Why does Revolut restrict accounts?

Security · 28 February 2024Richard Johnson

At Revolut, our top priority is to keep your finances safe. And this means we may occasionally have to restrict accounts — a last resort to protect you from threats and make sure your money’s secure.

In this guide, we’ll go into detail on:

  • The measures we take to keep your money safe
  • The reasons we restrict accounts — including to prevent fraud
  • How we launch investigations into account restrictions within a few hours
  • How we do everything we can to unlock your account as quickly as possible

Our advanced machine-learning models and our fraud protection team work side by side, flagging and investigating suspicious accounts and activity, helping to keep your account secure. We restrict accounts to follow rules, regulations, and laws that protect you and us from illegal activities like money laundering and terror financing. It’s also how we’ve saved customers an estimated £200M in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2022 alone.

Our team’s here to guide you through what restrictions mean, why they happen, and what to do if they do happen.

We also refer to restricting an account ‌as ‘blocking’ or ‘freezing’ an account — they all mean the same thing.

What does restricting a Revolut account mean?

When your account is restricted, it means that activity within it is limited. Actions like making transactions, sending and receiving transfers, or withdrawing money might be temporarily unavailable. This is to prevent any unauthorised or potentially harmful activity within your account.

What happens when your account is restricted?

Features are limited. While certain in-app features won’t be available, you’ll always have access to essential functions — like contacting our customer support team via chat, or uploading verification documents we need to check.

We’ll need to verify specific information. To restore full access to your account, we may sometimes ask for additional information or documents to verify your identity or certain transactions.

Why we sometimes restrict Revolut accounts

We know it's inconvenient and sometimes frustrating if someone you know has their account restricted — or even more, if you experience this yourself. So the question is: why do we do it?

Well, giving you the financial services you deserve and simplifying all things money isn't just about the features we offer. It’s also about keeping you safe from financial crime, and being open about how our security works.

Below are a few reasons why your account might be blocked, and what we may need from you to unblock the account:

1. Your own financial safety

The fact is — your safety is our number one priority.

We try to stop fraud before it happens. If we see any high-risk transactions, we'll usually alert you, helping you spot scams and fraudsters. It’s one of the multiple measures we take before restricting your account.

Restricting a Revolut account is one of our strongest defences against financial crime. It helps us protect you from potential fraud or account takeover. We have controls in place that recognise fraudulent activity, working alongside our fraud prevention team, protecting your account. After all — if an account's frozen, no money can pass between you and the scammers or fraudsters who want it.

Why might we restrict your account for your financial safety?

1. Our monitoring systems flagged your account for review, and:

  • identified your account as a potential victim of fraud
  • has seen activity on your account that’s suspicious or irregular
  • spotted a suspicious login, or out-of-the-ordinary transactions

After we flag your account, we might ask you to upload more information or documents, or we might need to verify payments on your account.

2. You’re using platforms like Binance P2P, which can be exploited by fraudsters and criminals. Find out how to spot crypto scams and stay safe with peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms.

2. Following laws and regulations

As a financial institution, we have to follow laws and regulations. Sometimes, like other financial institutions, we have to restrict accounts to make sure we're following these laws. Law enforcement agencies might also ask us to restrict accounts. If this happens, we may have to do this with little or no information, which can be frustrating for you and us. Whatever the reason, we'll do our best to explain the situation.

All regulated financial institutions must restrict or close accounts in certain circumstances. Whether digital or on the high street, we’re all bound by the same rules and must restrict accounts when the law requires us to.

Why might we restrict an account due to laws and regulations?

1. We're following Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations

  • This law makes sure we flag anyone that looks like they’re using their Revolut account to launder money, or using it for any illegal activities
  • To unblock your account, we'll ask you to confirm financial information or verify some of your transactions
  • We've received a court order or a request from a relevant authority, like a tax authority or crime agency, for example, to freeze funds in your account

2. We're following Know Your Customer (KYC) rules

  • KYC regulations mean we need to make sure you are who you say you are when you open an account with us — and also sometimes during transactions. This helps protect you from identity theft and fraud. So we may ask for your latest government-issued ID, or proof of address.
  • To unblock your account, you'll just need to upload your most up-to-date identity documents
  • As a licensed financial institution, we can't offer accounts to customers without a valid ID, and sometimes we're duty-bound to ask more questions.

3. We suspect you're violating our terms and conditions or abusing our products based on your account activity.

What can I do if my account is restricted?

If you do find your Revolut account blocked or restricted, you should:

  • Follow any steps or notifications in-app, like verifying your identity or confirming a piece of financial information
  • If requested, upload documents with clear text and images, that are up to date and valid, and that prove your own identity
  • Message us via our in-app chat to find out if there are any details you need to provide
  • Get documents for your recent transactions ready, so when we reach out to you, you'll have them to hand

Please remember: we restrict accounts to protect you and to follow regulations. Both help us all stay safe.

We aim ‌to unblock restricted accounts within 3 hours

If your account is temporarily restricted, we'll ask you to check or share information in-app so we can review your account activity. We always aim to lift restrictions within 3 hours after receiving all the info we need — 24/7, any time of day — so you're not left without access to your money for long.

We recommend you unblock your account by:

Making sure you upload all the information we need in-app when we ask (we'll also email you with instructions on what to do).

We'll give you as much information as we can about why we've restricted your account and make sure your access is restored as soon as possible. Unless an authorised party (like a court) has told us, we'll never keep your funds frozen for any longer than needed to complete our review.

Regulations that keep us all safe

We're here to change the way you money. This means everything related to money — including how we protect it, and how we handle threats to your (and our company’s) safety. Everyone deserves to use their Revolut account without worrying about scams or fraud. And everyone should ‌be able to use their account knowing their money is being looked after.

From keeping your data encrypted and having biometric security as standard on all accounts, to following regulations — it all helps protect us from the bad guys. While restrictions aren’t ideal, they help you stay protected and keep your money safe.

Can the Revolut customer service team reactivate my account?

Our customer service team’s here to help you in any way they can — but they can’t lift restrictions on your account. The best way to get full access to your account back is to follow the in-app instructions and wait for our teams to verify the details you upload.

Why specific details aren’t shared: we can’t always tell you the exact reason your account is restricted. This is down to legal requirements or ongoing investigations — it’s how we make sure every incident is handled with care. We do ask you to be patient while we investigate your case.

What you can expect: as soon as we make sure your account and your money is safe and secure, we'll reactivate your account as quickly as possible.

Why do some accounts take longer to review than others?

It can take slightly longer than we expect for our teams to complete our standard security checks of an account. This usually happens when we need to work with external partners to complete the review, which may cause a delay.

How you can help: while we can't promise to immediately reactivate your account, we handle each case carefully. Replying to our messages and providing the information we need in-app helps resolve any issues much faster.

Always available, 24/7

One thing every Revolut customer can rely on is access to our award-winning 24/7 customer support. Our multi-lingual support team's ready to talk through any issues you may have through our encrypted in-app chat — in over 100 languages.

You can usually expect a response within 2 minutes. We understand the urgency when you're talking about stressful and time-sensitive situations like having your Revolut account restricted.

For any questions about an existing account restriction, our support team's ready to give you all the help and direction you need.

For more information, please read our terms and conditions.

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