Wirecard UK unlocks customers’ cash as ban lifted
The UK’s financial watchdog has lifted restrictions on German payments company Wirecard, allowing it to resume payment activities.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) imposed restrictions on the company’s UK arm after its collapse last week. Thousands of people could not access their money or make payments through apps as a result.
“Our primary objective all along has been to protect the interests and money of consumers,” the FCA said.
Customers should now, or very shortly, be able to use their cards as usual.
Christopher Woolard, the FCA’s interim chief executive, told the BBC’s Today programme the FCA had “imposed very strict conditions” on Wirecard’s UK subsidiary based in Newcastle, which had knock-on effects for about 70 payments firms.
“When we did that we were acutely conscious that there are some really vulnerable people who rely on those services for example to get benefits payments paid to them,” he said.
Mr Woolard said the FCA had spent the last few days making sure money belonging to people in the UK was now safeguarded in UK bank accounts with strict conditions.
“What that means is, if you’ve got either a card direct from Wirecard or from one of these 70-odd firms that relies upon them, those cards should start working today,” he said.
On Tuesday morning, Wirecard issued a statement saying some customers may find themselves unable to make transactions immediately, but the company anticipated the delay would last no longer than 24 hours.
Several British technology companies were forced to suspend services due to the FCA restrictions, leaving thousands of accounts blocked.
Online firm Pockit’s payment cards, for example, were locked because they used a payment processing service owned by Wirecard.