The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has lifted its restrictions on Wirecard’s operations within the UK, allowing customers to access their money once again.
Wirecard had to lock customers out of their accounts from Friday last week as the FCA banned Wirecard Card Services from continuing their activities amid its parent firm’s £1.7bn accounting fraud case.
The watchdog has since eased the restrictions, permitting the company to carry out payment and e-money services.
A statement from the FCA said: “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.
“We are now in a position to allow Wirecard to resume operational activity. This means customers will now, or very shortly, be able to use their cards as usual.”
Wirecard is still prevented from moving its own assets, and is restricted on where customer cash can be held.
The FCA explained that the restrictions were put in place in order to protect customer cash subsequent to Wirecard’s German parent firm filing for insolvency last week amid its accounting scandal.
However, the measure left many UK customers with financial difficulties over the weekend as they could not access their funds.
The FCA accepted that some customers ‘face difficulties’ as a result of their decision, but argued that they were working with the Home Office, Department for Work and Pensions, and Treasury in order to aid those in financial trouble.
Jes Stanley, chief executive of Barclays, said that the industry would now be under additional scrutiny as a result of the scandal involving Wirecard, and this was likely to move customers to transfer their funds to bank accounts with tighter regulations.
Speaking to Bloomberg TV, Stanley said: “This is going to pose a real challenge to some parts of the financial technology industry.
“The banks are highly regulated and they’re safe, and I think there are some things like e-wallets which will probably get new attention. We’re seeing our deposits grow because as people get worried they go back to the safe hands of the bank.”
Wirecard Card Solutions said they are working closely with the FCA to lift the remaining restrictions.
“There may be a delay before all card programmes are fully operational, so some customers could find themselves unable to transact immediately but we anticipate this lasting no longer than 24 hours,” said the company. “We apologise for the inconvenience to our valued customers that the temporary suspension caused.”
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