Bank account frozen: “you sound like a man”

Sophia Reis

A trans woman’s bank account has been frozen, because they thought she sounded too much like a man on the phone.

Sophia Reis from Nottingham told Transnews that she felt “absolutely humiliated, embarrassed and very sad”.

She was using Santander telephone banking when she was suddenly told her account was being locked until she went into a branch with ID.

Later Santander admitted they’d acted because of  her voice. They said she sounded like a man.

apology too late

Sophia has now received an apology from the bank. She told us their letter says they are sorry for the way the call was dealt with, that it was their fault, and that they sincerely hope it won’t happen again.

“It’s good in a way”, she says, “but it is too little, too late”.

The bank had been told in November that Sophia was transitioning and that she had changed her name. And during the call that resulted in her account being frozen she had passed all the security tests.

They’d make your toes curl

“This is not the only thing that’s happened to me”, Sophia told Transnews. “I’ve had other experiences that make your toes curl”.

This was the first time though that she has been made to feel embarrassed of who she is.

Sophia Reis

“I want the bank to have something in place where people get protected and don’t have to go through this”.

Not the first

She believes Santander have now made a note on her account, but she isn’t convinced it won’t happen again.

She may be right.

Sophia shared her story on Facebook, and Lillian Ivy replied saying her parent went through something very similar.

“She had to repeatedly explain that she was trans to Santander, despite having readily provided all relevant paperwork and documents to show that her gender was legally female”, Lillian wrote.

“And sadly that wasn’t the only organisation who treated her in this way”.

Sophia says “these issues need to be talked about more”.


Picture Credits: both pictures of Sophia Reis from her Facebook profile with her permission.


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