Major banks have started banning credit card customers from buying cryptocurrencies.
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The UK's Lloyds Banking Group was the latest financial institution to join the ban. "We do not accept credit card transactions involving the purchase of cryptocurrencies," the company said in an email on Monday.
Lloyds follows Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, which reportedly began prohibiting credit card purchases of cryptocurrencies last Friday. "It was because of the volatility and credit risk," a Chase spokesperson told PCMag in an email.
Lloyds told to Reuters the decision was made to protect customers from running up huge debts in the event the cryptocurrency market plummets — which has happened. On Monday, Bitcoin's value fell below $7,000, a steep decline from $17,000 at the start of January.
However, the financial institutions all told PCMag the ban only applies to credit card purchases. Customers can still use their debit cards to make the cryptocurrency buys.
The credit card ban is the latest bad news for the cryptocurrency market, which has been facing various crackdowns and regulatory scrutiny in recent weeks.
Coinbase, one of the largest virtual currency exchanges with over 10 million customers, declined to comment on the credit card ban. Prior to the ban, Coinbase began to warn customers that a number of major credit card networks were going to charge additional cash advance fees on cryptocurrency buys.
"As a result, we would strongly suggest switching to a debit card or bank account as your primary payment method," the company said in an email to Coinbase users.
PCMag has a guide on how to buy virtual currencies including Bitcoin. But be warned, with the volatile prices, the cryptocurrency craze is not for the faint of heart.