JPMorgan Chase & Co has been slapped with a Manhattan lawsuit alleging it charged cryptocurrency-buying customers surprisingly high fees. Documents state that the company treated these purchases as cash advances after it stopped letting buys occur through users’ credit cards.
A History of Pushing Bitcoin Away
JPMorgan – in particular, chief executive officer Jamie Dimon – hasn’t always been kind to cryptocurrencies or their advocates. Dimon has repeatedly called bitcoin a fraud, and last year, reportedly threatened to fire any traders who bought or sold it for being “stupid.” He has since retracted his statements and says he wishes he hadn’t dismissed the technology behind bitcoin and other digital currencies so quickly.
The lawsuit is occurring on behalf of Brady Tucker, a Chase customer and Idaho resident who claims his cryptocurrency purchases were treated not as legit buys, but as cash advances, making him vulnerable to transaction fees as high as 30 percent per year. He says that he and other credit card holders were officially “duped.”
“It appears that in addition to firing its ‘stupid’ employees, Chase elected to start fining its ‘stupid’ customers unilaterally,” Tucker explains in the lawsuit. “Chase silently smacked them with instant-cash-advance fees, plus much higher interest rates than normal, and left them without any recourse.”
Change – Not Always for the Better
Tucker is pushing “class-action status” for the suit. He is seeking a refund of all unnecessary fees, plus an additional $1 million in damages. JPMorgan has not offered any comments regarding the case.
2018 marks a year when banks and traditional institutions have seemingly turned their backs on cryptocurrencies, alleging their volatility not only raises questions, but puts customers at risk. In turn, many banks have refused to support virtual currencies and have disallowed credit card purchases. Among these establishments are JPMorgan, Bank of America, and Citigroup.
Crypto Vs. Banking
In addition, Capital One began disallowing both credit card and checking account purchases of cryptocurrencies earlier this year, but did not release any statements prior to making these decisions. This led to many customers’ transactions on trading exchanges either being cancelled or incurring serious delays.
Abroad, executives at the Reserve Bank of India have also explained they will no longer support cryptocurrency purchases or ventures, leaving many businesses in India in the dark about who they can approach regarding the completion of financial transactions. Financial powerhouses in Canada like BMO Financial Group (Bank of Montreal) are also changing their policies to prevent cryptocurrency purchases in the future.
Will we see more cases against banks who prevent cryptocurrency holdings? Post your comments below.
Images via Capital OTC, Pixabay