Wirecard provides the payment services backend for a large number of prepaid travel card firms and some fintech start-ups, including FairFX, Curve, Anna Money and Pockit.
The FCA is reacting to Wirecard’s German parent company filing for insolvency after an alleged €1.9 billion accounting fraud came to light. It’s taken the step today to order Wirecard’s UK arm to freeze all customer funds.
I’m a Pockit customer – how am I affected?
Pockit is a prepaid card which offers a ‘current account’ with many of the same features as a standard bank account, meaning some who can’t get or don’t want a traditional bank account use Pockit as their main account.
It’s had to suspend all customer accounts, which has left its customers without access to their money. It has been engaging with individual users on Twitter, telling them it’s working with the FCA on a solution as quickly as possible.
However, the FCA told us there was “no specific timeframe” for a solution.
I’m an Anna Money customer – how am I affected?
Anna Money provides business accounts and debit cards for small business.
Like Pockit, it’s had to suspend all customer accounts – and we’ve seen reports from concerned users left unable to access their money.
In a statement on its website, it says: “Your ANNA card details and the money in your ANNA account remain safe and secure – but unfortunately you cannot currently access them.”
I’m a Curve customer – how am I affected?
Curve is a debit card which allows users to connect multiple existing debit and credit cards to it. Normally, this allows users to spend from the right card without having to carry them all. It’s previously been one of our top picks for using abroad due to its low fees.
Curve has emailed all customers today to tell them that their cards have been temporarily suspended. It’s advised customers to carry a backup card – since their Curve card will no longer work for payments.
It told us it’s also sending push notifications in the app and that it’ll be publishing additional information on its website soon.
I’m a FairFX customer – how am I affected?
FairFX provides prepaid travel cards, which were among our top picks as they offered an intro bonus for new customers.
FairFX says that its cards should still work and can be used at ATMs and for shopping. It told us customers can access their money using these methods – though FairFX’s normal fees will apply.
It also said it’s working with the FCA and its partners to understand what other routes are open to customers looking to access their money.
Is my money safe?
It should be – even if you’re unable to access it at the moment. Wirecard is authorised under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011. Under these regulations, it’s required to ring-fence any money you deposit in a bank account that’s separate from its own.
I’ve been locked out of my account – what can I do?
Unfortunately, it seems there is little you can do at the moment to access the funds on affected cards. The FCA says affected customers should contact Wirecard or their card provider directly. But it seems providers’ hands are tied due to the FCA’s ruling on Wirecard, which requires customer funds to be frozen.
If you have money in other bank accounts, or you can use other cards, it’s best to do that.
We’ve asked the FCA if any further guidance will be issued for affected customers, and whether provisions will be made for customers who experience hardship as a result of this. We’ll update this story when we know more.