International banking and money transfer app ‘Revolut’ classes Kosovo alongside countries that are at war or have been blacklisted for money laundering.
A European customer, trying to make a transfer to a Pristina-base charity, did not find Kosovo or any variation of its name in the list of supported countries. Unable to make a bank-to-bank transfer to the charity, the user contacted Revolut customer care to inquire as to why.
She was told that “we do consider Kosovo being a country, but currently we do not support sending bank transfers there”. When pressed for further details, they elaborated that the “third party transfer service provider does not accept transfers to Kosovo”.
They then provided a list of other countries that this “third party transfer service” does not support transfers to. They included North Korea, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and another state that is not recognized by some countries- Palestine.
Other names on the list included Iran which has a number of international sanctions against it, and failed states such as Sudan, Somalia, and Syria.
When pressed for more information on why Kosovo was included on a list of war zones, failed states, and countries with vast international sanctions against them, Revolut declined to elaborate. They also refused to provide the name of the third party provider that they claim facilitates such cross-border payments.
Instead, they commented “Sorry about that, I’ll let our team know that you would appreciate the possibility to make transfers to Kosovo”.
Kosovo is not at war, not considered “high-risk” for money laundering, does not have any international sanctions against it, and is considered as a democratic country. It is a partially recognized state, but is acknowledged by 102 member states of the United Nations.
Revolut is a UK-based financial technology company that offers banking services including a prepaid debit card, currency exchange, and free ATM withdrawals in 120 countries worldwide. Its services are managed via a mobile phone application.
In March 2019, Revolut found itself at the forefront of a scandal where it was accused of switching off its automated systems for flagging potential money laundering activities. It was revealed that the company was being questioned by the UK financial watchdogs due to the fact it failed to monitor potentially illegal transactions between July and September 2018.
It’s CFO, Peter O’Higgins quit in January but stated his resignation had nothing to do with the companies alleged compliance issues, or the allegations that they failed to adequately check for instances of money laundering.