Barclaycard account closed immediately, concerned about consequences i.e. CIFAS marker [Merged]

surferstar
surferstar Posts: 22
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edited 27 December 2023 at 9:29AM in Credit cards
Hi all,

I've had a Barclaycard Avios card for around 18 months. For a credit card, they're pretty lenient with where you can deposit without incurring cash advance fees or other charges. They also allow you to use a Curve card, an intermediary card that charges the Barclaycard and is essentially a debit card, meaning you can use it at more places online and still charge to your underlying credit card.

I have a fairly large amount in savings which I move around often to chase the best rates. By using Curve and Barclaycard, I was topping up my savings accounts and it was being charged via Curve to Barclaycard. As the savings accounts were easy access, it's therefore feasible to deposit, earn the Avios on that spend and then withdraw, essentially recycling that money. 

I don't imagine Barclaycard love this as it's manufactured spend and this isn't how they'd want their customers to use the card, plus as this allows a very large amount of Avios to be earned, that has a hard cost to them.

They contacted me about 6 weeks ago to ask the purpose of some transactions, I explained these were savings platforms and I move around frequently. About 4 weeks later (2 weeks ago), they immediately cancelled my card and sent a letter with very little info in just to say my account has been cancelled. They don't want to discuss on the phone and whilst I'm not sure that 'a business decision' is the exact reason, it's what call centre staff have mentioned.

I was pushing this a bit but nothing I was doing was fraudulent or illegal. I think I've breached one term which is they allow you to earn Avios for 4x your credit limit, and I was earning a little more than that (by paying off my card mid statement and continuing to spend). 

So I can live with them closing the card if they didn't like what I was doing, but now I'm worried about consequences especially if they thought my spending was fraudulent or money laundering etc. Especially if they lodge a CIFAS marker which would have a devastating impact on my finances for 6 years.

Almost everything I've read about CIFAS markers is related to bank accounts not credit cards, and dodgy looking transfers or people being used as money mules, giving their account details/logins away etc. So my questions are:

1. How worried should I be? I have full statements for all savings accounts showing that withdrawals go into my current account and all totals match up with my credit card transactions. All accounts are mine and in my name.

2. As almost 2 weeks have passed, would I have heard anything by now from my various other finance providers if a CIFAS marker was in place and they also decided to close my accounts? I have 3 other credit cards, a few current accounts (i.e. Starling for spending abroad), many savings accounts etc and all are working as normal. My understanding is a CIFAS marker is registered within 24 hours of the 'fraud' and this is a requirement, but I'm not sure how quickly this is shared with other lenders and what happens. It's worth nothing my main current account is with Barclays, so part of the same company and it's all functioning as normal.

3. If they were heavy handed and suspected fraud and registered a marker, as it clearly isn't fraudulent and is just a misunderstanding due to me going a bit far with the spending and avios earning, surely I have a good case to have the marker removed?

I have registered a SAR with CIFAS and will also go to the other organisations to request the same. I'm just started to really worry about this looking like something it isn't and me being heavily penalised. I'd hope they just closed the account as I was clearly taking the p*ss as apparently to lodge a CIFAS marker, the organisation would have to have strong enough evidence that fraud was taking place that it could be handed over to the police.
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Comments

  • Nasqueron
    Nasqueron Posts: 8,286
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    Wait until you get the SAR from CIFAS and if there is a marker now, then complain to barclaycard but it sounds far more likely they don't want you as a customer and acted accordingly.
  • Hoenir
    Hoenir Posts: 1,111
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    Nothing to do with committing fraud. Simply misuse of the facility. As you said manufactured spend.  They no longer want your custom. Straight forward business decision., 
  • Thanks. I'd think the same but what if they suspected the large amounts being put through and the use of savings accounts were fraudulent? It takes one person to not understand manufactured spend to take a heavy handed approach and think it's fraud to then place a CIFAS market. Again, there's no evidence of this but it's not like they've asked for the proof. If it's a straightforward business decision, no consequences, all good and understood!
  • Saying that, fraud is illegal so you'd think they'd have to be utterly convinced I was breaking the law here. Again I'd find that very surprising. I just don't know the ins and outs, and how easy it is for them to place a marker 'just in case' with zero consideration for the repercussions for me.

    When would they apply a marker if they did so and wouldn't my other lenders have been notified by now?
  • surferstar
    surferstar Posts: 22
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    edited 27 December 2023 at 9:28AM
    Hi all,

    I've had a Barclaycard Avios card for around 18 months. For a credit card, they're pretty lenient with where you can deposit without incurring cash advance fees or other charges. They also allow you to use a Curve card, an intermediary card that charges the Barclaycard and is essentially a debit card, meaning you can use it at more places online and still charge to your underlying credit card.

    I have a fairly large amount in savings which I move around often to chase the best rates. By using Curve and Barclaycard, I was topping up my savings accounts and it was being charged via Curve to Barclaycard. As the savings accounts were easy access, it's therefore feasible to deposit, earn the Avios on that spend and then withdraw, essentially recycling that money. 

    I don't imagine Barclaycard love this as it's manufactured spend and this isn't how they'd want their customers to use the card, plus as this allows a very large amount of Avios to be earned, that has a hard cost to them.

    They contacted me about 6 weeks ago to ask the purpose of some transactions, I explained these were savings platforms and I move around frequently. About 4 weeks later (2 weeks ago), they immediately cancelled my card and sent a letter with very little info in just to say my account has been cancelled. They don't want to discuss on the phone and whilst I'm not sure that 'a business decision' is the exact reason, it's what call centre staff have mentioned.

    I was pushing this a bit but nothing I was doing was fraudulent or illegal. I think I've breached one term which is they allow you to earn Avios for 4x your credit limit, and I was earning a little more than that (by paying off my card mid statement and continuing to spend). 

    So I can live with them closing the card if they didn't like what I was doing, but now I'm worried about consequences especially if they thought my spending was fraudulent or money laundering etc. Especially if they lodge a CIFAS marker which would have a devastating impact on my finances for 6 years.

    Almost everything I've read about CIFAS markers is related to bank accounts not credit cards, and dodgy looking transfers or people being used as money mules, giving their account details/logins away etc. So my questions are:

    1. How worried should I be? I have full statements for all savings accounts showing that withdrawals go into my current account and all totals match up with my credit card transactions. All accounts are mine and in my name.

    2. As almost 2 weeks have passed, would I have heard anything by now from my various other finance providers if a CIFAS marker was in place and they also decided to close my accounts? I have 3 other credit cards, a few current accounts (i.e. Starling for spending abroad), many savings accounts etc and all are working as normal. My understanding is a CIFAS marker is registered within 24 hours of the 'fraud' and this is a requirement, but I'm not sure how quickly this is shared with other lenders and what happens. It's worth nothing my main current account is with Barclays, so part of the same company and it's all functioning as normal.

    3. If they were heavy handed and suspected fraud and registered a marker, as it clearly isn't fraudulent and is just a misunderstanding due to me going a bit far with the spending and avios earning, surely I have a good case to have the marker removed?

    I have registered a SAR with CIFAS and will also go to the other organisations to request the same. I'm just started to really worry about this looking like something it isn't and me being heavily penalised. I'd hope they just closed the account as I was clearly taking the p*ss as apparently to lodge a CIFAS marker, the organisation would have to have strong enough evidence that fraud was taking place that it could be handed over to the police.
  • MattMattMattUK
    MattMattMattUK Posts: 8,163
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    edited 27 December 2023 at 9:29AM
    If they suspected fraud they would have told you it was suspected fraud, you would have got a CIFAS marker in a few days, the fact that they told you it was a business decision means that was what it was, they will not report fraud to CIFAS for a business decision. They just did not like how you were using the card, especially as you seem to be gaming the system, so they have closed your account. 
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,776
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    edited 27 December 2023 at 9:29AM
  • surferstar
    surferstar Posts: 22
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    edited 27 December 2023 at 9:29AM
    If they suspected fraud they would have told you it was suspected fraud, you would have got a CIFAS marker in a few days, the fact that they told you it was a business decision means that was what it was, they will not report fraud to CIFAS for a business decision. They just did not like how you were using the card, especially as you seem to be gaming the system, so they have closed your account. 
    I don't think they'd tell me it was fraud as that's tipping me off. I'll see what the SAR says for CIFAS but on the basis it would be applied within days of the account being closed, how does that normally impact other financial products? Would I have expected to hear from at least one of my many other credit card providers, current accounts, savings accounts by now if they've been alerted and are closing an account? The account was closed about 10 days ago.
  • MattMattMattUK
    MattMattMattUK Posts: 8,163
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    edited 27 December 2023 at 9:29AM
    If they suspected fraud they would have told you it was suspected fraud, you would have got a CIFAS marker in a few days, the fact that they told you it was a business decision means that was what it was, they will not report fraud to CIFAS for a business decision. They just did not like how you were using the card, especially as you seem to be gaming the system, so they have closed your account. 
    I don't think they'd tell me it was fraud as that's tipping me off. 
    They would not tell you it was suspected fraud whilst investigating, once they have concluded their investigation they would tell you it was suspected fraud, but they would not tell you what or why. What makes you think that they view this as fraud rather than a business decision? The way you are wording your posts makes it seem as if there was/is fraud rather than it being the business decision as you claim that they have told you it is on the letter. 
    surferstar said:
    I'll see what the SAR says for CIFAS but on the basis it would be applied within days of the account being closed,
    CIFAS data is "real time" for financial institutions, for your SAR it will be accurate as per the point it is issued.
    surferstar said:
    how does that normally impact other financial products?
    It presents an issue when trying to obtain new financial products, everything from bank accounts to insurance, but it does not always cause an issue with existing products, although it can if they undertake periodic checks.
    surferstar said:
    Would I have expected to hear from at least one of my many other credit card providers, current accounts, savings accounts by now if they've been alerted and are closing an account? The account was closed about 10 days ago.
    No, they do not actively look, they might periodically check, they might never check, they might only check if you apply for a new product. 
  • surferstar
    surferstar Posts: 22
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    Forumite
    edited 27 December 2023 at 9:29AM
    If they suspected fraud they would have told you it was suspected fraud, you would have got a CIFAS marker in a few days, the fact that they told you it was a business decision means that was what it was, they will not report fraud to CIFAS for a business decision. They just did not like how you were using the card, especially as you seem to be gaming the system, so they have closed your account. 
    I don't think they'd tell me it was fraud as that's tipping me off. 
    They would not tell you it was suspected fraud whilst investigating, once they have concluded their investigation they would tell you it was suspected fraud, but they would not tell you what or why. What makes you think that they view this as fraud rather than a business decision? The way you are wording your posts makes it seem as if there was/is fraud rather than it being the business decision as you claim that they have told you it is on the letter. 
    surferstar said:
    I'll see what the SAR says for CIFAS but on the basis it would be applied within days of the account being closed,
    CIFAS data is "real time" for financial institutions, for your SAR it will be accurate as per the point it is issued.
    surferstar said:
    how does that normally impact other financial products?
    It presents an issue when trying to obtain new financial products, everything from bank accounts to insurance, but it does not always cause an issue with existing products, although it can if they undertake periodic checks.
    surferstar said:
    Would I have expected to hear from at least one of my many other credit card providers, current accounts, savings accounts by now if they've been alerted and are closing an account? The account was closed about 10 days ago.
    No, they do not actively look, they might periodically check, they might never check, they might only check if you apply for a new product. 
    I don't necessarily think they view it as fraud but my post was due fear of the worse case outcome, which is it being a false accusation of fraud and a CIFAS marker. It definitely isn't fraud, it's all my own accounts and cycling money through my savings. The letter did not say business decision, it just said we're closing your account immediately. Only on the phone did they allude to it being a business decision but they were very coy when pushed on it. I'm sure yesterday one person I spoke to just went silent on me and muted the call!
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