Restricted accounts

Decent article from Starling regarding restricted accounts:

Nice article.
I’ve noticed there are some people that reply to everything starling post moaning their account has been frozen, so they needed an article like this to send people to.

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This is a much better ‘blog’ then Monzo’s one.

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I really liked Laurie. He used to come on the Starling community occasionally and even though fincrime people cant really say much about what they do, his posts were always really interesting and explained what he could.

I’ve always felt the whole issue with the Monzo blogs is that they go through so many layers of drafting as they’re so attached to these outdated ideas around tone of voice (which is weird for a young company) that by the time we get to read them it reads like theyve been written by a bot to ensure they hit all the right SM buttons and are 1000% on message. It’s like they’re not writing things they think anyone will actually read, or want to read, just things that will hit the sweet spots of the google and SM company algorithms and get put in front of as many eyes as possible.

I’m sure Starling’s blogs go via marketing to be checked and tweaked but I get the sense that there’s a real person behind them actually writing them, for better, or for worse on occasion when they’re a bit waffly or disjointed at times. Logan did a great one last year that went through the entire process of a card transaction and for such a dry topic it was really interesting.


I am in process of switching account to starling. What does worry me since I started switch is the reviews I have read on trusted pilot. Nearly every day or so this subject appears.
I work in financial services and work very close with my financial crime team so fully understand suspicious behaviour.
What I dont get is the level of restrictions it seems very high and as they say “a last resort”.
A quick read of even the last review added today. Someone with 1 transfer having account restricted for 2 months (seems impossible to me), then for Starling to retain and keep it (again seems impossible) but time and time again the same appears… these “last resorts” surely are not happening daily, there not taking someone’s money frozen for months…

Me… I will be running it as my full current account and savings jars.

Money will flow between “goals” - large payments will go to our credit card as we use this for points.

My wife likes her concerts with friends and does receive money from friends to cover costs.

Once a year I receive a large bonus from work.

Surely this wouldn’t create restrictions yet based on reviews anything is possible.

Have I made a mistake moving to starling

I think you are reading too much into TrustPilot reviews.

Having randomly moved large amounts (£6,000 to £10,000) through Monzo and Starling at different points in a short period of time (usually from/to a Savings account or credit cards) I have never triggered any restrictions.

As long as Starling knows where the money is from - like your employer or a credit card company - then I can’t see any issues. Also transfers from non suspicious accounts shouldn’t trigger anything either unless your wifes friends regularly send thousands to her.


I don’t think the risk is there for legitimate transactions, £40k went through starling for me last year with absolutely no problem. The risk is suspicious transactions and just money going back and forwards, being spent, transferred etc isn’t suspicious.

Sometimes the money went in I sent it out minutes later.

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Thank you all. I also messaged Starling within app before sending message on here with basically same message to see what I get back as if they want to see payslip for example in August I can do that etc.
Just bit alarmed about the stuff was reading but feel reassured by your comments.
I know they need to be vague in reply on reviews but the same “we only do this as a last resort” comments appear multiple times a week so I was just worried.

Just need my switch to go through fine and I’m up and running

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I did get a reply from starling advising it should be ok but they cannot guarantee it wont be restricted. Pretty rubbish reply in all honesty but I will see how it goes!

To be fair I’m not sure that they could make any guarantee. The decision on whether to restrict will likely be based on a highly complex algorithm with many variables. I’d expect them to be able to say that based on the pattern of activity you describe it would be unlikely, but they couldn’t promise it.

(It’s not exactly the same situation, but a few years back I had to review the KYC/AML transaction surveillance and blacklist logic for a small investment bank and it took literally months of effort to unpick all of the scenarios that would trigger a transaction alert (in order to work out if they were robust)).


Sure thing, but the 5% that isn’t clear is a bugger!

If 95% are criminals then I would not like to have to guess how many accounts they freeze, because I know of a number of false positives with Monzo

I personally would never take anything a CEO says as gospel when they only base an answer on what they are told, unless it’s in there area of expertise and fraud isn’t Tom’s.

The fact watch dog mentioned issue there is going to be issues.

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Can echo other sentiments from here

I pay in £650~ a month in cash into my Starling account and they’ve never bothered me once with a source of funds check. Also have my student loan paid in and again there’s never any hassle from them

Legitimate things don’t typically catch on AML checks

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Like @Recchan, I have quite a lot of money going through my Starling account with no problems.
Starling has been our main “travel” account since we opened it

  • £250 a week is cycled through the account to meet the pay in requirements of my Nationwide Flex Direct (for the 5% interest)

  • My share of our holiday savings is paid in weekly by standing order

  • My partners share of our holiday savings is paid in by cash, when she can get to the post office
    (She just prefers to save the cash and then deposit it when she has time)

This money is then transferred into a savings goal to pay for all our travel

  • When we have booked our travel, large amounts are transferred form Starling to Nationwide to pay the credit card (S75 protection)

  • Our holiday spending cash is also deposited into Starling
    (again irregular amounts at irregular intervals)

This is a sole account, in my name, yet it is my partner who handles all the cash deposits, and as she has always been the one to deal with foreign currency when we are away, she makes all the card payments and cash withdrawals when we are away too…

We have done this from day 1 and have never had the slightest problem with being asked about account activity…


I’ve never once had any issue with Starling in regards to this either and as Starling say in their blog post, an account is only ever restricted as a last resort anyway. As long as they can clearly see that the funds in your account are coming from legitimate sources then nobody has anything to fear.

They are following the exact same rules and regulations that the high street banks have to follow and I’m sure there’s plenty of cases of this happening at high street banks too if they get suspicious about an individual’s account. It’s because the fintech banks have a much more online presence, we seem to hear about it more.


Is it the case that Monzo is more risk averse, is it that criminals are better able to exploit Monzo or is it that Monzo has a higher media profile than Starling and is more likely to be the subject of stories?