Account suddenly suspended without warning

This morning just after 9am GMT, I received a push notification from Revolut informing me that my account had been suspended for my “security”. The push notification has disappeared so I cannot quote the exact wording. There are only very limited scenarios where my “security” could be the reason for an account suspension, for example if Revolut’s systems detected that my account had been compromised or there had been too many unsuccessful login attempts.

When I opened the Revolut app, it stated:

Verify your bank card
Please check [account name] account associated with your Revolut card to view your latest top-up with a verification code.
This will appear on your bank statement as Revolut Card Code 1234

Although I have used a bank card to top up Revolut only once and a long time ago, which was my German debit card, I assumed that Revolut meant my UK credit card, which I have used for top-ups many times including very recently. Therefore rather than checking my (German) bank statement as advised, I therefore checked my UK credit card statement, which showed a 4-digit code, but prefixed only with “Revolut” and not “Revolut Card Code”. I entered the 4-digit code into the Revolut app and it was accepted. Revolut needs to understand the difference between a bank and a credit card issuer - a minor issue compared to what happened next. The app then stated:

We need some more information
We’re really sorry for the trouble, but before we can get you up and running, we need a little more information. To speed up the process, be ready to send us some basic supporting documents, like a payslip or bank statement. Don’t worry, we keep anything you send us confidential.

All functionality in the app is suspended and there is no option to upload supporting documents. The only functionality that remains enabled is support chat. When I opened a support chat and asked why my account had been suspended, it stated:

Looking for an agent…
Your query is being reviewed by a relevant team. The estimated response time is 48 hours. We apologize for the inconvenience caused and appreciate your patience.

This is an absolute disgrace. I am transacting on my Revolut account for various purposes multiple times per week. It is totally unacceptable to suspend my account without warning or good reason and then to fail to restore it in a timely fashion. I shall be raising a complaint, and if I am not properly compensated for the inconvenience, then I shall complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service, who will both charge Revolut a case fee of GBP 550 irrespective of the outcome, and based on my past experience with errors by other card issuers, will probably award me GBP 50 in compensation.

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Did you do anything special the past 24 hours?

Are you a Premium or Metal user?

Just a wild guess, but the answer will be something like the usual:

Unfortunately, under current regulations, we are not allowed to give out any details relating to an account that’s under investigation.
You can find more information why an account is locked here: https://blog.revolut.com/why-has-my-account-been-locked-and-how-to-regain-access/

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No, I have done nothing unusual. My last transaction was a payment to another Revolut customer of under £6 - someone who has similarly been a Revolut customer for over 4 years. I pay no periodic charge for the account.

Revolut’s blog at https://blog.revolut.com/why-has-my-account-been-locked-and-how-to-regain-access/ gives away the root cause of this service failure:

Whenever the system raises too many flags, be it from our own analysis or based on information from our partners, accounts can get locked.

In this instance, the system is programmed to temporarily lock an account and place it in a queue, until one of our compliance agents can review the case - after all, machines can only do so much.

No other financial institution (except other fintechs such as Monzo) would automatically disable accounts until Compliance can review them. With other financial institutions, any suspension of an account would occur only after a human has found genuine indicators of fraud or other crime. Revolut’s failure, for which I shall be pursuing a significant remedy from the Financial Ombudsman, is that Revolut has negligently and lazily programmed its systems to suspend accounts before any human has found genuine indicators of fraud or other crime. It’s a total disgrace.

I am an investment banking consultant and have done the AML (anti-money laundering) mandatory training at many tier one and tier two banks. I get all that. My criticism of Revolut, and similarly of any other fintech with a similar approach, is that accounts are routinely suspended without reasonable suspicion of fraud or other crime. I say it’s not reasonable because it’s a false positive by an automated process. The established UK banks do not apply AML regulations in this sloppy, lazy and negligent manner.

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I hope you can have everything sorted out real soon. It’s very concerning, I must add, seeing this happening so often, but more so to long time, well documented users such as yourself.

All these complaints are what refrains me from upgrading. I trust Revolut for traveling, which I do a lot. I don’t have so many cards and I find myself oftentimes with cards blocked due to purchases made in “strange” countries (where I happen to be working for one or two weeks) and what I get from my bank is that I must tell them in advance (so I cannot do it myself and then undo) to add temporary exceptions to the countries I will be visiting.

Having the choices of locking and unlocking my Revolut card at my discretion is very convenient. But I’m afraid this automatic blocking is something I simply cannot afford, or I could find myself in a lot of trouble.

I see that using Revolut as an experiment is OK-ish, but doing serious business is a high risk not worth the benefit.

Because with a main street bank I can spend a fortune on an international call and have things sorted out (like countries being accepted for my card) but with Revolut takes days.

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A bit puzzle - if you would entered correct code (from other card) account would not be suspended? :thinking:

Revolut suspended the account before the app asked me to enter the 4-digit code from my so-called “bank statement”. I had hoped that entering the code would have removed the suspension, but despite the app accepting the code, my account remained suspended.

This incident has made me very wary of using our new Revolut business account for anything business-critical (which I reviewed here). So far, I’ve used it only to buy lunches in my client’s canteen, which doesn’t accept Amex. Our bank for over 20 years doesn’t support Apple Pay, so Revolut on my Apple Watch is ideal for these small business transactions.

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Damn man… I do really hope it will be sorted very soon…

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Looking forward to any update on this NFH. Very worrying…

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Unfortunately there’s still no update. Revolut have neglected to respond to my chat messages. I am still being unreasonably held in a 48-hour queue for a response from Compliance. It’s a total shambles. The longer my account is unreasonably suspended, the more compensation I shall expect. And I measure the time in calendar days, not working days.

Revolut picked the wrong customer to mess with. As well as being an experienced litigant-in-person in the English courts, I’m a frequent user of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

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I understood it right, that it will take about 48 hours for the chat to respond, yes? And once they have responded then you have to go through the unlocking process incl. providing supporting documents?

Yes, that is indeed my understanding. But Revolut has done everything in the wrong order. They should have asked me for any necessary documents, given me a reasonable time to supply them (e.g. two weeks to account for people who are on holiday etc) and then suspended my account only if I failed to supply the documents. By suspending my account without any evidence of fraud or other crime, Revolut failed to perform the service with reasonable care and skill in breach of Section 49 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

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Oh man. That ain’t cool. :pensive:

Do you have a lot of money on your account? I usually don’t keep much on it - I usually top it up on demand.

No, I use Revolut mostly for small transactions. My total balance is currently under €500.

Paragraph 24 of Revolut’s terms and conditions defines the scenarios where Revolut may suspend an account:

We may close or suspend your account immediately, and end your access to our website, in exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances include the following:

  • if we have good reason to suspect that you are behaving fraudulently;
  • if you haven’t given us (or someone acting on our behalf) any information we need, or we have good reason to believe that information you have provided is incorrect or not true;
  • if you’ve broken these terms and conditions in a serious or persistent way and you haven’t put the matter right within a reasonable time of us asking you to;
  • if we have good reason to believe that your use of the Revolut app is harmful to us or our software, systems or hardware;
  • if we have good reason to believe that you continuing to use your account could damage our reputation or goodwill;
  • if we have asked you to repay money you owe us and you have not done so within a reasonable period of time;
  • if you’ve been declared bankrupt; or
  • if we have to do so under any law, regulation, court order or ombudsman’s instructions.

We may also decide to close or suspend your account for other reasons. We would contact you through the Revolut app at least two months before we do this.

I am 100% confident that none of these scenarios applies, including the last catch-all scenario because two months’ notice were not given. In particular, a false positive triggered by an automated process does not create any “good reason to believe”. Therefore Revolut is without doubt in breach of contract, for which I shall ask Revolut, or failing that the Financial Ombudsman Service, to award me a significant amount of compensation.

I wonder what percentage of Revolut’s automatically-suspended accounts turn out to be genuine cases of fraud or other crime. I’m guessing it’s under 1%. But I also guess that the remaining 99% don’t bother to complain vociferously, don’t know their legal rights or don’t know what a typical amount of compensation is for such an unwarranted account suspension. Although the courts of England and Wales generally do not award claimants compensation in respect of “distress and inconvenience”, the Financial Ombudsman Service often does so and takes customer service levels into account. Unless a large number of wrongly-suspended customers complain and demand substantial compensation, fintechs (including the likes of Monzo who are far worse with this malpractice) will continue to suspend accounts without reasonable cause using automated processes.

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At least two others have experienced account suspensions. This might be widespread:

And I have received a private message, which I am quoting with the permission of @buzzAldrin who sent it to me:

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I notice that I can see all my balances on my Apple Watch, which connects via the iPhone app. I usually have to open the iPhone app for the Apple Watch app to work. Although the iPhone app blocks me from viewing anything, the Apple Watch app continues to function as normal, with balances, recent transactions and even top-ups via Apple Pay.

Do you always send money to your Revolut account through a credit card top-up? Do you use Bank transfers to top-up your account? I suspect Revolut doesn’t like when someone always uses the top-up from a card, because it’s a cost for the company. Obviously this doesn’t justify what they did.

I would be very alarmed if using an offered function regularly would result in a lock.

But only top up by card could indeed be a cause for investigation of the source of money, as Revolut can’t know from whom it is coming. All they see is the name the card belongs to. This must have no correlation with whom the money belongs to spent through that card.

But never the less, the approach taken here is simply not acceptable. Requesting documents is one thing, but just locking an account and only then asking for documents is wrong.

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I have topped up in GBP only using UK credit cards and in EUR only using a German debit card. I have never used bank transfers to top up my account, but I have received payments from other Revolut customers.