Discovering that your account has been blocked can be a distressing experience. You might not know why it’s happened and can feel powerless to address the issue – all of which is why we never take this action lightly. But all banks and financial service companies have to block accounts from time to time. And only when it’s the right thing to do.
We know this can cause a stir on review websites; reports of blocked accounts can be alarming. But we want to clarify some things and counter some misleading information. The truth is, we will never block an account for no reason, and when we do it is never to defraud or steal from anyone. So, we’re here to share some crucial information as to why this (very, very rarely) happens, and how you can respond.
Regulations are here to protect you. And as an e-money institution we are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). That means we need to follow their clearly defined rules and codes of conduct. The FCA makes sure we follow the law of the land – something that’s designed to protect people and companies.
Specifically, we have to abide by anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing rules. These rules make it mandatory for us to respond in a particular way when we detect or suspect that a Soldo account is being used for criminal activity. And, as this protects people from terrorists, money launderers and criminals, that’s a good thing.
Our fraud team and systems work hard to identify potentially fraudulent access to Soldo accounts. This is an extraordinarily rare occurrence. But if we spot something suspect, we will freeze an account to make sure the person attempting to access the account is the right person. When we’re satisfied you are who you say you are, we’ll automatically grant access again.
We freeze accounts if we suspect any kind of criminal activity
Unfortunately, we can’t detail every reason why an account might be blocked. We also can’t explain how we spot fraudulent activity. Criminals can be crafty, and we don’t want to give them any chance to get around our processes. But we can describe roughly when we might freeze a Soldo account.
If a bank or another institution flags a customer to us as having been linked to financial crime in their own systems, we’ll freeze their Soldo account to carry out our own investigation.
There are a few tell-tale signs that an account is being used for money laundering or other criminal activities. We freeze accounts if we think this is happening to protect people’s money.
In financial crime investigations, the police have the right to instruct us to block access to an account. We comply with requests from law enforcement.
As soon as we’ve done that, we’re unable to do anything at all until we hear from the NCA again.
It’s easy to see why this is disheartening. The rules are very clear that we cannot provide information regarding the reason for an account being blocked. We’re not trying to be difficult, but we have to follow the letter of the law.
That doesn’t stop criminals from trying to get access to their funds by pestering our team or asking others to do the same. This might be as straightforward as making up lies and stories about companies or individuals suffering, but it also means placing comments in prominent places like Trustpilot. We’ve just got to accept it. But there’s a reason why you should think twice about the legitimacy of these kinds of reviews.
In some exceptional circumstances, accounts may look suspicious but when we dig a little deeper, the activity is perfectly reasonable, legal and explicable. If this happens, we’ll hold our hands up, unblock the account and apologise to the customer.
Financial services are regulated for a reason. After the inaction that led to the financial crisis, regulators stepped in to stop activities that could reasonably risk people’s money or create illegitimate gains for unscrupulous people.
To play our part, we follow the rules. It means good people don’t lose out to criminal activity, and you can trust that honest money is always safe with Soldo.