Now Reading
Bank freezes trans woman’s account because she ‘sounds like a man’

Bank freezes trans woman’s account because she ‘sounds like a man’

Sophia La Reis

A transgender woman tried to transfer some money from her bank account last week (30 August), but when she went to confirm her identity, the bank didn’t believe it was her.

47-year-old Sophia La Reis called the phone banking staff at Santander to verify a transfer of £72 ($93) to her friend.

The bank denied the transfer and then froze her card, all because the staff said she ‘sounds like a man’.

The next day, when Reis tried to make a purchase at the Tesco supermarket, it didn’t go through.

So she went to the Clumber Street branch of the bank and demanded an explanation.

Reis explained she told the bank she was changing her name and gender identity 18 months ago.

She said to the bank staff: ‘You have got all my documentation and I changed my name on 11 November,’ reports the Nottingham Post.

According to Reis, they told her that her voice did not match her profile because it ‘sounded like a man on the phone and not a woman.’

‘I felt embarrassed about being who I am’

Reis said the incident left her feeling embarrassed and humiliated.

She explained: ‘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,’ she said.

Santander Bank, UK
Santander Bank, UK. | Photo: Can Pac Swire / Flickr

A spokeswoman for Santander bank responded to the incident and apologized.

She said: ‘We have apologized 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,’ the spokeswoman said.

Now Reis wants to make sure this never happens to any trans person again.

She said: ‘Santander is a multi-million pound company that should have a flag on their system for people who are a minority like myself.’

Gay Star News reached out to Sophia La Reis for comment