Thousands of people in the UK cannot access their money due to the consequences of the scandal of hitting the wirecard payments firm.
Wirecard Card Solutions’ UK license has been frozen by the regulator after its German parent company filed for insolvency.
It means that people cannot temporarily access the cash held with financial applications in the UK using Wirecard technology.
Some have spoken of their frustration, but their money should be safe.
Wirecard Card Solutions serves prepaid cards, such as the U account, which was marketed as an alternative to a bank that helped people budget and avoid high overdraft fees.
“This is a huge problem for many customers who trust the money deposited into their U account for everyday items, including the ability to pay rent and buy food,” one customer told the BBC.
‘The money is safe’
The regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said it had ordered the Newcastle-based Wirecard Card Solutions “to suspend all regulated activities to further protect customers’ money.”
Pockit financial technology companies; Anna Money, a business account; and Curve, whose goal is to consolidate people’s finances into one application, told clients that they would be locked out of their accounts after the FCA’s decision.
They said that the clients’ money was still safe, but that it wouldn’t be accessible for a while.
“This action is not related to Curve, but Curve currently relies on Wirecard for the operation of the Curve card,” Curve told customers on Friday.
“We are already on track to migrate out of Wirecard, but we have not fully completed this process.”
Anna said: “We hope that the suspension will be lifted: the inability to use your account and card is temporary, and we are working to restore it as soon as possible.”
Pockit said he was working with the FCA to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.
On its website, Wirecard Card Solutions said: “Wirecard Card Solutions Limited (WDCS) has temporarily suspended its electronic money issuance, card issuance and acquisition business with immediate effect and until further notice.
“WDCS is working hard to implement the steps that will allow the suspension to be lifted so that business can resume as usual. We will provide more updates on our website as soon as we can.”
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The funds are not protected, as they are in banks, by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, but the firm said clients’ money was kept securely in segregated accounts.
The FCA has told the affected people to contact their card provider.
The move comes after German parent company Wirecard revealed a € 1.9bn (£ 1.7bn) hole in its accounts last week, and subsequently filed for bankruptcy.
Former chief Markus Braun has been arrested and charged with inflating Wirecard’s finances to make them appear healthier to investors and clients.
The Munich-based firm employs almost 6,000 employees in 26 countries. The company’s creditors may lose billions of euros to the scandal.