Debit cards offered through the Wirex crypto payment service could no longer work in the European Economic Area (EEA), according to an email the company sent to some of its customers on June 23. The threat of stoppage is due to the fact that the central bank of Lithuania revoked the license of UAB PayrNet, a provider of Wirex cards.
This news comes after Wirex competitor, Cryptopay will also announce that their cards could stop working in the region due to the same problem.
Wirex is a cryptocurrency payments app that offers deposit and withdrawal ramps for fiat as well as debit cards. It claimed in 2020 to have more than 3 million users across Europe and Asia.
The email sent to customers claimed that “our current card partner has experienced issues and this is causing a disruption in debit card service for EEA customers.” This interruption “has no impact on your ability to access your funds through any other Wirex means, such as our IBAN service, or through the transfer and purchase of cryptocurrency in the Wirex app.” Customers do not need to take any action as a result of this information, as the funds remain in the app and are not affected by the card services issue.
Wirex stated that the cause of the problem was UAB PayrNet, not any problem within the Wirex system.
On June 22, the Bank of Lithuania announced that revoked the UAB PayrNet electronic money institution (EMI) license “for serious, systematic and multiple violations of legal acts”. Among other accusations, the central bank claimed that PayrNet was failing to properly administer anti-money laundering (AML) provisions to prevent its services from being used for illicit financing.
In its announcement, the Bank of Lithuania claimed that customer funds are safe, saying they are “safeguarded in separate dedicated accounts.”
Cointelegraph has attempted to contact UAB Payrnet via email, but has not received a response at press time. Payrnet’s director, Stephenas Couttie, would have affirmed that the central bank’s actions “are not appropriate for the violations committed,” according to a Google translation of a text from the local news site Verslo Žinios. This seems to imply that the director considers that PayrNet is suffering an excessive punishment, disproportionate to the violations committed.
In its email to clients, Wirex said that is switching to Transact Payments Malta Limited to manage its debit card services. This plan was already in the works, but is being accelerated due to current issues. You are “hard at work” with both PayrNet and Transact to get your debit card system back up and running as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, customers in the EEA region may not be able to use their cards.
Wirex has been expanding its service offering in the last two years. In August 2022, it partnered with 1Inch to offer its clients wallet-based token exchanges. In February 2022, it was integrated with the Avalanche (AVAX) network, allowing users to deposit AVAX tokens and spend them via debit card.
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