FNB will close the bank accounts of major local cryptocurrency exchanges and related intermediaries from March 2020.
FNB has assured customers that their personal accounts would not be closed if they buy and sell cryptocurrency, with the decision only affecting platforms like cryptocurrency exchanges.
Given the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions, banks are still in the process of developing policies to prevent fraud, money laundering, and transactions related to illegal activities.
To find out the current cryptocurrency policies of South Africa’s major banks, we asked them for comment on the matter.
Absa said that in line with its risk appetite, it does not offer bank accounts to virtual currency exchanges.
The bank further said it allows Absa customers to use their accounts to trade cryptocurrency, but warned them to be vigilant about the dangers involved.
“Absa retail customers choosing to partake in any form of cryptocurrency dealings with their credit or debit cards, are free to do so,” the bank told MyBroadband.
“However we urge our customers to be mindful of the potential risks involved. We monitor accounts for unusual activity and investigate accordingly.”
Nedbank stated that it was in the process of assessing its position with regards to virtual currency dealers and traders.
Standard Bank provided no official comment on cryptocurrency policies, but said that it implements several systems to prevent criminal activity on accounts.
“We engage, as a matter of course, with our clients to understand their business models, compliance frameworks and anti-money laundering and terrorist finance control policies to ensure it meets our requirements,” the bank told MyBroadband.
“We will continue to monitor these clients and developments in the industry on an ongoing basis.”
Capitec does not offer business banking and confirmed that it has no accounts held by cryptocurrency exchanges.
The bank said its customers are able to trade virtual currencies.
“From a retail banking perspective, account holders are able to transfer money from their accounts to their crypto accounts/platforms and from there, trade in cryptocurrency.”
Discovery Bank said it does not have any business or corporate banking products at the moment.
“We are 100% engaged in retail banking and only cater to natural persons, so consequently we have no accounts for cryptocurrency exchanges,” it said.
“We do not block transactions related to crypto wallets. We do in the normal course of business evaluate these transactions for fraud and other compliance checks – as we do with all other transactions.”
“The anonymous nature of crypto does mean that we do have heightened screening in place to protect our customers from fraud,” said Discovery Bank.
TymeBank did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.