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While Regulatory Scrutiny Grows Visa And Mastercard Continue To Support Binance

Despite increased regulatory scrutiny on Binance, which has forced several banks and smaller payment providers to withdraw relations, Visa and Mastercard have kept crucial gateways between the cryptocurrency exchange and the financial system open.

Barclays and Santander, two of the country’s largest banks, have recently barred its clients from sending money to Binance using their credit or debit cards, citing a consumer advisory issued by the Financial Conduct Authority last month.

Other payment partners have also pulled out, making it more difficult for consumers to send and receive money through the Cayman Islands-based exchange.

But, Binance’s continued access to two of the world’s largest credit card systems — generally via intermediary payments businesses — means it can still provide its users with a simple option to transfer traditional currencies to the exchange, highlighting its vast and resilient network.

Visa told the Financial Times that it was “aware of the latest FCA announcement regarding Binance” and that it was “discussing developments with Binance.”

“We continue to monitor this situation, including how the exchanges meet their regulatory obligations,” Mastercard added.

Neither firm is prohibiting customers from using credit cards on Binance.com, the primary Binance exchange, including those in the United Kingdom.

Binance also provides its customers with a Visa-branded debit card that allows them to use monies from their crypto wallets at common merchants by converting digital assets into traditional currency.

According to the group’s website, the Binance card is available in numerous European nations, including Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

It’s issued by Contis, a company that works with Visa to deliver payments services within the European Union, thanks to a so-called e-money license from Lithuania’s central bank.

Contis has remained tight-lipped about its partnership with Binance.

Binance insists on taking its “legal commitments extremely seriously.”

When various regulators around the world slammed the corporation, the exchange’s ties to traditional finance have gotten a lot of attention.

Binance has been denied permission to operate a cryptoasset business in the United Kingdom, while other governments have cautioned that the company is not regulated by their financial watchdogs.

Thailand has filed a criminal complaint against Binance, alleging that it is operating without a license in the Southeast Asian country.

Binance has traditionally accessed traditional currency channels via payment partners like Checkout.com and Clear Junction, which have direct or indirect connections to major payment networks.

As the group has received criticism over its measures to prevent potential money laundering, terrorism financing, and frauds on its platform, some of those links have begun to crumble.

Binance’s European payments partner, Clear Junction, announced on Monday that it would “no longer be facilitating payments” for the startup.

Binance was given access to Sepa, a European payments network that permits euro transactions across three dozen nations, and Faster Payments, a UK equivalent that facilitates pound transfers between high street banks, by the group.

According to the group’s website, the Visa-branded Binance card is accessible in numerous European countries, including Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Clear Junction’s decision to stop supplying Binance payments services was spurred by the FCA’s consumer warning, according to Dima Kats, the London-based group’s chief executive.

According to a source familiar with the situation, BCB Group, a UK-based payments company focused on the crypto market, discontinued its connection with Binance earlier this year.

Binance has been silent on the subject.

Customers could not withdraw or deposit euros or sterling through Faster Payments or Sepa as of Wednesday.

“We’re working as soon as we can to make payment services available to our users,” Binance added.

Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, admitted last week in an open letter that the business “has developed very quickly and we haven’t always gotten everything quite right.”

He promised, however, to remedy the situation by tripling the number of compliance workers by the end of the year and implementing new technologies and controls.

He said the company has “passed many external anti-money laundering audits” already.

Adam Samson can be reached at [email protected] or @adamsamsonFT on Telegram.

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