For as long as apps like Venmo and Zelle have existed, people have been entertaining their friends with hilarious captions for otherwise mundane purchases, which has occasionally landed users in hot water in the past. A recent example of overzealous monitoring of transaction descriptions happened to TikTok user Brenna and her brother, resulting in her brother receiving a call from his bank.
@princebrenna literally the funniest bank call ever #bankofamerica #rumchata #joke ♬ original sound - Brenna
In the video, Brenna’s brother can be seen and heard on the phone with his bank, Bank of America, as an employee asks him to explain the caption of a payment he made to Brenna. The caption for the $25 payment reads, “cu- I mean RUMchata.” Brenna’s brother explains to the bank employee that the description was a play on words and explains that he was reimbursing Brenna for something she bought for him. The video ends with Brenna and her brother cracking up over the situation and the fact that the employee seemingly didn’t get the joke, which was a cum joke. “They canceled my transaction because of a cum joke?!” Brenna’s brother despairs. The video ends with Brenna stating that she still needs her $25.
Commenters agreed that this level of scrutiny was insane, and wondered how and why banks were able to follow up joke transaction descriptions but not cases of actual fraud. One commenter wrote, “They caught this but not when someone stole $400 from mine ” while others shared stories of their own transactions that got flagged. One person wrote, “My $6 ‘Peter Griffin fleshlight’ Venmo transaction got flagged and held for 2 years,” while someone else said that their friend got banned from Venmo because they charged him for ‘Syrian babies’ and “he had to write an essay proving he wasn’t buying children.” To be fair, that description is concerning.
According to Brenna, they suspect that the concern was that ‘cu’ was a reference to Cuba, and other people’s anecdotes seemingly back this up. One commenter wrote, “I’ve had friends get a payment flagged because the note was ‘cuban’ HE WAS PAYING HIM FOR A CUBAN SANDWICH,” while someone else wrote, “My friend got flagged because she sent a Venmo to split dinner at a restaurant with ‘Cuba’ in the name because of economic sanctions.” A third person shared that the same thing happened to them because they paid their friend for ‘Cuban goods,’ AKA empanadas.
I think we can all agree that this is definitely the best use of bank employees’ time and that continuing to enforce sanctions against Cuba by policing people’s sarcastic Venmo and Zelle descriptions is undoubtedly the right move.