While the UK Treasury is finding ways to include Bitcoin into the mainstream economy, one of the largest banks in the UK doesn’t seem to care much about the digital currency that is catching the waves across the world. Barclays allegedly froze the account of Charles Bartlett out of the blue without offering any explanation. Earlier in February, the bank supposedly make a “commercial decision” to close his account and send him an intimation regarding the same.
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It is suspected that Charles’ habit of Bitcoin trading might be the reason behind Barclays’ decision to close his account. Charles, a 17-year-old student with entrepreneurial spirit has confessed that he is involved in trading Bitcoin and made a small profit of about GBP 40 in the process. Barclays closed his account within 5 days of that transaction without giving any reason for their actions. Upon appealing against their decision, he was informed that a fraudulent payment of GBP 50 into his account on February 19 was the reason behind suspending their services.
Closing customer accounts without offering any explanation is a common occurrence in the country. Thousands of people face this situation every year. When pressed for details, banks conveniently ask them to approach Financial Ombudsman Service regarding their grievance.
The highhandedness of banking institutions like Barclays is exactly the reason why the world needs decentralized currencies like Bitcoin. Even though Bitcoin comes with its own set of challenges like the inability to initiate chargebacks, security issues, these challenges are being addressed by startups that are working on solutions, which will make Bitcoin favorable over fiat currency.
Traditional banking sector is already facing the heat from growing adoption of Bitcoin and the top executives of a few banks have already expressed these concerns publicly. It is time for banks like Barclays to take a leaf out of HM Treasury’s report on digital currency and work along with the government and public to create better customer friendly policies.
Charles is said to have changed his bankers after the Barclays fiasco, taking the business to Lloyds where he now has a current account.