Payment services are increasingly taking action against VPN providers, and as of today CashU can be added to the list.
CashU is a popular payment service in the Middle East and North Africa, where it’s the leading alternative to credit cards. Thousands of merchants accept CashU payments including many VPN providers who are quite popular in the region.
As of recently, however, CashU has stopped connecting new VPN providers to its payment service. The company sees it as a problem that VPN services allow users to browse the Internet anonymously and uncensored, as this could potentially be abused.
VPN provider TorGuard was informed about the new policy after their application was turned down.
“Please note that since VPN Services can support anonymity when being misused, CASHU, as a financial institution, is prohibited from supporting such services as is it going through a transitional stage. Therefore, kindly note that we cannot accept your merchant account registration,” A CashU representative wrote.
The response from CashU suggests that an external party is prohibiting the company from accepting VPN services. It’s unclear who is behind this but TorGuard CEO Ben Van Pelt believes it may be the result of censorship forces in the region.
“Privacy online is a basic human right and fundamental building block of any free, democratic society. Unfortunately, CashU’s Middle Eastern underwriting banks are not located in such a place. Censorship laws enforced by the United Arab Emirate’s Telecom Regulatory Authority borderline on draconian as they decide what content is or is not acceptable,” Van Pelt tells TorrentFreak.
“It seems that this new anti VPN ‘transitional stage’ for CashU is part of a larger issue of increased government censorship and regulation in the region,” he adds.
It’s worth nothing that CashU still accepts payments for VPN providers who have signed up previously. It will be interesting to see whether these merchants can keep their accounts or if they will be disconnected in the future.
For TorGuard this isn’t the only payment method they’re having problems with. The company was also rejected by Alipay, a Chinese based payment solution that is popular among VPN users in Asia. TorGuard is still waiting for an official reply as to why this application was turned down.
In recent years it has become harder and harder for VPN services to get a wide range of payment options. Previously Paysafecard stopped accepting anonymity services and Visa, MasterCard and Paypal have also caused trouble for some anonymity providers.