HSBC suspends pensioner’s transaction to buy Bitcoin; flags it ‘suspicious’

The cryptoverse is relentlessly working towards adoption around the world, with banks expected to play a major role in furthering the cause. However, HSBC recently suspended payments from a couple’s account after they tried purchasing Bitcoin online.

According to Bitcoin News, the husband tried to get Bitcoin online to buy medical cannabis for his 70-year-old wife. This is not the first instance where HSBC has questioned a customer’s activity with regards to Bitcoin however, despite banks becoming more flexible as cryptocurrency transactions become more popular. Tony Hetherington, a Financial Mail investigator, was informed by one of the bank’s customers that,

“I tried to buy Bitcoin using my online account with First Direct, which is part of HSBC. Not only was the transaction declined, but the bank froze all my online payments and insisted I had to phone them instead. I was then told I could make online payments again, but only to previously existing accounts.”

The bank justified its actions by claiming that the dealer through which the old man and his sick wife attempted to buy medical cannabis only accepted Bitcoin as payment, which was flagged suspicious by the bank’s system. However, when they tried to buy Bitcoin using a different reason, the bank rejected it again, calling it customer protection.

According to the Financial Mail investigator, the bank wanted to escape the embarrassment.

He argued that the bank would have felt that it was acting as a money launderer, even though it was a lawful transaction. The bank would have faced “humiliation” if the drugs had been stopped in the post, which would have resulted in the bank having to admit its approval of the transaction to police officials.

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