Saturday, October 1

Online marketplace Etsy says US sellers must verify bank accounts

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Etsy Inc said on Friday US sellers on its marketplace will either need to self verify their bank accounts or do it via third-party, riling up sellers over data privacy concerns.

The sellers Reuters talked to and several others on discussion forums were annoyed over the move, saying the recommended mode of verification involved providing financial technology platform Plaid with their banking username and password.

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“This is so typical of Etsy on any controversial subject but, when it has to do with our finances, it’s unacceptable,” said Dorothy Domingo, who has been selling functional pottery on Etsy since 2008.

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Plaid, which last year agreed to pay $58 million to settle a case that alleged it used financial information without consent, did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

“In connection with anti-money laundering and related regulations in the United States, marketplaces like Etsy are adjusting practices to further verify any American bank accounts on file,” Etsy said.

The company has also provided sellers the option to self verify their bank accounts with test deposits, but one seller said the process was tedious.

“Unfortunately, a history of less-than-stellar communication and customer service contributes to a general lack of trust in Etsy,” said a seller, who did not want to be named.

This is the latest in a series of issues faced by some sellers. A few went on strike earlier this year to protest an increase in transaction fee at Etsy.

Etsy is still a key source of income to its nearly 8 million active sellers, but some said they were considering exiting the platform.

“I haven’t fully reopened my Etsy shop, because so many of my wonderful customers have been going to my website to support me. But with this, I may be forced to shut down my Etsy shop permanently,” seller Kristi Cassidy said. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)