FCA lifts ban on Wirecard's UK operation
The Financial Conduct Authority has lifted its ban on trading by Wirecard's UK business, restoring access to cash and payments for millions of users of apps that relied on its services.
The regulator allowed Newcastle-based Wirecard Card Solutions to restart payments from midnight on Monday.. The business is still restricted on where it can keep customers' money and transferring of its own assets , the FCA said.
On Friday the FCA ordered Wirecard's UK arm to stop activities "to protect customer money" after the scandal-hit German payments company filed for insolvency. The move left customers of apps such as Curve and Pockit, which used Wirecard's technology, unable to access funds.
"We know that some customers have faced difficulties over the weekend but the steps we took were the right ones to protect everyone's money," the FCA said. "We continue to monitor Wirecard’s activities closely and certain requirements continue to remain in force. These should not, however, affect the services Wirecard provides to its customers. This means customers can now or very shortly use their cards as necessary."
The FCA's freeze left some vulnerable people, including holders of accounts at Morses Club, unable to receive state benefits. The regulator said it had worked with the Department of Work and Pensions to arrange help for those affected and that cards should work as usual now or soon.
Wirecard filed for insolvency after its auditor found no trace of €1.9bn (£1.7bn) that was meant to be held in accounts at Asian banks. Funds held by Wirecard are not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme but the FCA said safeguarding arrangements were in place to protect customers money and were a condition of its decision to let the UK business resume activity.