Wirex, a prominent multi-currency crypto payment app that offers fiat on-ramps, off-ramps, and debit cards, has notified some of its customers in an email that their debit cards may cease to function in the European Economic Area (EEA). The potential disruption arises from the Lithuanian central bank’s decision to revoke the license of UAB PayrNet, Wirex’s card provider. This development follows a similar announcement from Wirex’s competitor, Cryptopay, regarding potential card service interruptions in the region due to the same issue.
Wirex to temporarily halt its debit card services
The email sent to Wirex customers explained that the company’s current card partner, UAB PayrNet, has encountered problems leading to a temporary halt in the debit card service for EEA customers. However, this interruption does not impact customers’ ability to access their funds through other means, such as the IBAN service or cryptocurrency transfers and purchases within the Wirex app. As a result, customers are not required to take any action as the funds held in the app remain unaffected by the card services issue. Wirex clarified that the problem lies with UAB PayrNet and not within its system.
The Bank of Lithuania announced on June 22 that it was revoking UAB PayrNet’s electronic money institution license due to serious and repeated violations of legal acts. Among the allegations, the central bank accused PayrNet of inadequate administration of Anti-Money Laundering provisions, potentially enabling the illicit use of its services for financing illegal activities. The Bank of Lithuania assured that client funds are secure, as they are held in separate dedicated accounts.
The director of PayrNet, Stephenas Couttie, reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with the central bank’s actions, believing them to be excessive given the violations committed. These sentiments suggest that Couttie perceives the punishment as disproportionate to the nature of the violations. To address the card service disruption, the platform informed its customers via email that it is expediting its plan to transition to Transact Payments Malta Limited for debit card services. The company had already been working on this transition, but the current problems have accelerated the process. Wirex is actively collaborating with both PayrNet and Transact Payments Malta Limited to restore the functionality of its debit card system as quickly as possible.
The company says it will resolve the issue
During this transitional period, the platform’s customers in the EEA region may experience limitations on the use of their debit cards. However, the company is making efforts to minimize the inconvenience caused by the situation. Over the past two years, Wirex has been expanding its range of services. In August 2022, the company partnered with 1inch to enable wallet-based token swaps for its customers. Additionally, in February 2022, Wirex integrated with the Avalanche network, allowing users to deposit AVAX tokens and utilize them for transactions using Wirex debit cards.
Wirex’s debit card services in the European Economic Area face potential disruptions following the license revocation of its card provider, UAB PayrNet. To address this issue, Wirex is expediting its transition to Transact Payments Malta Limited. Customers may experience temporary limitations on debit card usage, but Wirex is actively working to restore normal functionality. This development highlights the challenges faced by crypto payment service providers and underscores the importance of regulatory compliance within the industry.