PIF was extremely disappointed to hear on Friday, 26 June that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had placed requirements on Wirecard Card Solutions Ltd.
Wirecard Card Solutions which is ultimately owned by Wirecard AG, but operates as a separate entity, issues electronic money (prepaid) products to customers, commonly through and under the brand of over 60 of its third-party partners, such as Anna Money, B4B Payments, McLEAR, and Pockit.
Whilst the Wirecard companies are separate businesses and operate under separate financial service permissions, the FCA has taken the steps to impose restrictions on the UK business which amongst others, means that customers cannot use or access their funds held by Wirecard Card Solutions.
PIF is a not-for-profit industry body representing providers of regulated e-money and payment services. A number of our members who are providers of prepaid cards and accounts to customers are directly affected by the FCA’s action. They are in touch with their customers and, like their customers, are anxious that FCA restrictions are lifted so that they can continue to provide their service to customers.
Impact on highly vulnerable consumer groups:
PIF is fully supportive of the FCA’s need to confirm that customers’ money is safe. However, we are extremely concerned about the impact the FCA’s action is currently having on highly vulnerable people who rely on prepaid products, including many serviced by the charity sector such as The Salvation Army and those that prepaid cards issued by program managers serviced by Wirecard Card Solutions may hold their only source of income and means of payment.
The FCA’s notice on its website sets out the restrictions it has placed over Wirecard Card Solutions and the reasons for taking such steps. Its primary objective is to protect the interests and money of consumers who use Wirecard Card Solutions. However, it does not fully address the many individuals who are in a vulnerable position and who currently cannot access their funds from their prepaid cards. There is a comment regarding those receiving benefit payments, but this fails to address, for example, the many temporary workers receiving payroll and other charity payments to the most vulnerable recipients.
This is an extremely frustrating time for customers who are trying to access their money and are affected by this. Unfortunately, there is nothing that their card/account providers can do until such time the FCA permits Wirecard to provide such access. We urge all participants to resolve the situation as soon as possible to ensure that funds can flow freely to those most in need.
We ask that affected customers keep watch for communications from their card/account provider for any developments in this situation.
For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org