Thousands locked out of accounts as UK watchdog keeps Wirecard curbs
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday that Wirecard was addressing its concerns but restrictions on the collapsed German payments company’s services would remain in place for now.
Several British fintech firms have been forced to suspend services following the FCA’s restrictions on Wirecard, leaving hundreds of thousands of accounts blocked.
“We cannot lift the restrictions without reassuring ourselves that the firm has been able to satisfy all our concerns, for example that all clients’ money is safe. We hope to be able to issue an update soon,” the FCA said in a statement.
Wirecard said on Saturday it would proceed with business activities after filing for insolvency and an administrator was appointed on Monday.
The FCA said its teams have been working with Wirecard and other international and UK authorities over the weekend.
A spokeswoman for Wirecard UK said it was working with the FCA to lift the suspension as quickly as possible.
Firms providing finance to poorer and vulnerable Britons who have difficulty accessing mainstream banking are among those hit, including Pockit and U Account, part of subprime lender Morses Club.
The government said anyone worried about not being able to receive welfare payments should contact its helplines.
Wirecard’s woes have forced some firms to accelerate existing projects to switch to other services, including card provider Curve which said on Monday its services were back online.
But industry forum Emerging Payments Association (EPA) warned it could take months for others to do the same and urged the FCA to lift its Wirecard freeze as soon as possible.
“We predict dozens of corporate failures, hundreds of job losses and significant reductions in tax payments, unless it is removed right away,” EPA said in a letter to the FCA.
Martin Lewis, founder of consumer website moneysavingexpert.com, said there was a reasonable expectation that consumers affected would get access to their money again by Wednesday or Thursday.
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