In the light of recent issues with Sparkasse, an Austrian and German bank branch which seems to freeze and reverse bank transfers from users who want to purchase Bitcoin from exchanges, we reached out to several exchange platforms to ask whether or not they experience these issues. So far, we have received official statements from Anycoin Direct, Kraken and Safello.
Anycoin Direct Statement & Interview with Bram Ceelen
JP : Bram, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us. I know you guys must be incredibly busy at this point in time. Is this the first time Anycoin Direct experiences these kinds of issues with the Sparkasse bank?
Bram : We have experienced similar issues with Sparkasse in the past, where they would call customers and ask them if they actually intended to make the transfer related to buying Bitcoin. However, nothing of this magnitude has taken place before. Even though not all SEPA transfers from Sparkasse users are being “reviewed”, we have noticed a strong increase in transactions being halted and/or reversed by the bank, with or without any communication from their side.
JP : Wow. I can imagine this next question will not be easy to answer, but do you have any estimate of how much money Anycoin Direct lost because of the fulfilled orders from which you guys never received the funds? And have the affected customers reached out to you in order to rectify the matter?
Bram : We are still assessing the damage as we speak, and it will take some time before we have an exact figure. It also depends on our customers’ honesty, but from what we have seen so far, they all understand the situation and are eager to help us in finding a solution. Most of our customers are even willing to use a different bank account in order to finalize their payment to us. We are very grateful for the support from the Bitcoin community in this matter, thanks to the article you posted yesterday.
JP : And how many affected customers are we talking about? A handful? A dozen? Two dozen?
Bram : We don’t have an exact number as of right now, but suffice to say that up to 50 Bitcoin orders in the past 36 hours could have been affected. It is hard for us to figure out who was contacted by Sparkasse about the transfer and who wasn’t, and we are still working that at the moment. In some cases, Sparkasse even reversed the SEPA transfer without contacting the customer, who is as baffled as we are about this ordeal.
JP : How can Anycoin Direct make sure these things get resolved quickly? Are you in contact with Sparkassa regarding the matter? And is there a temporary solution for customers who use Sparkasse to buy Bitcoin?
Bram : We have reached out to Sparkasse, but have not received any type of acknowledgement to date. For the time being, we cannot offer instant Bitcoin delivery to customers who send a SEPA transfer from their Sparkasse bank account, simply because we have no idea of knowing whether or not the funds will arrive in our bank account.
Anycoin Direct is forced to wait until funds clear on our side, before we can send out Bitcoin to these customers. We really hate to work like this, but Sparkasse is leaving us no choice in the matter unfortunately. We do hope these issues will be resolved soon.
JP : Thank you Bram. Is there anything else you would like to add to this statement?
Bram : Only that we started experiencing these issues over the past 36 hours. We have no idea whether it is just us, or other Bitcoin exchanges experiencing similar problems with Sparkasse SEPA transfers. Rest assured that Anycoin Direct is working non-stop to find a solution, and we will keep you updated when we have more information available.
Official Statement from Safello, a Swedish Bitcoin to/from fiat currency exchange
JP : Hello Mr. Schuil, it seems like we meet again. I’m sure you have heard of the ongoing issues between Anycoin Direct and Sparkasse customers in Germany. Has Safello noticed anything along these lines as of late as well?
Frank Schuil : So far, we have not experienced issues with customers from Germany or customers sending a transfer from their Sparkasse account. I have double-checked with our staff, and everything seems to be in order on our side. We will keep an eye on incoming SEPA transfers, and appreciate you reaching out to us to let us know about this potential issue.
Lastly, Kraken Customer Support had the following to say
JP : Earlier today, we received reports from the Anycoin Direct exchange informing us how the German Sparkasse bank is blocking wire transfers from users who want to buy Bitcoin. I wanted to inform whether or not you guys at Kraken have noticed anything similar over the past few days? Secondly, there are a lot of Sparkasse subsidiary banks in existence, such as Erste bank Croatia. Have you received any reports from customers experiencing wire transfer refunds after a call from their bank?
Robert (Kraken Client Engagement) : Thanks for reaching out to us. No, we have not received any complaints from Kraken customers who have bank accounts at Sparkasse. If you know any Kraken customers who have had similar issues with Sparkasse, it would be great if you could direct them to us so that we can document these cases.
So far it seems like the issue is only affecting Anycoin Direct, and only where SEPA transfers are concerned. We will keep monitoring the situation and keep the Bitcoin community informed accordingly.
Websites : http://anycoindirect.eu