I was barred from using Apple Pay Cash for the rest of my life… until the feds intervened.

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Let me say that again and allow it to sink in

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WE ALL have the opportunity to GROW more today than we did yesterday
WE ALL have the opportunity to become MORE than THEY thought we could become!

WE ALL have the opportunity to ATTRACT whatever we desire into our experience.
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 you WILL find them,
 and when you do: 
FIND THEM and CONQUER THEM.

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TL;DR: Banned from Apple Pay Cash for an unspecified reason, claiming I violated an obscure portion of their terms and regulations. Elevated to senior support, who informed me they couldn’t tell me what suspicious conduct I was engaging in, that I should find another provider, and that I’d be barred for life. I filed a complaint with the CFPB, who forwarded it to the Federal Reserve, who forwarded it to Apple. A month later, Apple contacted to say my account had been restored, and to send me $20 “for a great lunch.” They still haven’t told me why they banned me. I was rebanned in September 2019, and I gave up trying to figure out why. I chose to revisit it in August 2020 and went through the same process as the CFPB. I’ll have access to Apple Pay Cash again in October 2020.

I’ve been on a rollercoaster ride with Apple Pay Cash’s service.

I was barred from using Apple Pay Cash

On Monday, May 13th, 2019, I found that my Apple Pay Cash card had been restricted and that my account had been restricted. The entire message was stated “The ability to send and receive money via Messages has been prohibited. Your remaining amount can be used in stores, apps, and on the web.” To remedy this issue, it was suggested that you contact Apple. I contacted Apple and spoke with a professional who cancelled my Apple Pay Cash account and allowed me to reopen it and verify my identification. I followed the representative’s instructions. When we started resetting my Apple Pay Cash card, I received a notice saying “The verification process failed. Your identity was unable to be verified. Your Apple Pay Cash balance can still be used in stores, applications, and on the web. Payments in Messages will be unavailable until the verification process is completed.” The agent informed me she couldn’t tell me why my account was restricted in the first place, gave me a case number, and urged me to contact Apple again in two business days. After two business days, I called Apple Pay Cash support on May 15th, 2019, and they informed me that I will be unable to access my account due to suspicious behaviour. I inquired about the alleged suspicious activities and how I might refute it. The person indicated that she was not at liberty to reveal what suspicious conduct occurred and that I would be unable to find out. I requested to talk with her supervisor, who confirmed the same. This advisor informed me that I would no longer be allowed to use Apple Pay Cash services without explaining why. According to the supervisor, I breached the Terms and Conditions in Section 1, subsection I. This did not clarify why my account was restricted in the first place, nor why I can no longer access Apple Pay Cash services. The Supervisor sent me to a Senior Apple Pay Cash support specialist, who was considerably harsher with me, telling me that the process of recognizing suspicious activity was a “trade secret,” that I was forbidden from utilizing Apple Pay Cash services, and that I needed to find another service to use.

 

This was the complaint I filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on May 15th. They requested me to describe a reasonable solution to this problem. I requested precise details about why my account was restricted, as well as the opportunity to access Apple Pay Cash services again.

 

On May 24th, I received an email informing me that my complaint had been forwarded to the Federal Reserve. I received a letter in the mail last week, around June 4th, stating that my complaint was being handled by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. I wasn’t expecting much from this at this stage. I’ve already switched to utilizing Google Pay to transfer money between friends and pay my bills.

 

I received a private phone call today, June 11th. I don’t usually answer the phone, but this time I did, and it was a senior Apple Pay Cash Specialist. They informed me that the Federal Reserve had received my complaint (totally expected them to tell me to go away and stop bothering them). The representative informed me that they had reactivated my account, given me a $20 credit, and instructed me to “go buy myself something pleasant for lunch.” They insisted that their systematic method was a trade secret, and they still wouldn’t tell me why my account had been blacklisted at all. I’m still not secure in using this service, and I believe it’s EXTREMELY shady that I had to go through this process with so little information about my identity and finances. Do you think I’d like an Apple Credit Card? HA HA HA. I would not have had my account reactivated if Apple Pay Cash had not been federally controlled (by GreenDot). Is it just me, or does this bother anyone else?

 

JUNE 2020 UPDATE:

I feel the urge to update because I’ve gotten SO MANY DMs. So, since the account was reactivated, I haven’t utilized it. I used the $20 credit they gave me, but I haven’t used it to send or receive money from others. In September 2019, the account was restricted once more. When I called support, I got the same runaround. Following the initial event, I switched to utilizing Google Pay. I’ll contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau again.

 

2ND UPDATE (OCTOBER 2020):

In early September, I received a phone call from an Apple Pay Cash Specialist stating that they had received my complaint and that no adjustments would be made. Still no logical method. (What was the point of calling me in the first place? I’m not sure)

 

On September 18th, I received an email from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco stating that they will investigate my issue further.

 

On October 8th, I received a phone call from a Green Dot Specialist informing me that my account had been reactivated. Their system had been tripped since the first time it was deactivated (reason still unknown). They noted my account and expressed hope that this would not happen again. Oh, and I received another $20 credit.

 

This has been quite an adventure. But wait! I now have Apple Pay Cash again!!

 

CANDID ADVICE

As others have pointed out, this is an AML (Anti-Money Laundering) issue, not an Apple issue, and whatever your transactions were, they would have triggered the same response and lack of explanation with any other service/card. I’m amazed Apple still gave you access to your funds, and it’s also positive that Apple reactivated everything so quickly and offered you the $20. I’ve had accounts entirely stopped, with no access to anything and no apology from other organizations.

BTW: Because AML triggering can be highly complex, determining what you may have done may be next to impossible if it is not anything evident, especially if the problem is transactions with a third party.

Finding out what you may have done may be difficult if it is not evident.

Even when a SAR is resolved, it is still against federal law to advise the consumer of the particular reason for the SAR in the first place. Aren’t AML laws fantastic?

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To be honest. Green Dot is in charge of everything. Apple’s only role in Apple Cash is the name and the software that allows users to send money over the phone. Green Dot Bank, not Apple, provides this service. If you phone Apple Support for anything other than a technical problem, they immediately transfer you to the Apple Cash Specialist, who works for Green Dot.

I would notify the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank that your matter has not been resolved. You have not been told what constituted “suspicious behaviour” that resulted in your suspension in the first place.

The procedures used to detect suspicious conduct may be a legal trade secret, but the action itself should not be. If the behavior was illegal in some way, they should be able to specify the legislation they believe you violated. They should not have banned you if it was not criminal activity.

Of course, first buy yourself something pleasant with those $20. Even if Apple simply closing down and giving you $20 to go seems suspect in and of itself.

If you call Apple and have a restriction, they will send you to a “Specialist” (like the OP stated) at Green Dot. So the OP was largely dealing with Green Dot. Apple simply does not refer to them as such on the phone.

I had a similar experience, however instead of Apple Pay Cash, AT&T refused to unlock my iPhone 6s Plus because they tagged my IMEI for fraud due to “strange activity” about which they said they couldn’t tell me anything.

Remember, this was a phone I bought new from AT&T and had been using for the duration of my 2-year contract. I was a faithful client as well; I had that same phone number with AT&T before they became Cingular and then back again. It took nearly two months and literally hours of my life spent on the phone with various levels of assistance to have it sorted.

I’m still unsure what the “strange activity” was.

There is very likely a neural network someplace that has been trained on past money laundering accounts and has flagged yours. It’s most likely the money moving back and forth between accounts. It’s possible that your specific quantities were comparable, or that there were recurring numbers. Anyway, I’m sure no one at Apple understands why the computer flagged the account. They are just expected to follow whatever policy is in effect at the time. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t see the computer’s error. OR – the government are on to you and have instructed Apple to reactivate your account so that they can build a case against you (start running).

In this case, Apple was following government regulations. They couldn’t give you the information you wanted without breaking the law, and that includes directing you to the CFPB/Federal Reserve.

You eventually discovered the hidden solution, but you would have experienced the identical issue if you had used any payment service, credit card, or bank account. Apple actually did you a favor by allowing you to access the funds while the account was suspended from transfers and because they were under no obligation to reinstate your account even after the Fed cleared you; a quick Google search will reveal countless stories of people who were in the same situation with PayPal but never received their account or money back.

Reading this, I realize I’m in a similar scenario. I’m not sure whether this has already been mentioned or commented on. I haven’t read many of the comments in this topic.

I’m interested, though, if I’m the only one that has this problem. I was eager to check out Apple Pay Cash when it first became available. When I tried to verify my identity with a picture of my driver’s license, it offered me an invalid verification question. It locked me out of the feature and directed me to Apple support. That night, I called Apple support and gave them all of my information tied to my Apple ID, just as it appears on my phone linked to my account. They returned and asked whether I went by another name. I was using my middle name as my last name on Facebook at the time, so I assumed they were taking information from there. I gave them my entire name, and they still told me the information I gave them didn’t match what they had on file. I was perplexed and questioned what they had on file; of course, they refused to disclose. The call was then terminated. I called again a few days later and got the same response. I couldn’t find anyone who was related in their database.

Years ago, I experienced a strange problem with contact photographs and information tied to contacts. Specifically, my brother and I. Our names are similar but not identical, and we have no Apple accounts that I am aware of. For years, anytime I looked at my Apple ID profile image, it was of him. His photo and name would be tied to my phone number and emails in my contacts. Every time I saw it, I changed it and texted my brother to see if he had any issues with my name being on his information. He never had any problems like I did. We’ve never shared a cell phone plan. We are 8 years apart in age. I’m not sure how this happened, but it seems to have ceased in the last 3-4 years.

This leads me to my next inquiry. Does anyone know if the owner of the cellular plan, in this example Verizon, has any influence on the information provided when inputting Apple ID information? My other assumption is that Apple is getting cell plan information from Verizon. This phone plan I’m on is solely owned by my father. I pay for it, my names are on it, and I’m now the only one on the plan. I have complete control over it, although he set it up when I was younger. I don’t think this is why Apple Pay Cash isn’t working. When it comes to service providers’ Apple IDs, I don’t believe Apple is concerned. But that’s only a thought.

I apologize if this is inappropriate for this forum. I’m quite new to Reddit. Thank you in advance to anyone reading this, as well as those who can assist or remark.

 

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I was barred from using Apple Pay Cash

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