BMO Bans the Purchase of Cryptocurrency with Credit and Debit Cards

Another Canadian bank has taken measures to prevent the buying of cryptocurrencies.

Recent reports from consumers indicated that the Bank of Montreal (BMO) had shut down the purchasing of cryptocurrencies, and when reached for comment, Ralph Marranca, BMO’s director of corporate media relations confirmed to Techvibes that “BMO no longer allows the purchase of cryptocurrencies using a retail consumer Mastercard-branded credit or debit card.”

BMO clients had previously been able to purchase cryptocurrency with a credit card through a few different exchanges, including Coinbase and the Canadian exchange Coinsqaure. The bank’s clients could also fund accounts using Interac Online, a payment method that was only usable through debit cards that did not have a Visa or Mastercard branded badge on them.

The move is a disappointing one as more Canadians discover the cryptocurrency market and look to invest in an asset like bitcoin, ethereum or litecoin. The market is undoubtedly unstable, seeing rises and falls of up to 20 to 30 per cent in a single day, but it is a market that will not disappear anytime soon, as companies like Coinsqaure are seeing massive growth and positively impacting the Canadian economy already. The blockchain technology that powers cryptocurrency is already seeing different forms of utilization outside its typical use-cases as well.

BMO was actually one of the first banks to address the idea of cryptocurrency in the first place back in 2014 when then-CEO Bill Downe told the Financial Post there was “no reason why we couldn’t be an intermediary in bitcoin-related transactions.”

“If bitcoin [can be] a reliable medium of exchange, then at that point in the future, we would be able to [conduct business] with bitcoin,” continued Downe.

Downe retired from the position at the end of October 2017, right at a point when cryptocurrency fervor was just hitting its stride.

Cryptocurrency may not be as regulated and reliable as traditional currency, but it has improved leaps and bounds over the past 12 months alone. Canadian exchanges like the above mentioned Coinsquare or QuadrigaCX have vast security and privacy measures in place, and despite a few complaints about held money or slow transactions here and there, the top exchanges in the world are often very safe and free from risk.

The risk comes from the user themselves, buying into a fluctuating market with very little to base growth upon, while also paying high transaction costs. Many see buying cryptocurrency simply as a form of gambling as opposed to investing, which could have been true in the early days, but now with so much information about cryptocurrency widely available, it’s hard to draw that comparison.

TD Bank is another one of Canada’s big five banks that banned the sale of cryptocurrency using its credit cards.