More Sunday Times on Revolut

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Don’t bother registering to read the story.

My gym gives out free paper copies of Sunday Times but I never take them as have found they are uninteresting. Had to wait for friend to come out of shower this morning so read the business/money section and did see the Revolut article. Basically it said they had got to 2.5M users too quickly for their KYC (anti-money-laundering checks) to keep up. Sounded like newspaper scraped the Revolut Facebook page for quotes by people unhappy with service. Basic message was if you use Revolut you are risking your money and might get account frozen at awkward time.

My takeaway feeling after reading the article is that Revolut must be getting too successful and this story was a hatchet job.

There was also another article saying that Starling was secretly helping (RBS? HSBC?) set up their own spin-off which sounds a lot like Revolut.

This part was interesting, though.

Nevertheless there is no doubt many users are totally hacked off with blocked accounts and and an apology for any form of support in any shape or form. Revolut is still a long long way from offering a reliable, dependable source of funds whilst travelling.

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I do work in the IT/financial industry but don’t know how KYC works. You would imagine it was all about validating identity though, not done by some AI examining transactions to see if they looked launderous or whatever is the correct term.

Revolut do validate identity quite well, although last week I discovered that the AirBNB app does it even better - actually sucking the x.509 PKI data out of your passport chip by NFC. So why exactly is it supposed to be difficult to KYC those people who only use their Revolut account when travelling? You either know who they are or you don’t know who they are.

I believe Revolut uses a service provider for initial ID verification. Only if that fails, a team looks at it and verifies identity manually.

Compared with other methods common for banks like video ID (like it is mandatory in some EU countries) or being present in person when opening an account at a branch, I would consider Revolut‘s KYC weak.

I would rather have stronger verification at first and then less hassle later. But from Revolut‘s perspective, I can see how they want to keep costs low for a free product with small revenue.


I think that KYC procedures are only half the issue. A lot of the time accounts or funds get blocked is due to Revolut’s AML policies.

Their automated compliance algorithms are still a long way from being sensitive arbiters of dodgy funds, adopting more of a blunderbus approach and triggering many more accounts for manual checks than may be reasonable.

It’s this manual checking, which is more often than not overtly long, tedious and bureaucratic and not at all customer sensitive, which rightly gets up honest customers noses.