Revolut user in a spin after being asked if he was related to Eamon Ryan

Pricewatch: Reader told his account would be restricted if he did not answer question

Reader had ‘a very bizarre information request’ from the Revolut chat function

Reader had ‘a very bizarre information request’ from the Revolut chat function

 

“Are you related to Eamon Ryan?” is a question that is likely to haunt one reader’s dreams for a long time to come and it may even haunt yours once you get to the end of this tale of high-tech financial woe.

A reader whose surname is Ryan mailed us last week us after getting what he described as “a very bizarre information request” from the Revolut chat function on his app. Now while “Revolut chat function on his app” is a phrase which might make you think he was dealing with 21st century wizardry incapable of getting things wrong, his experience suggests something quite different.

Revolut, as you may or may not know, is a UK-headquartered main digital bank which was only established in 2015 and claims to have already picked up about 1.2 million Irish users since its launch here in 2019. It has, in short, become wildly popular in a very short space of time.

“I have been a Revolut user for three years and it’s the first time the chat function has contacted me,” his email said. The app asked our reader if was related to the leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan “and when I asked why are they asking me that, they asked the question again, not explaining why”.

He says he has had multiple over and backs with the company and the saga has gone on for two weeks “and they have blocked access to my account and my money until I answer them”.

He attached screenshots of his “conversations”. They really have to be seen to be believed.

“Hello, hope you are doing well. As part of our standard security measures, as a regulated financial institution, we need to ask you for some additional information. Could you tell us in you are related to Eamon Ryan. Thank you in advance,” concluded the first message which came out of the blue and was signed by someone identifying themselves as Sonam.

Restricted

Our reader did not respond to this message and exactly 24 hours later a second message from Sonam arrived.

“Hi there. It seems that you did not have a chance to read the message we sent to you. Could you kindly provide us with the details that we requested. We would need these within the next 7 days. If we don’t have the information by then, the access to your Revolut account will need to be restricted. Thank you for your understanding.”

He did not respond to this message either and then a couple of weeks later he sent the company a message asking why his account had been locked.

He then got a message from a person identifying themselves as Fozia. “Hello, I hope you are doing well,” Fozia said. “Apologies for the delay in response. Please allow me some time to look into your case. I will get back to your shortly. Thanks for your understanding.”

A few minutes passed before Fozia sent another message. It said, simply: “Could you tell us if you are related to Eamon Ryan?”

Our reader, reasonably, we reckon, asked why Revolut was asking who he was related to.

That message was ignored so he asked again. This time his query was handled by Vijay. He said that he was “terribly sorry for this inconvenience. The account was flagged by our system and we are not able to process it without the additional details”.

He persisted in asking why Revolut wanted to know who he was related to and pointed out that his relatives – whoever they might be – had absolutely nothing to do with his banking. He suggested that it would be “fair enough to ask for more proof of identification for myself.”

For people unfamiliar with Revolut, it has the capacity to ask people to upload identification documents which it can then review to confirm that the people are who they say they are. The app is also password protected.

He then got another message which ignored his suggestion about using more conventional means to establish his identity. “Hi there,” the new message said. “My name is Rygey and I want to start by appreciating the time you spent waiting. I am hear to assist you today so please give me a moment to check everything and I will do my best to come shortly with the reply.”

After a short while Rygey was back. “I just want you to know that I have already raised your concern to our relevant team, however this might take a while but no worries I will keep you posted right away. :-)”

Then 44 minutes later Rygey was back with a question.

Can you guess what it was?

“Hi, are you related to Eamon Ryan, the politician.”

Demand

Our reader pointed out that he had been locked out of his account for 11 days and again he asked why it was relevant if he was related to Eamon Ryan . . . or indeed anyone else in the whole wide world.

Rygey sent another message in response.

“Usually, I would stay longer with you and answer all of your follow-up questions but we’re experiencing a high volume of requests due to overwhelming demand today. That is why I will resolve this chat for now and you will see the option to rate my help today. No worries, you can reopen this chat at any time. If there is anything urgent which you need help with feel free to come back to us. Have a nice day.”

Our reader persisted and he pointed out that he still had not been given a response or an update that could be called adequate.

Rygey said the update was: “they are asking that question”.

Finally, Rygey concluded the exchange by saying; “Apologies for the hassle, however you will just be needing to answer that question.”

And there it ended.

Now, while we were really tempted to mail our reader back and ask if he was related to Eamon Ryan, we resisted the temptation.

We contacted Revolut and were sent the following statement:

“Under the EU’s 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, all financial institutions including Revolut are required to perform ‘Enhanced Due Diligence’ on so-called ‘Politically Exposed Persons’. Revolut takes these obligations extremely seriously. As part of these obligations, financial institutions are legally required to establish whether a customer is a close relative or a close associate of a Politically Exposed Person. In this case, Revolut’s customer shares a name with a relative of an Irish politician and on that basis the customer was asked whether he was related to that politician.

“We accept that we should have explained to our customer that we are required by law to establish whether or not he was connected to a PEP. We are updating our processes to ensure that this is made clear in the future, along with other improvements to the legally-required process of PEP screening.

“Revolut will be reaching out to our customer directly to apologise for the lack of explanation given and to address any issues with his account.”

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