Payments giant Visa is on a bit of a run itself, as news is coming out that it has started to terminate card issuer memberships, causing cryptocurrency debit card providers to suspend their services.
In Europe, at least.
Multiple companies are said to be have been affected by this drive, where the leading provider of payment services has instructed card issuers in the Old Continent to cease their services that they provide to card holders.
End of the line?
This surprising move comes at a time when interest in cryptocurrencies is the highest it has ever been. According to a statement from Bitcoin payments processor BitPay, its European card issuer Wave Crest Holdings has been told by Visa to close its account.
From the announcement:
“Yesterday our European BitPay Card issuer Wave Crest Holdings, Ltd. received direction from Visa® to immediately close all accounts of its prepaid Visa® debit card programs. The BitPay Card (non-US) is one of these programs, along with other cryptocurrency-related and standard prepaid Visa® debit cards. Unfortunately, Wave Crest was unable to provide us or cardholders with more time to prepare for this change.”
The company will refund remaining balances, as well as card order fees for anyone who purchased a card after December 1, 2017.
The former is a London based company, and it is now negotiating with another card issuer. While the latter is based in Berlin, and is said to be holding an emergency meeting with its team to discuss the issue.
Likewise, BitPay is also in discussion with potential alternative issuers.
The most notable factor here is that the shutdowns are limited to European customers, with BitPay itself stating that US customers will not experience any disruptions to the service, or issuance of new cryptocurrency enabled cards.
Card issuers in other regions and countries can continue to issue cryptocurrency based cards, Visa has confirmed.
According to Visa Europe, Wave Crest lost its membership with the payments company due to noncompliance with its operating rules. As a result, all Visa cards issued by the company were closed, even if the decision itself came hard and swift.
From the looks of its, there is nothing to fear for users in other countries.
It was less than a year ago that BitPay announced that it was expanding to 131 countries, allowing card customers to fill their balances with cryptocurrencies, and spend them in US dollars, British pounds, or euros.