Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, is set to end its debit card services in the European Economic Area (EEA) by December 20, 2023.
According to a blog post on Friday, the crypto exchange clarified that this decision will not impact users’ Binance accounts.
“Binance Card services will no longer be offered in the EEA, but you can use your existing physical or virtual card as usual until 20 December 2023 00:00 (UTC+0). Your Binance account will not be affected. We apologize for any inconvenience.” The blog read.
The Binance Visa Debit Card, introduced in the EEA in 2020, allowed users to convert and spend their digital assets at over 60 million locations worldwide. The EEA encompasses the 27 member states of the European Union and Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. While widely adopted, only approximately 1% of Binance’s users are expected to be affected by this change.
Notably, according to a screenshot shared by a Binance user online, Contis Financial Services, the card issuer responsible for the Binance Visa Debit Cards, will no longer issue these cards as it will also “close in two months”.
“On December 20, 2023, destroy your Binance Visa Debit card by cutting the chip and magnetic strip,” the screenshot message read.
That said, for users impacted by this decision, Binance recommended an alternative solution: Binance Pay, a cryptocurrency payment technology. Binance Pay allows users to shop with crypto at supported merchants, providing a seamless and secure payment experience.
This move by Binance follows a series of challenges faced by the cryptocurrency exchange and its U.S. affiliate, Binance.US. In recent developments, Binance.US restricted its U.S. customers, allowing them to withdraw dollars only by converting fiat currency into stablecoin. The platform had earlier suspended U.S. dollar deposits and issued warnings about the suspension of withdrawals.
Notably, in August, Mastercard announced the termination of Binance-branded cards in Latin America and the Middle East, which permitted crypto-based purchases.
That said, experts have suggested that discontinuing these partnerships could directly result from the legal challenges that Binance currently faces. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused the exchange of operating an unregistered business and disseminating misleading information regarding risks, while the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has charged it with “willful evasion” of U.S. law.