The provider of electronic payments ePayments puts the last nail in the coffin of its activity. ePayments released email notices to clients on Tuesday stating that it is officially closing its business operations in light of local regulations.
The financial services provider was one of the largest providers of electronic payments in the UK. However, it was almost three years ago ordered traffic to stop by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) over alleged failings in its “financial crime controls”.
At the time of the initial suspension, ePayments was estimated to be holding $149 million, or £127.5 million, in customer funds that were temporarily unavailable.
After years of restructuring efforts, the company attributes the final closure to “extremely challenging and unprecedented global economic conditions”, years of shutdown operations and an inability to satisfactorily meet FCA requirements.
It says the funds are safe and encourages former customers to withdraw funds in eWallets and wait for refund information. Users on Twitter reacted to the update with a mixture of relief and frustration, with one user saying he’s had funds stuck in ePayments since 2020:
Thank God I transferred my fund 2 months ago as soon as you unblock access to the fund. My fund is stuck since 2020.
— Hoe2be (@hoe2be2) September 13, 2022
While another he tweeted company that his funds were still unavailable.
The development comes as UK financial regulators tighten the reins on the industry. The FCA has hired almost 500 new employees over the past year in line with its new three-year strategy.
One of the positions filled was the newly created Director of Payments and Digital Assets, who will oversee matters such as electronic money, payments and cryptoasset markets. The position was filled by a former director at the National Economic Crime Command.
While some regulators in the country trust the UK it cannot afford to send mixed signals when it comes to its stance on digital assets and payment services, that still seems to be the case.
The newly appointed Minister of Finance, Kwasi Kwarteng, did not address the issue of cryptocurrencies regulations and advertising watchdogs have recently cracked down on cad content related to rypto on Instagram.
On the other hand, the economic secretary made a statement on September 7 saying that he wanted to make the UK a crypto hub and the best choice for innovators under the new prime minister.