Financial watchdog lifts restrictions on payments

Christel Deskins

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 […]

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.

“We have been working closely with Wirecard UK and other authorities over the last few days to ensure that the firm was able to meet certain conditions required to lift the restrictions we imposed on it,” the FCA said in a statement.

“We are now in a position to allow Wirecard to resume operational activity.”

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.

‘I’m left with nothing’

Dawn Guilfoyle is one of thousands who were barred from using their cash cards because of the failure of huge German payments firm Wirecard.

“It’s really bad. I’m left with nothing,” she says. “Once the gas goes off, I’ll have none for cooking or hot water.”

Ms Guilfoyle’s card, from the online firm Pockit, was frozen because the FCA wanted to make sure the money is safe.

Read more about her story here.

The FCA said any customers who are still experiencing difficulties in using their card should contact their card provider directly.

The action came after the German parent firm Wirecard last week disclosed a €1.9bn (£1.7bn) hole in its accounts, and subsequently filed for insolvency.

Former boss Markus Braun has been arrested and accused of inflating Wirecard’s finances to make them appear healthier to investors and customers.

On Monday, the FCA said: “There continue to be certain requirements in place, which have been imposed on Wirecard’s authorisation.

“These requirements include restrictions over where it can hold customer monies and restrictions over its ability to transfer its own assets.”

“The FCA continues to work with the firm to progress these matters,” it added.

Wirecard did not immediately respond to the BBC’s request for comment.

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