Wells Fargo bans credit card purchases of bitcoin

Consumers with a Wells Fargo credit card may no longer use it to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

A spokesperson with the California bank confirmed the new policy in an email to CBS MoneyWatch, saying Wells Fargo would "continue to evaluate the issue as the market evolves."

The move is "due to the multiple risks associated with this volatile investment," said the spokesperson, who also noted "this decision is in line with the overall industry."

The bank follows Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, all of which banned cryptocurrency purchases on their credit cards in February. Capital One in January also said it was declining credit-card purchases of cryptocurrency.

Lenders have voiced concerns that they'd have to swallow the loss if a customer lost money buying digital currency and was unable to cover the purchase. 

Bitcoin, the most widely used cryptocurrency, has shed more than half its value in 2018. After peaking at $19,000 in December, on Monday it was priced at $6,793.78, according to CoinMarketCap.com, down roughly 20 percent since May. 

A 2017 poll by loan marketplace LendEDU found that about 18 percent of bitcoin buyers used a credit card to make the purchases, with 22 percent then unable to pay off their balance after purchasing the digital currency.

In a related development, Apple is cracking down on cryptocurrency activity on its devices. The technology giant is banning mining of digital currencies on both IOS devices and Mac, in policy changes first spotted by Appleinsider