UK’s FCA imposes restrictions on e-money firm AstroPay


The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has imposed a series of restrictions on e-money firm Larstal Limited, which operates as AstroPay, with a particular focus on protecting consumer funds.

Under a “voluntary undertaking” with the regulator, Larstal is prohibited from “accepting any new customer funds, providing payment services, or issuing or redeeming e-money.” The company is also required to “refrain from onboarding any new customers” and “ensure that all relevant funds are appropriately ringfenced in designated safeguarding accounts,” according to the FCA.

If Larstal wishes to resume these activities, it must first obtain written consent from the FCA. These restrictions took effect immediately on April 11.

In a statement on its website, AstroPay described the measures as “temporary” and stated that “we are working to resume normal operations soon.” The firm did not respond to FinTech Futures’ request for comment.

Licensed as an FCA e-money institution (EMI) since December 2019 and operating in the UK since July 2020, Larstal offers a global e-wallet service through AstroPay. This service provides consumers and businesses with a range of payment capabilities, including peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfers, virtual and physical debit cards, and savings accounts.

The FCA’s regulatory action coincides with a Bloomberg report suggesting that the firm owes several million dollars to its creditors. Larstal’s latest financial statement, up to December 31, 2022, shows that it owes its backers just over $22 million.