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Transwoman's bank frozen after staff thought she sounded like a man

Sophia Reis was trying to transfer money when her Santander account was frozen

2018-09-06

A transwoman had her bank account frozen after they allegedly thought she was a man.

Sophia La Reis called the phone banking staff at Santander to transfer £72 to her friend but the bank denied the transfer and proceeded to froze her card claiming she “sounds like a man”.

When Reis tried using her card the next day, the transaction was blocked and she went to the branch in Nottingham to find out what was wrong with her card.

She explained that she told the bank staff she was changing her name and gender identity around 18 months ago.

She told the Nottingham Post: “You have got all my documentation and I changed my name on 11 November.”

But the staff told her that her voice didn’t match her profile because over the phone it sounded like a man, not a woman.

She continued: “I was crying my eyes out and I am not that type of person at all.

“I am a very courteous person and I am outgoing but to feel that way when all I asked was for my money to be transferred. I feel mistreated.

"I work as a woman, I identify myself as a woman and I look good as a woman but for the first time in my life I felt embarrassed about being who I am.

“Santander is a multi-million pound company that should have a flag on their system for people who are a minority like myself.”

A spokesperson for the branch provided a statement and apologised for the incident.

They said: “We have apologised to Miss Reis for the experience she had when using our telephone banking service and offered her a gesture of goodwill.

“It was certainly not our intention to cause any offence and our service was not as good as it should have been.

“When verifying customers are who they say they are, we have to balance our duty to protect the security of their accounts.

“If a customer rings up with their banking credentials they should be able to pass security with no problems.”