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Revolut: Newly declining transactions due to ‘compliance requirements’

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  • points_worrier

    I have been using Revolut for years when visiting southern Africa, and had been doing transactions in USD in Zimbabwe a few days ago. Today one was declined due to ‘compliance reasons’ and only say they do not ‘support transactions in this geography to comply with existing regulations’.

    This is clearly new, and I was given no notice of it.
    I have put in a complaint to get a refund pro-rata of my metal plan, as I only purchased it for these transactions. In the chat Revolut are unable to say what regulations they are referring to. All my other UK cards work fine still. Anyone have any idea what regulations they are referring to? Or what else is going on?

    Harrier25

    Being the very unstable economic county that Zimbabwe currently is, could have something to do with Revolut’s decision.

    JDB

    @points_worrier the regulations they are referring to will be UK/US/EU sanctions.

    points_worrier

    @JDB, so whilst there are sanctions, they are against specific parts of the government/government officials, not the country itself. The situation is unchanged for the last year or two, all the time I have been using Revolut without issue. And all my other UK cards still work fine, and haven’t changed. There is nothing on the Revolut website (and they haven’t contacted me) about not being able to use it in Zimbabwe.
    So this makes me think Revolut have changed their policy themselves (or changed their view on interpreting regulations, inconsistently with other UK institutions), rather than anything new regulatory.
    So frustrating!
    Fortunately HSBC Global account works fine, and is almost a fee-free replacement for Revolut.

    Also a warning for anyone who wants to rely on one bank (especially a fintech one) when traveling.

    JDB

    @points_worrier the sanctions regime is a little more complex than just specific people and as Revolut is in the final stages of its UK banking licence application that it effectively needs in order to get a US one, it isn’t surprising to see the firm err on the side of caution. It may also be owing to the way they are structured there. Revolut does mention the sanctions vs Zimbabwe on its website.

    points_worrier

    The only thing it mentions on its website is restricting:

    ‘the provision of funding to/from the governments of Belarus, Libya, Sudan or Zimbabwe;’

    This is not relevant here, and even if they have decided to err on the side of caution whilst working their way through US regulatory processes (a hurdle HSBC with their Global Money Account have also cleared, and not restricted such transactions), the least they could do would be to email me to say I can no longer make the transactions. But they didn’t. Poor show.

    JDB

    @points_worrier does that not include the central bank and or state owned banks?

    points_worrier

    @JDB It might do.
    Most of the banking services (accounts and card machines to pay for things) here are provided by Stanbic Bank/First Capital Bank (ex Barclays)/Standard Chartered, none of which are state-owned banks.

    Harrier25

    Stay safe in Zimbabwe, @points_worrier. After reading information on the Government website it doesn’t sound like the safest place to be at the moment.

    TooPoorToBeHere

    Revolut routinely lie about this. They have always had a list of banned countries and they have always lied about what was on it.

    I was told by support specifically that the card works anywhere that cards are accepted, and so loaded it with funds before heading off to the Bahamas…which, it turned out, is blacklisted by Revolut and no transactions are accepted.

    I can recommend [Transfer]Wise if you want a travel card issued by a grown-up organisation. Revolut is a toy. Monzo, also, works reliably for me (although it only holds sterling, there are no foreign transaction fees and the FX rates are good) in ‘challenging’ geographies (I would hardly call the Bahamas ‘challenging’ really) where Revolut fails.

    Lady London

    TBH I really hope Revolut doesn’t get a UK banking licence. Their operational standards and communication really do not seem up to decent standards.

    In fact if they are approved it would make me seriously question whether the UK banking system itself can be relied on.

    JDB

    Revolut routinely lie about this. They have always had a list of banned countries and they have always lied about what was on it.

    I was told by support specifically that the card works anywhere that cards are accepted, and so loaded it with funds before heading off to the Bahamas…which, it turned out, is blacklisted by Revolut and no transactions are accepted.

    I can recommend [Transfer]Wise if you want a travel card issued by a grown-up organisation. Revolut is a toy. Monzo, also, works reliably for me (although it only holds sterling, there are no foreign transaction fees and the FX rates are good) in ‘challenging’ geographies (I would hardly call the Bahamas ‘challenging’ really) where Revolut fails.

    It’s just so absurd and unthinking to accuse Revolut of lying – an agent made a mistake, but you could easily have found the information for yourself. The Bahamas is on a very short EU blacklist of non-cooperative countries because they refuse to share tax information; it is therefore considered ‘challenging’ to use your expression. A great many financial organisations understandably refuse to operate in the Bahamas for this reason. I am absolutely no fan of Revolut but aggressively to accuse companies like this because you haven’t checked properly is not reasonable.

    JDB

    TBH I really hope Revolut doesn’t get a UK banking licence. Their operational standards and communication really do not seem up to decent standards.

    In fact if they are approved it would make me seriously question whether the UK banking system itself can be relied on.

    I think they are now quite close to getting one. The founder even just renounced his Russian citizenship. I don’t know how much you know about the obtention of UK banking licences, but it is an exceptionally lengthy and exacting process and has taken Revolut even longer than most. They have been required to make enormous changes to be continue the application. While it isn’t the sort of bank I would use as my bank, when you refer to “operational standards and communication” I am not sure that the UK High Street banks are generally considered to do too well on that front, yet if you have ever tried to deal with banks as a customer in Italy, France, Germany, the US or South America, the products and standards here are very much superior. The legal protections and low cost regulatory recourses we have in the UK when things go wrong are also just so vastly superior to other countries. You are super critical of the FOS, but while they may be very slow, they get there in the end, and provide a free and independent service you won’t find elsewhere.

    Lady London

    I do agree with most of what you’ve just said @JDB but I don’t think UK High Street banks are as badly bad, nor as frequently badly bad as the reports we’ve had on Revolut (and my own limited experience of Revolut) over the years now.

    So No they don’t meet standards in the UK market. If Ombudsmen and regulators don’t want to be overwhelmed with complaints about Revolut locking people’s money up and then failing to communicate for weeks and even months whilst blocking the account – for no good reason – then Revolut should never be allowed a banking licence in the UK. On the other hand, we have the way Creation has behaved, and the seemingly infinite indulgence of this by the FOS, so who knows.

    I’d certainly agree with you about France and the US – their retail banking systems seem incredibly oldfashioned but they seem to serve their markets without the very high proportion of unexpected induced nonfunctionality of accounts we keep hearing about Revolut perpetrating. Revolut feels like an old East European mindset behind new Baltic States fintech.

    TooPoorToBeHere

    It’s just so absurd and unthinking to accuse Revolut of lying – an agent made a mistake, but you could easily have found the information for yourself.

    No, sir, that is not the case. Their policy is to lie. Easily found as they had (at the time) a clear statement on their website and a long forum thread full of people experiencing a different reality.

    AirMax

    Revolut are great for their disposable virtual cards, when you want to pay for stuff on 2nd rate shopping websites

    points_worrier

    Well revolut have refunded my £120 metal fee in full (I had got 4-5 months use out of it). No explanation (yet) of which regulations are stopping them (and not my others banks) from allowing transactions in Zimbabwe. But with the HSBC global account working fine (and no £120 annual fee), I am not bothered. I will keep revolut for the occasional disposable virtual card use, but likely little else.

    Luca M

    As UK banking systems protection vs Italy and France was mentioned, and in particular timing, it is worth noting that Fast Payment guarantees came about as A EU initiative through SEPA and the UK internal version has bettered it considerably (although the guaranteed timeframes are the same, in reality in the UK fast payments are instantaneous and free whilst SEPA Urgent payments are a pay for service.

    Also the deposit protection was a EU wide initiative

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