What is KYC and why do we need it 🔎

Eric Wu

 · 01/24/2019  · 01/24/2019

You've read about our app, it came up on your news feed and your mate sent you an invite to sign up. If we were to guess, you're pretty keen to jump on-board by now. But before we can open an account for you, we need to trust you as much as you trust us. And this is where something called 'Know Your Customer', or KYC comes into play.

While you may not have heard of it before, if you’re already a Revolut user, you’ve definitely taken part in the KYC process when you signed up.

In a nutshell, KYC refers to the process of us checking that you are who you say that you are. That might seem extreme. After all, you’re not a super-villain, but then not everyone is such an upstanding citizen.

So what is KYC? 🤷‍♂️

What does KYC stand for?

KYC stands for Know Your Customer.

KYC definition for Businesses:

Customer identity verification: As a financial institution, we need to verify that you are who you say you are on your application, before we can let you make transactions with your Revolut account.

KYC definition for Individuals:

From your perspective, KYC simply means taking a few photos during the sign-up process. It’s all detailed in the app, but in case you’re wondering, we ask for photos of your passport, or other valid government-issued ID, as well as a selfie, free from blur or glare or this. 🙄

In reality, there’s a lot more that goes on in the background, involving things like machine learning algorithms and anti-fraud rules, but for the purpose of our post, you can think of KYC as a kind of identity check that falls under the remit of compliance.

Why do I need to pass the KYC process? 🧐

That's easy - it's a regulatory requirement and it allows us to keep Revolut a safe place, free of fraudsters, money launders and so on.

So, if you want to become a Revolut user, one of the first things you'll have to do after you register a free account is to pass the KYC check, which means you'll have to send us:

  • Photos of your official government-issued national ID, passport or your driving licence (usually front and back)
  • A clear selfie with no glare and no funny business (don't worry, we won't share it anywhere)

What if I don't pass KYC? 😧

If at first you don’t succeed - don’t worry about it. If we reject your photos, we’ll send you a notification explaining why you failed, and give you another chance to try again.

And if you weren't born in a region where our services are available, as long as you have a visa or a residence permit letting you remain in any of our supported countries - that’s fine by us.

You will be asked to upload a photo of your home country ID and the visa/residence permit - so that we can verify your right to remain, and continue with your application.  

Is my KYC  documents safe with Revolut? 🔐

We take cybersecurity extremely seriously. No bullshit. Our policies and procedures are designed to protect both your confidentiality, and the security of your information, including your nonpublic personal information.

We process and store your personal data using third-party servers located in secure data centres. And for the geeks out there - all data passed between Revolut mobile apps, our servers, and third parties is 2048-bit SSL encrypted.

Bonus: Revolut was GDPR compliant before that was even a thing.

How long do you store KYC information for? ⏳

GDPR gives you the ‘right to erasure’, which means anyone can ask a company that holds data on them to delete it, under the new regulation.

But since we're an FCA-regulated financial company, we are under regulatory obligations to keep your data for a minimum of 6 years. These retention requirements supersede any right to erasure requests under applicable data protection laws (such as GDPR).

We cannot therefore erase your data in relation to your Revolut Account until after this time period. But, we can assure you that your data will be held safely and securely whilst under our supervision.

Not that we’d ever give you a reason to leave. 👀