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Consumer Defender Picks Fight With Bank Over Bitcoin

DECO, the Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection, recently protested against Banco Santander Totta S.A., Portugal’s fourth largest bank, for blocking a client’s transfers on the grounds they were related to cryptocurrency.

When João Nogueira, an associate of DECO, decided he wanted to invest in cryptocurrency, he went through all the steps required to connect his bank account to his exchange platform account, only to find out his bank was blocking him from making any cryptocurrency related transactions. After some back-and-forth where Nogueira insisted on clarification, it came to light that this was a matter of policy for the bank, despite not having any known legal basis to support its actions.

The Portuguese central bank, Banco de Portugal, previously stated that they have issued no guidelines instructing banks to prevent money transfers to cryptocurrency exchange accounts.

DECO has since reached out to six other Portuguese banks to ascertain whether they have any limitations set in place on this sort of transaction. Only one, Novo Banco, has so far answered, stating that they currently have no restrictions related to these operations.

Earlier this month, Publico reported that the country will be charging no fees on crypto-related profits, as there is no framework in Portuguese law to consider them taxable. The authorities concluded that "the trading of cryptocurrency is not taxable under Portuguese tax law, unless by its habitual nature it constitutes the professional or business activity of the taxpayer".

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