Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) has become the first to announce a ban on customers using credit cards to buy Bitcoin, The Telegraph has reported. The move comes with the digital currency having lost more than half its value in just two months.
Lloyds’ share price lost ground on Friday, shedding 0.82 percent to close at 68.75p, marginally underperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index ending the session 0.63 percent in the red at 7,443.43. The group’s shares have added more than five percent to their value over the past year, as compared with about a four-percent rise in the Footsie.
The Telegraph reported this morning that Lloyds was set to tell its nine million credit card customers that it will block any attempts to buy Bitcoin after the digital currency lost more than half its value in just two months. The newspaper notes that with the bitcoin price having tumbled by 57 percent from £14,000 in December to less than £6,000, the bailed-out lender fears that it could end up footing the bill for unpaid debt should the cryptocurrency fall any lower.
A Lloyds spokeswoman meanwhile confirmed to Reuters in an email that “across Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA, we do not accept credit card transactions involving the purchase of cryptocurrencies”.
Analysts on Lloyds
JPMorgan Chase & Co reiterated its ‘overweight’ stance on the FTSE 100 group last week, without specifying a valuation on the shares. According to MarketBeat, the lender currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 75.58p.
Credit Suisse meanwhile remains bullish on Lloyds, flagging a robust fourth quarter performance, a confident outlook and a share buyback at its full year results later this month.