Payments giant Visa has terminated a card issuer’s membership, creating a ripple effect that caused cryptocurrency debit card providers to halt their services.
Bitcoin payments processor BitPay announced through a statement that its European card issuer, WaveCrest Holdings, Ltd., had been ordered by Visa to close its accounts.
The company will reimburse any remaining balances, as well as card order fees for anyone who purchased a card after December 1, 2017.
In a statement, BitPay said:
“Yesterday our European BitPay Card issuer WaveCrest 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, WaveCrest was unable to provide us or cardholders with more time to prepare for this change.”
In similar developments, payment providers Cryptopay and Bitwala announced they would be stopping their services and return remaining funds.
Bitwala, which is based in Berlin, Germany, relayed through Twitter that its team was meeting to discuss the urgent matter.
However, Cryptopay, said that it had already begun negotiations with another card issuer.
In its statement, BitPay also said that it was “already in discussions with potential alternative issuers.”
Notably, the shutdowns is restricted only to European consumers. BitPay specified that clients in the United States would not experience any service interruptions.
Visa Europe Explains Side
Visa Europe spokesperson explained that WaveCrest had lost its membership with them “due to non-compliance with [its] operating rules.”
As a result, all Visa cards issued by the company were closed.
Other Visa card issuers can keep issuing cryptocurrency-based cards.
Nearly a year ago, BitPay announced it was expanding its business to 131 countries.
Its cards allow users to replenish their balances with cryptocurrencies, but spend in euros, British pounds, or U.S. dollars.
WaveCrest CEO Brent Almeida said:
“We have already notified our partners and cardholders of Visa’s requirement to close these accounts and our first priority is to ensure the safe and timely return of all funds.
“We deeply regret the inconvenience that this has caused to all of our customers affected by this decision.
“WaveCrest’s business outside of its Visa membership remains unaffected and we continue to invest in delivering world-class B2B payment solutions to partners around the world.”
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