Why can I block my account and what can I do?

Has your bank blocked a check transfer, transfer, or activity in your account? If there is no problem with cash flow, the reason may be the fight against money laundering. And don’t think that only financial tycoons are under attack. These checks can affect anyone. The point is to quickly unlock a situation that is not always easy.

Duty of care

Banking operations are controlled by the government. Thus, “European regulations impose a duty of vigilance on financial institutions, which must know all their customers and monitor their transactions to combat money laundering and terrorist financing,” said Ralph Roggenback, legal expert at the European Consumer Center in France (CEC). ).

This explains why we need proof of identity and proof of address to open an account, and why our identity is checked again to provide a checkbook or bank or withdraw cash at the checkout, or that proof of address is needed to make a transfer. outside the European Economic Area. Similarly, algorithms invisibly perform many checks of account movement.

Suspicion and control

And some operations can cause increased control. According to Ralph Roggenback: “These are usually transactions that are allocated an unusual amount. The lack of payment for the object, or the fact of receiving money from certain high-risk countries may also be alarming. Many criteria come into play.

The bank may then ask you for supporting documents to verify the nature of the funds, even if it means a delay in the transaction, waiting for your explanation. Therefore, you will need to quickly provide a real estate purchase agreement, deed of gift, certificate of loan repayment or transfer of your shares, confirming the origin of the money.

Be careful, because in the absence or lack of evidence, a financial institution must file a suspicion with Tracfin, a French anti-fraud organization that may initiate more in-depth proceedings.

Drifts online

Going further, some neo-banks without hesitation suspend the account or even close it until the offense is confirmed or canceled, but, of course, without explanation. “You can never be sure of justification, because institutions are happy to refer to non-compliance with the rules,” – said Ralph Roggenback. However, the European Consumer Center in France “was warned about this practice in 2018 and considered hundreds of cases in 2021,” according to the expert.

How to react?

The CEC makes some recommendations on its website Europe-consommateurs.eu to avoid long-term account blocking. First of all, you should always indicate a clear object in the transfer or transfer of funds, but also respond if your bank requests supporting documents, checking that it is not phishing. It is also advisable to transfer money to another account, even if it means a quick opening as soon as you are notified of a quick close.

Finally, don’t just chat online. If the request does not pass quickly, look for other contacts of the bank (customer service at the head office), then go through a consumer intermediary. Feel free to contact the Consumer Protection Association or the CEC of France, which is competent if the bank is located in another European country.