Problems with Fintech freezing accounts

Fair point, however, although they’re only approximations, the figures he quotes don’t seem to unrealistic.

I don’t really have an opinion on Fintechs closing accounts, I use Monzo as my main and will do until I’m given a reason not too. I find it interesting though because in my personal life I know more people who have had their accounts closed by high street banks than Fintechs.

A lot of the Monzo closures were also “I’ve only had this account 2 months” etc, so not old ones that might have got in without as stringent cheques.

Maybe Monzo are a lot stricter on a ‘spiders web’ approach. You’ve once given/received money from someone who is proper dodgy so we aren’t going to take the risk with you.

I think most of them are talking bollocks though. They’re always illiterate and haven’t got a clue what they are talking about.


Probably true, and I think they probably have better technology to pick up “linked parties” as well.

NatWest, as an example, can barely process faster payments - so I doubt they have risk analysis software as advanced as the built-from-scratch fintechs.

I signed up in 2018 apparently (feels longer), but I waited for the current account to be fully released before doing so.

They still had to retrospectively request additional details from me post-signing up for KYC purposes, just like Atom and N26 did.

I don’t think they’re the result of regulatory changes either, because none of my traditional banks asked me for this stuff. They already had it.

I signed up in August 2016 but genuinely cant remember what they have ever asked me for, I don’t even remember upgrading from prepaid to current, I know I didn’t switch completely until a while after the current account was born but I don’t remember the initial upgrade

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I remember receiving an email, but doing some googling, they did it through an in app prompt too:

They wanted tax residency and national insurance like N26 and Atom did.

According to their FAQ they need this stuff to comply with regulations. So not collecting this stuff during sign up was absolutely an oversight on their part. It’s because of this that I still wonder if some of those who had their account closed is the result if ignoring the requests for this information.

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Tax residency is something I’m sure I’ve had from Lloyds too.

Me too, also from Lloyds.

But I think it was a paper form sent to me shortly after my account had been opened, and I remember putting my National Insurance Number on it.

I’m sure the NI wasn’t strictly required, but they just probably wanted it to make it easier for me to open an ISA if I ever wanted to?

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I did get that late last year, i found it slightly irritating because I’d already filled it out in my profile a long time prior after I saw it in the settings when messing about

Me too, I don’t recall ever being asked for it but I am sure I filled it in on the profile page when I noticed it was empty once.

I remember it now as it seemed so odd at the time.

This is entire supposition on my part, so please no one view it as anything other.

I wonder whether not having a fully verifiable source of income can lead to sudden account closures? If I take my own and my Wife as an example with Starling, we both have a regular monthly income clearly identified as coming from Government. There are I’m assuming, plenty of customers in the fintech banking area who don’t have a regular verifiable source of income and perhaps this along with irregular payments from different sources, just raises flags?

Furthermore, and let’s be just a little honest here, if you sit down and read through lots of threads about account closures, many of the complaints do seem very poorly constructed and some do err on the unbelievable. I’m not saying they’re all lying, but I’m also not convinced that there’s a 100 percent pile of truth in every complaint either

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This is the thing. AML means that if you’ve sent money to, or had money sent from someone else who subsequently shows up as a bit dodgy, the chain will creep back and suspicion falls on your transfer.

You can’t really do anything about being tarred by the same brush of a complete random.

Maybe Monzo has a higher proportion of people transferring money to strangers, as a more naive generation, who will by implication, get themselves into trouble with their wider contacts list.

The message in that screenshot is appalling in the usual ‘Monzo asks 10 year olds to be their copywriters’ kind of way.

“We have the right to do this as part of our terms and conditions” – whilst true, it just sounds cold and uncaring; not at all the image Monzo like to project

“Unfortunately, we don’t have any more information”. This is pure bullshit. I know it, they know it, everyone knows it. And it’s a terrible sentence as it implies that they don’t actually know why they closed the account


The only thing you can do is use a different “sacrificial” account, at a bank you don’t care about, as a layer of protection. However, this doesn’t really work as unless you also have some level of regular activity then using an account in this way would, in itself, be considered suspicious. It’s a catch 22.

Probably, with gig economy work and the like. It’s generally a younger customer base at fintechs, and they are statistically most likely to fall into this group.

Absolutely, and for all their blog posts on simple language and being clear to customers, it couldn’t be worse!

This is another area where they are totally unwilling to even countenance feedback, though, so nothing can be done. I remember getting in to a spat on their community once about how what they called “simple language” could actually be unclear to the majority of customers, as they were removing industry-standard terms in favour of “simpler” language. I was told simpler is always better, even if it is then more ambiguous and general in meaning. Total group-think, in that they couldn’t see the flaws in their ideas since they were their own ideas and clear to them. And don’t get me started on frauded!


Monzo’s link feature has certainly made me more open to this. Usually for hiring and paying for things within the community where I would have otherwise used PayPal or cash.

It’s so much easier to add and pay payees with Monzo too, which has been an obstacle in the past and tends to restrict folks using bank transfers just for family.

Now I can just make a bank transfer to virtually anyone without any onerous verification procedures.

PayPal is still better if the person is a total stranger, as it gives you that extra layer of separation.

I know it will never happen but I would absolutely love for one of these banks to lay the smackdown on one of these threads and give detailed responses and reasons for why they have closed someone down who “aint done nothing wrong”

I’m sure it would make for interesting reading!

Agreed, all banks should just use plain language that everyone will understand such as:

“Sorry, we’ve closed your account. We could tell you why, but the law prevents us from doing so. Feel free to complain to the Ombudsman should you so wish. We will not return your funds until we have completed our investigations. We do not have a timeline for this”

Or is that just a bit too in yer face?

It would certainly be more direct, but at least the customer would then know what was happening.

There is nothing polite about the deliberately unclear statements which mean nothing that banks use now.