ISA cash held with Claro Money at risk of losing tax-free status
Customers have three weeks left (Wednesday 17 August) to withdraw their balance after a letter from the financial coaching firm’s CEO stated it had “decided to refocus” as it looks to launch a new web-based platform early next year.
Its flagship iOS app was suspended for new customers, with existing users told to remove their cash. It did not share customer numbers with us, but added it was not accepting any further deposits.
The firm also cancelled its free coaching calls and ended its 2% cash campaign which launched in September 2021, though it added those who participated will be paid their bonus in full.
Claro Money confirmed that client money remains FSCS-protected until the deadline date and is held in a segregated account with NatWest.
Withdrawals will take four working days to process to nominated bank accounts and after 17 August, Claro Money will close all accounts.
For customers with a General Investment Account (GIA), funds will need to be withdrawn from each of the ‘goals’. Here, investments will be sold and the money transferred to the bank account registered at the time. Claro Money confirmed there will not be a charge for this.
For customers with an ISA, there are two options:
- Withdraw funds and shut down the ISA
- Transfer to another ISA.
Claro Money confirmed that if it does not hear from ISA customers before 17 August, it will liquidate investments and return funds to nominated bank accounts at the time of registration.
This means ISA customers who do not actively move or transfer their funds will see the cash lose their tax-free status as it is removed from its tax-free wrapper to a standard banking account.
It added that it recommends customers cancel their direct debit which will show up as ‘Wealthkernel’. At the end of the notice period on 17 August, it will cancel direct debit mandates.
A Claro Money spokesperson, said: “We are investing in a new proposition that will see our financial coaching sessions delivered to a larger number of people in-person and digitally in the UK.
“While we launch a new web-based platform early next year filled with quality content, education, and tools we are suspending our iOS app. Therefore, we have requested that our customers withdraw their balances if they still have funds deposited with us by 17 August 2022.
“Our core mission of addressing the ever-growing advice gap remains the same and we look forward to helping even more people develop a smart money mindset in the near future. We are now on the lookout for progressive employers to roll out our new financial wellbeing service offering via employers.”