Yeah, That Just Happened – How I Survived a Barclays Financial Review

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Barclays Financial Review

Barclays Financial Review

I generally embrace the unpredictable stuff in our hobby.  On a whole, most of the surprises work out in our favor, in my experience.  But the news is certainly not always good.  I was reminded of that again back in August.  My Barclays financial review experience was an interesting journey, and I learned a few things along the way.  But first, I’ll reset our Barclays relationship.

Our Barclays History

My wife and I each have a few different Barclays credit cards.  Most recently, we each received new Banana Republic card accounts with Barclays as part of the changeover from Synchrony.  Otherwise, neither of us have been able to obtain new cards with Barclays for the past few years.  We can’t dispute the reasons Barclays gave – the high number of accounts, number of new accounts, etc.  Guilty as charged.

Our Barclays spending had been minimal for a good while prior to the new Banana Republic cards showing up.  But once those did, we took advantage of the significant spend offers they’re known for, among other things.

Barclays Financial Review

What Happened

In mid to late August, I logged into the Barclays app as I routinely do.  Immediately upon login, I received a pop-up noting that I couldn’t access my account on the app due to security reasons.  No matter, I decided to log into the site via desktop.  That didn’t work, either.  I received a similar pop-up message which also included a phone number.  I decided to relax and wait a few days.

Nothing changed.  I called the Barclays phone number, and I was told that my income needed to be confirmed.  The rep said I needed to submit a “4506-T,” and Barclays had sent a snail mail letter with more instructions.  I decided not to pursue further during the phone call and thanked the rep for her time.

The Barclays Letter

A few days later, the Barclays letter arrived.  The letter stated the following:

“During a recent review of your account, we were not able to thoroughly verify your income and/or identity.  As a result, your account has been restricted pending validation of these details.”

Indeed, Barclays then requested I complete and submit a Form 4506-T, also known as an “IRS Request for Transcript of Tax Return Form.”  Barclays requested I send the completed form within 30 days to the provided address, or my account would be closed.  Giddyup!

Following Instructions

Thankfully, the 4506-T is one of the shorter IRS forms out there.  It’s a one-page form that I was able to complete within five minutes.  I printed out the completed form, signed, and dropped it in the mail later on the same day.

An Outcome

After mailing the letter, I logged into the Barclays app daily.  For about 10 days or so, I received the same pop-up which I had originally.  Obviously, they were still processing.  But eventually, I logged in and was able to navigate my account as usual, like nothing had ever happened.  A few days later (approaching mid September), I received a follow-up letter from Barclays.  It stated:

“Thank you for providing us with the additional information we requested regarding your account.  We have reviewed the documentation and it satisfies our requirements to lift the restriction from your account.  You may now use the account as you normally would.”

All good – I exhaled, shrugged, and moved on.

Barclays Financial Review

What I Learned

I picked up a few useful items along the way:

  • Barclays never actually used the term “financial review.”  However, the process was remarkably similar to what I understand happens during an American Express financial review, which I haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing (yet).
  • During this review, I had no access to my Barclays online account.  I couldn’t get to any account tools, transaction information, or make payments online.
  • I continued to receive paper statements during the process.
  • While under the review, rewards continued posting to my loyalty accounts after statements closed.
  • The process was tremendously simple and resolved faster than I expected.  From the initial app notice to my account being unlocked, about three weeks had elapsed.

Conclusion

Like many things in life, this Barclays financial review was just an exercise in following instructions.  It’s certainly not a great feeling to have my accounts frozen.  But I started feeling better when rewards were posting to my loyalty accounts while the review was still ongoing.  If or when this happens to you, stay optimistic and do as directed by Barclays.  Responsible hobbyists will likely survive such a review.  Have you had a similar experience with Barclays?  How did you handle it?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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18 COMMENTS

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18 COMMENTS

    • I haven’t experienced AA issues. Perhaps you’re thinking of someone else, or maybe I just don’t know what you’re referencing.

  1. Have Barclays AA card w/ min spend, opened a Barclays Wyndham Earner Business card 2 weeks ago, was approved after a security review, but have had my account locked since then. Called customer support 4 different times with no help until finally someone told me my account was locked for an additional security review where I had to submit a bunch of personal documents via fax to verify I’m me. Fun times.

  2. I was just requested to do a financial review with Amex. Been with them since 1982. Never an issue. The rep went through about 10 different things I needed to provide. I agreed. Sent it all. Once they said all good. I closed 3 of my card accounts. I was peeved been with them 40 years and get treated like a newbie.

    • You seem to have a lot of ego. Get off your high horse, the world doesn’t revolve around you nor are you above the rules for being a “40-year old customer”.

  3. Going through a financial review is more time consuming than a new application but you dont get the welcome bonus. Barclay’s doesn’t have a card worth the headache.

  4. Just read that most credit card review audits are when card holders have a big increase in monthly spending which raises red flags for the bank who just want to make sure they are getting paid
    Barclay has always been messed up too as well with overreacting historically and bad in solving disputes

  5. Barclays requested proof of identification to be sent snail mail years ago when opening a new card account. I asked for a fax number or email so I didn’t have to send identification through the US Postal Service and they refused to accept it any other way. It took weeks for them to resolve the issue

  6. Have had a ton of issues with Citibank. Long story short – I just gave up and closed my accounts. My time is valuable too. ( 20 + year customer with cards, mortgage and LOC) zero late payments.

    Screw Citibank.

  7. What triggered this I wonder and what’s your credit score?
    if you don’t mind me asking
    I’ve never had this happen in 30 years and I have no debt with a 825 score Paying my bill off in full each month

  8. How did you pay your credit card bill if your account is locked? Do you still get your statement during this period?

    • John,
      I had paid off my balances in full before being locked out online. But I continued to receive paper statements and could’ve paid by check via snail mail, if necessary.

      • Just wondering that you might have been able to pay via your bank’s bill pay feature if it has one. I pay all mine via the Bank and that way I can see on one page all bills paid.

  9. Had to do the AMEX Financial Review a few years ago. No idea if it is still the same but the worst part was having to FAX that IRS form. The place I went to had a fax machine that left a faint line on the fax and AMEX said No Good. MUST be *Flawless*! Plus I only had ONE more chance. Well, having to depend on someone else’s fax machine was tough. Went back and had them check their machine and sure enough it had a dirt or something. Fortunately they cleaned it and the second fax went fine but there was no way to MAIL the form and I had to depend on a fax machine. Crazy! I hope you never have to deal with AMEX on that as the lady was rude and very hard to deal with.

    Glad you got through yours ok!!

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