First time my bank blocked payment to peer

For the first time in several years of me using Bisq my bank has prevented me from making a payment to the account of a peer and furthermore also for the first time blocked me from online banking for now because of that (thankfully I remembered to disable my other active offer as I would not be able to proceed with a payment on that). This potentially sounds like this post:

If so I am concerned I may receive a Bisq penalty, for something that is not my fault, would that be the case if I am prevented from making this payment?

Also, if I understand Bisq correctly, I should not have any losses because of escrow, other than perhaps a BSQ trade fee, even if the account turns out to be fraudulent after I am able to make a payment?

At this time of posting there are still several hours of the trade window open and a few hours to wait for the bank’s security desk to open again, my fears may be unfounded, but I’m trying to get prepared.

Sometimes they just want to make sure that yo approve a transaction.
You might be able to avoid the penalty by trying to use another payment method. Show what happened and provide any proof possible to the mediator, and suggest to use a different payment method.
You should open mediation before end of trading period with ctrl+O.

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After being put on hold for 50 minutes to speak to the bank’s security team, a short chat then on hold again for 15 mins, the bank tell me they have been experiencing a lot of fraudulent activity recently and the fraud detection threshold has been lowered. Thus more transactions are being flagged as possibly fraudulent, unfortunately including my payment to my peer.

My transaction has been passed to another team for processing which may take up to 24 hours. That will likely take my Bisq trade beyond the “Max. allowed trade period”, something that has never happened to me before, so it looks like I will have my first experience of opening a mediation.

Maybe the transfer will go through anyway.
Did you record this call? Have you informed about the issues to your peer?

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I think if you communicate with the seller then they will be happy to wait in most instances.

With regards penalties often there is no penalty in the case where the ‘blame’ for payment not being processed can not clearly attributed to the buyer or seller.

Most trades will either complete as successful if payment is made (even after bank has held payment) or be cancelled with not penalty if payment is returned.

This assumes both traders are responsive to mediation.

Good luck

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Unfortunately the transfer did not go through, I had hoped it might. I have no way to record phone calls.

They have expressed a willingness to wait, though for how many days their patience will hold I am not sure.

An update so far: I did not receive any phone call during the 24 hours I referred to above, only an SMS text message with a phone number to call, which I did only to be put on hold for 65 minutes this time. I got through to the same security team as before only to be put through the same interrogation, even though we had already had that conversation.

I had been pressured in to revealing what the transaction was for, even though it is irrelevant, followed by a patronising lecture about how I should use my money. Then I was told I would have to wait up to 48 hours for someone to call me again - that time will up later this day of writing, I am not expecting they will call.

Additionally both my bank cards with the two accounts I have with the bank have been blocked too! Whilst I appreciate this may be “for my protection”, four days so far without explanation of why or opportunity to discuss the matter is unacceptable. Their complaints procedure may be my next course of action.

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dear @kwacorn
This situation you are in is sad. Might we know the bank’s name so we can be alert about it?
I like to read banks’ feedbacks in Bisq, so I might avoid doing some btc trades with them.
good luck with the trade


It’s Santander. Be alert yes, but let us be cautious about where we lay any blame until we have sufficient or specific facts. I have had several years of using them+Bisq for my transactions without any problem, it may continue that way when this current problem is resolved or the automated fraud detection threshold may need tuning and be too sensitive and make it practical to use them with online banking for now?

The difficulty appears to be with their security team, or whoever, not being sufficiently quick, responsive, informative or respectful to resolve this issue. I am compiling a list of complaints to submit through the bank’s complaints procedure.

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Hope that it gets resolved quickly. If the funds are not able to be transferred let them know and offer to pay using another account or cancel the trade. In both instances you should open mediation by selecting the trade and pressing Ctrl + O

To conclude this story:

With the agreement of the mediator and the seller, I was able to make the payment from an account with a different bank, though I had feared doing so in case there was genuinely a problem with this transaction. To avoid causing any online banking problems I visited the bank to make the payment at the counter - it was a straight forward payment, no problems. I thank the seller for their patience for so many days whilst I completed the transaction.

I discovered a contributing complication to the above problems: Only recently did I acquire a landline phone number and although I had told Santander, in person on a visit to the branch, of that number it had not made its way through to my online banking contact details section, thus the bank had tried to contact my via a mobile phone, which I only ever switch on for Two Factor Authentication.

Eventually the Santander bank security team did contact me and after discussion and a compulsory long speech about fraud and scammers they unblocked my accounts access. I may have misread their voice but I picked up a hint that they were more accepting of Bisq than other exchanges, but they could not have said so explicitly.

Since then I have made another payment via Santander online banking for a Bisq transaction without any problems, like all the others in the past.

Do you know why your transaction was flagged as possibly fraudulent? How much was the payment (approximately)? Also did you make a lot of payments to Bisq peers during a short period of time?

I’m asking all this to avoid finding myself in a similar situation, if possible.

There must be a bank-specific algorithm saying “flag transactions above X” or “flag international transactions that come after X international transactions to different countries”, etc

I had asked myself the same question, unfortunately I do not have an answer, so we can only speculate. My previous trade was for 0.05 BTC, larger than other recent trades and the transaction was no problem for my bank. Soon after my next trade was also for 0.05 BTC to new person, but that was the problem trade. Was it the amount, the person, their bank account, a new payee, the time between transactions or something else causing a problem? Nothing specific or unusual stands out.

I expect they use a system incorporating machine learning or Bayesian inference or whatever, with multiple factors for the input to produce some probabilistic output on the acceptability of the transaction. Some transactions will be falsely classified, mine being one of those.

Perhaps there’s a trigger mechanism when you continuously make payments to random foreign countries + different accounts, as could happen with Bisq trading

I tend to sell BTC and receive SEPA transfers from all over Europe. I haven’t had any complaints from banks after 300 trades. It seems senders are considered more liable than receivers of SEPA transactions.