Recently I’ve noticed an upsurge in threads related to financial crime, fraud, KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering). I wanted to share a few things and hopefully put these discussions to rest.
Firstly, I understand there is great interest in this topic. It is something that impacts everybody, and something which people can experience in a very negative way if they are ever defrauded.
As an introduction to how we approach signing up customers and KYC, you can read this blog post. We take financial crime, including the KYC process and our customer’s financial security, very seriously. At the same time, we take the customer experience very seriously and want to ensure that as few people as possible are impacted by our methods of trying to spot and stop financial crime and fraud.
One of the reasons for releasing the blog post above was to try to be as open as we can be about an area of banking that is not often talked about. As well as that blog post, you can also read this one about fighting fraud with machine learning and this one about how we fight financial crime.
A few common themes have been popping up on the forum, and I wanted to address each one in turn:
For those of you who have experienced blocked cards or declined transactions - we do very occasionally block genuine customers accidentally, and for this we are truly very sorry. The quickest way to get this dealt with is to speak to customer support. Bringing it up on the forum actually slows down the process because your query bounces around between a few teams. Our customer support team are there to help you and are the people who can deal with this quickest.
For those interested in how our financial crime and fraud prevention systems actually work - please read the blog posts above! We run a series of checks when everyone signs up, we have machine learning engines and rules that look at transactions and behaviours on accounts, and we run a series of ongoing checks and risk assessments (which could include reaching out to you with a few questions). As I am sure you can appreciate, we cannot expand on what those rules are, or what metrics we use in our machine learning engine. If we did then it would be incredibly easy for criminals to attack us.
For those interested in whether it is possible to open an account with a fake ID - we run checks on IDs to ensure that they are authentic. It should not be possible to signup with a fake ID.
For those of you who are non-Monzo customers who have been defrauded by Monzo customers - we are truly sorry about that. As mentioned above, we run lots of checks and monitor transactions and behaves continuously. An interesting trend we have seen is that criminals are willing to use their own identities to commit fraud. This makes it hard to spot and stop before it happens. I can assure you that we are compliant with all financial crime regulation and perform necessary checks on all customers. Unfortunately social engineering fraud or advanced fee fraud, or indeed most other types of fraud, are quite common. Stopping this from happening through Monzo accounts is something that the financial crime team are passionate about.
And for anybody else - whilst we try to be transparent in everything we do at Monzo, there are some things that we just can’t talk about in great depth. As our blog posts hopefully show, we do talk about financial crime as much as we can, and we certainly plan on releasing more blog posts in the future.
Hopefully this will answer a lot of questions. Whilst financial crime is super interesting, I am going to ask that all community members refrain from demanding answers to questions that we just can’t provide. If you have an issue with your account, please do get in touch with customer support through the app.
If you have an concerns about this then please feel free to reach out to me, or another of the moderators.
If you have any specific concerns related to your account, please reach out to us via the app or email@example.com