman from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) declined to comment on the bank’s policy.

Europe’s biggest bank HSBC (HSBA.L) did not respond to requests for comment on whether it permits credit card purchases of cryptocurrencies.

Concerns about the use of Bitcoin and other such currencies extend beyond the use of credit cards for borrowing.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said Britain should take a serious look at digital currencies such as Bitcoin because of the way they can be used by criminals.

Additional reporting by Anjuli Davies in London and Jesus Aguado in Madrid; Editing by Peter Cooney and Alexander Smith

DOF warns public vs bogus cryptocurrency platform

Robie de Guzman   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) has warned the public against an article alleging that the Philippines is creating a platform for its citizens to invest in cryptocurrency.

In a statement, the DOF said the article claiming that the government has created a platform called “Bitcoin Lifestyle” is fake news.

“There is no such effort by the government,” Finance assistant secretary Antonio Joselito Lambino II said.

“We categorically deny that there is such a move, and warn the public against potentially harmful financial transactions with those behind the article,” he added.

The DOF said the fake news article also stated that President Duterte is “urging all citizens of the Philippines to learn about the platform to get involved.

The article also claimed that the “tax revenues will be huge and will benefit all citizens” and “will go to the financing of Philippines’ retirement and to counteract the crisis of learning support services.”

“This is false. We urge the public to exercise caution in their investments, and to keep their expectations of returns realistic,” Lambino said.

The Finance official also urged the public to report similarly suspicious investment schemes to the Enforcement and Investor Protection Department of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with telephone number 8818-5704.

“We warn unscrupulous individuals and groups attempting to lure the public into unauthorized and deceptive investment schemes that the government is monitoring the public space for such schemes, and will take appropriate legal and regulatory action,” he added.

Victim: My credit card was used to buy movie tickets

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 5, 2019

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Jayson Cabuslay had an outstanding balance of over P40,000.

“Isang lang naalala, ko isang beses ko siya ginamit nagpa-gas kami, nakalimutan ko iyong place basta diyan lang sa may San Juan. Iyon lang, isang beses ko lang siya ginamit sa gas station (One thing I can remember is, I used it to pay for gas. I forgot where but it is around San Juan. I only used it once to pay for gas),” he said.

He was still in Saudi Arabia at that time when he received a text message informing him that his card was being used.

Jayson was in shock upon knowing that most of the transactions are for paying movie tickets at Robinsons Movie World in Ugong Norte, Quezon City.

The bank also reported all the movie tickets were purchased in one day.

He also cannot understand how the One-Time-Password (OTP) —that only he can access — had been breached.

“Since OTP iyon, OTP message iyon kampante ako na hindi nila magagamit kasi nasa akin iyong code pero lahat ng OTP na iyon lahat ng online transaction na iyon may OTP nag-proceed. Hindi ko alam kung bakit, (Since it’s an OTP, I was confident that they wouldn’t be able to use the code because only I have the access to it. But all the OTPs and transactions went through. I don’t know why),” he said.

Another victim, Amalynn Hadap also had the similar experience. Her credit card was also used to purchase movie tickets in the same area in Valenzuela.

Jayson also found out that there was a Facebook post selling discounted Robinson’s movie tickets amounting to P150.

How to prevent credit card fraud?

According to the National Privacy Commission (NPC), syndicates for credit card fraud have accomplices at gasoline station and malls.

These syndicates will attempt to get credit card information including:

  • Card number
  • Name
  • Expiry Date
  • CCV number (three digits at the back of the credit card)

When doing transactions, the NPC advises the public to:

  • Monitor the cashier when your credit card is being swiped.
  • Use complicated passwords for your internet accounts.
  • Don’t dump your account details in your computer or on the internet to prevent hacking.
  • Only give your personal details to trusted websites with ‘https’ on the address bar. Website address with only ‘http’ are not reliable.
  • Be careful in clicking links from suspicious emails because they can take you to ‘phishing’ websites.

Jayson will file a credit report dispute letter to question the unauthorized transactions.—AAC (with reports from Mon Jocson)

EXCLUSIVE: G20 financial heads to urge crypto-asset monitoring to safeguard financial stability

UNTV News   •   March 15, 2018

Cryptocurrencies are seen on a website that tracks the value of initial coin offerings (ICO) in this illustration photo taken September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The world’s financial leaders will call on international standard-setting bodies on March 20 for stronger monitoring of crypto-assets and to assess the need for a multilateral response as such assets could at some point threaten financial stability.

The call appears in a draft communique prepared for the meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s 20 biggest economies in Buenos Aires on March 19-20, seen by Reuters.

The financial leaders will say the technological innovation behind crypto-currencies has the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system.

“Crypto currencies, however, raise issues with respect to consumer and investor protection, tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing. At some point they could have financial stability implications,” the draft communique adds.

“We agree that international standard setting bodies strengthen their monitoring of crypto-assets and their risks… and assess whether multilateral responses may be needed.”

Regulators globally have raised the alarm over cryptocurrencies, saying they may aid money laundering and terrorist financing, hurt consumers and undermine trust in the global financial system.

Japan was the first country to adopt a national system to oversee cryptocurrency trading. It carried out checks on several exchanges this year after the theft of $530 million from one exchange, Coincheck Inc, in January.

France and Germany have said they will make joint proposals to regulate the bitcoin cryptocurrency market.

The head of the European Union’s watchdog said a short-term strategy could be to focus on applying anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules, warning consumers of the risk of trading in cryptocurrencies and preventing banks from holding them.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said last week that many online trading platforms for cryptocurrencies should be registered with the regulator and subject to additional rules, in a further sign regulators are cracking down on the digital currency sector.

In a statement, the SEC said these “potentially unlawful” platforms may be giving investors an unearned sense of safety by labeling themselves as “exchanges.” The regulator said these platforms need to register with the SEC as a regulated national securities exchange or as an alternate trading system, or ATS.

Virtual currencies have existed for years but speculation in them has recently ballooned – along with scams promising investors returns of over 1,000 percent in weeks.

In a time of volatile markets, hackers are also active in the sector.

Bitcoin, the best known virtual currency, lost over half its value earlier this year after surging more than 1,300 percent last year.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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