Revolut is fine, as long as your surname is not Ryan or Varadkar or Martin.

Brendan Burgess


“I have been a Revolut user for three years and it’s the first time the chat function has contacted me,” his email said. The app asked our reader if was related to the leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan “and when I asked why are they asking me that, they asked the question again, not explaining why”.

He says he has had multiple over and backs with the company and the saga has gone on for two weeks “and they have blocked access to my account and my money until I answer them”.

He attached screenshots of his “conversations”. They really have to be seen to be believed.

Gordon Gekko

Frequent Poster
Ascertaining whether someone is a PEP (Politically Exposed Person) is absolutely standard fare in financial services.

Yes, the Revolut guys should have explained this better, but writing to the Irish Times about it (and them bothering to write about it) smacks of pedantry.

Ryan is such a common name, it seems a bit silly, unless the customer’s name was actually Eamonn Ryan, or the first staff member was just kidding.

But let’s say my surname is Higgins, I’m trying to open a Revolut account, and they ask me whether I’m related to the President of Ireland. I can be a normal decent skin and say “no, I’m not”. Or I can throw my toys out of my pram, refuse to answer the question, and write a letter to the Irish Times.

Maybe he should “talk to Joe” as well?

Last edited:

Gordon Gekko

Frequent Poster
What happens if you say you are related I wonder. And does it count if you are third cousin twice removed. Like some of the Biden's in Mayo.

There’s just a higher level of scrutiny on the account in terms of compliance monitoring etc.

You don’t get turned away.


Frequent Poster
So does this affect customers of AIB and Bank of Ireland named Ryan?
Not based in surname alone. But if they had the same address for example they should be asking questions.

I haven't seen anything in the correspondence that suggests it was flagged based solely on surname?

There's a huge industry in providing databases against which financial institutions check data. They don't ask everyone with the surname Ryan if they're related, but they are legally obliged to check anyone that they suspect to be an immediate family member.

Edit: on re-reading, it seems clear that customer shared full name with a known relative of Eamonn Ryan. We don't know what other information was used to flag - they could also have the same date of birth and address.
Last edited:


Frequent Poster
There must have been a number of flags for them to ask the question unless their money laundering tools are next to useless and only looked at 'Ryan'. These checks are actually pretty sophisticated these days so I wonder what Revolut are using.....

Having said that, it is not sufficient for someone to simply say they are not related to Eamonn Ryan and a financial institution accept it if they thought for one second, there was a chance that a relationship existed. There would have to be increased due diligence on the account if the suspicion was there so I am curious as to what flags were raised.


Frequent Poster
Not necessarily.

AFAIK you are not allowed to tip someone off as to the specific rationale for a KYC request.

That's in relation to suspicious transactions, not whether an individual is a PEP or not.

Most financial institutions use PEP screening software that gives a match score from 0 - 100 for a person based on the nature of the match or partial match. The more information that matches the higher the score (i.e. the more likely the person is the PEP listed). So a person named Eamon Ryan with the Minister's DOB and address would score 100 or close to it. It becomes more complicated for relatives & close associates of PEPs, who also have to be identified, so I'm guessing Revolut just have poorly defined parameters for excluding partial matches. Eamon could have a relative called John Ryan, which would obviously be a very common name, and would result in a number of partial matches, especially if the individual in question shared an address in Dublin and/or the same year of birth. It's not inconceivable that Revolut require additional self-declaration for all partial matches but in most banks low-ranking matches are investigated and discounted without the need to contact the individual in question. At the very least the bank would explain why confirmation is required.

As has been alluded to here, Revolut also have robots/poorly trained humans (cyborgs?) dealing with a lot of these queries so there is probably an element of automation that hasn't been designed well.

The completeness of these lists is a bit dubious too. Deputy Mattie McGrath was embroiled in a bit of controversy before when refusing to declare his relatives and close associates.


Registered User
Personally speaking, if I got a message like that I'd be assuming it was the beginning of an attempted scam and would be waiting for someone to tell me he was a close friend of Minister Ryan and had $20m in gold that he needed help to find a home for.


Frequent Poster
I think that part of the problem with Revolut is that when there is a problem, it's not possible to talk to a real person to tease it out.

It must be done by online chat which is very frustrating.


Pay peanuts.... ;)

While everyone wants free, or near free, services, its going to be interesting to see how happy people are with the level of service that they get, in return.