After the forced stop of operations with new customers and the offer of new products and services to existing customers due to the provision adopted at the end of March by the Bank of Italy, N26 returns to the headlines because in the past few hours, several customers have complained online the abrupt closure of your account.
No transfers or the possibility of withdrawing cashjust an email that communicates the immediate closure of the account due to a violation of the general terms and conditions which however is not specified: this is the experience reported by users, so far about twenty and on average with only one review behind them, which they entrusted their complaints to the review site Trustpilot.
Screenshots of the email communication are also present on the unofficial Facebook page of the Italian community of N26, ma the question would not be confined only to Italy: also the German site Handelsblatt Today it reports episodes similar to those reported above, with the sudden communication followed by the inability to access their funds.
As the German site also notes, termination without notice is only permitted in very specific cases; which is why, given that certain customers would have been asked to send proof of the origin of the funds, some have speculated that the events are related to the tightening on the anti-money laundering rules requested by the Bank of Italy.
Last month, at the end of March, the Bank of Italy imposed a halt to some N26 operations because, at the end of an inspection activity in the period between October 25, 2021 and December 15, 2021, had identified “significant shortcomings in compliance with anti-money laundering legislation”.
This is a temporary stop waiting to establish whether the initiatives implemented to correct the shortcomings highlighted will be deemed adequate by the supervisory body. During this period N26 will not be able to undertake transactions with new customers or offer new products and services to those who were already customers; Bank of Italy explicitly cited as an example the activities related to cryptocurrencies, a sector in which N26 is moving. Also in Germany last November, the German supervisory authority raised similar objections to fintech.
For its part, N26 had taken note of the imposed ban and confirmed its willingness to continue to intensify investments in anti-money laundering, publishing a post on its official website. Among the initiatives already adopted to improve the prevention of money laundering, the strengthening of dedicated staff, the development of a supporting IT infrastructure, the use of machine learning and the strengthening of transaction monitoring were mentioned.
Contacted by our editorial staff about the sudden closures complained by online users, N26 responded with an official statement which we report below:
As an authorized and supervised banking institution, N26 is legally obliged to monitor its customers and their current accounts, including transactions with them, in order to ensure the security of all N26 accounts. The banking sector in which N26 operates is strictly regulated and we are obliged to follow the procedures common to all European banks.
In case of detection of unusual behavior or activities or in case of violation of our general conditions of contract, N26 is obliged to block or close current accounts, acting immediately and taking all necessary actions and safety measures.
Cases of this kind are a small part of N26’s customers and the reasons for blocking or closing an account can be different, including, for example: using a personal account for business expenses, opening a business account in absence of a valid VAT number, failure of the customer to reply to the request for additional information on the transactions carried out, mismatch between the customer’s economic capacity and the type of transactions carried out or the receipt by the authorities of reports relating to a customer’s transactions.
We cannot disclose the reasons for closing current accounts because they represent sensitive information relating to customers, but on the rare occasions when we close an account, we take care of directly contacting the individual customers concerned to inform them of the current situation.