Article updated March 2021
There's nothing more frustrating than discovering that your Revolut account has been locked. But why does this happen? 🤔
Revolut is a financial services company dealing with other people's money. Naturally, we have to stick to the rules and regulations governing financial services.
In the UK we are governed by the UK financial regulator - the Financial Conduct Authority or FCA. In Lithuania, which will serve our European customers after Brexit, we are governed by the rules of the Bank of Lithuania. Both regulators' rules are designed to ensure that:
✅ There is a competitive landscape that supports innovation
✅ Fair financial services are provided for both customers and businesses
✅ Financial crime can be detected and prevented wherever possible
Protecting our customers and their associates from financial crime is the job of our crime-fighting, fraud preventing compliance team.
Makes sense, but what does compliance do? 🕵
The compliance department is responsible for detecting and, more importantly, preventing financial crime. As we have over 13 million users, we can't just handle this process manually. So, we built a system that does most of the heavy lifting for us - our financial crime prevention and detection system (don't worry, no one actually uses that name).
This system scans transactions, top-ups, etc and flags anything that could be a suspicious activity, until a compliance agent can take a look and make sure everything is fine.
Our compliance team also liaises with external partners and intelligence networks, to detect and remove fraudulent accounts quickly, before any damage can be done.
Occasionally our models, like any monitoring system, can highlight genuine activity as suspicious. That's when skilled reviewers may ask you for more information so that we can get to the bottom of the issue as soon as we can.
So why do some accounts get locked? 🔒
If the system raises too many flags, from our own analysis or information from our partners, accounts can be locked. The Financial Times reported on how this happens to all bank customers in this article from July 2020.
Then the system will temporarily lock an account and place it in a queue, until a compliance agent can review the case - after all, machines can only do so much.
Why do some accounts take longer to review than others? ⏳
To unlock an account, the agent must review each red flag, making sure that everything is 100% compliant. The review mostly happens in minutes, without the user even realising that their account is being checked by our compliance team.
But sometimes this process can take longer. This usually happens because we need to get the perspective of external partners on a case and this can cause delays.
And why isn't customer support helping me to unlock my account? 🤯
As much as our support agents would like to help, they don't have the power to unlock accounts. This responsibility is reserved only for compliance agents. 🔐
Unfortunately under current regulations, we are not allowed to give out any details about an account that's under investigation - even if you're reading this post in the hope that you can somehow manage to convince an agent to share more details.
This means that our agents cannot share information on why your account has been locked, or how long it will be until the review is over - the law is the law and it applies to all of us. 👨🏻⚖️
So, what can I do if my account gets locked? 🤷🏻♀️
Once again, we'd love to share how we actually track crime behind the scenes and tell you what to avoid, but if we did, fraudsters would be able to reverse engineer our techniques and get away untouched.
But it isn't all bad news. If you do find yourself locked out of your account and see the message of doom on screen, but you're confident you haven't done anything wrong, you can:
✅ Follow the steps on your screen, which might be to verify your identity or to confirm a piece of financial information
✅ Make sure that if you’re uploading documents that images and text are clear, they are your documents and they are up to date and valid
✅ Message us on the in-app chat to check on the progress of your case. You will need to type 'live agent' to speak to support directly
✅ Get documents for your recent transactions ready, so that when we reach you, you’ll have them close at hand!
Learn more about Money laundering and what Revolut does to prevent it - from the RevAcademy 🤓
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