Commercial banks all over the world have been doing their best to dissuade clients from participating in the cryptocurrency industry. Some banks have even blocked transfers to crypto exchanges. However, a Portuguese consumer association recently criticized a local bank for doing the same.
The fourth biggest bank in Portugal, Banco Santander Totta S.A., has recently come under fire for trying to prevent bank transfer to cryptocurrency exchange platforms. The bank received ample criticism from one of the country’s Association for Consumer Protection, DECO. Several clients of the bank have complained of the bank’s practices when it came to transferring money to exchange platforms. This practice has since then been confirmed by DECO. The association continued to criticize the bank for indulging in this method despite the fact that they had no legal grounds for their conduct.
DECO was established in 1974 and serves as an independent non-profit organization which also dabbles in charitable endeavors. The association is boasted to be the largest of its kind in Portugal and is widely considered a public utility among the Portuguese. The association’s reputation is likely to serve as a driving force in convincing Santander Totta to reconsider their current policy.
A DECO associate discovered the bank’s practice after attempting to transfer funds from their Santander Totta account to an Estonian account for Coinbase. After this transfer was rejected, the associate made inquiries as to why the transfer was blocked. The bank was reluctant to provide an answer at first, but eventually relented and stated that the transfer was prevented as it was used for cryptocurrency which is still an unregulated industry.
However, DECO has since confirmed that this decision has no legal grounds in either Portugal or the European Union.
According to the country’s central bank, Banco de Portugal, there is currently no legislative or regulatory framework for cryptocurrency or its exchanges. The central bank confirmed that there are now no laws or policies whatsoever which give banks cause to block cryptocurrency-related transfer or supervise activity relating to the industry.
Another prominent Portuguese bank, Novo Banco, confirmed to DECO that they currently do not impose any restrictions on those users who wish to participate in cryptocurrency platforms.