keep-calm-and-update-your-accountUpdate: We have decided to give people more time. July 20th is the new date.

As written earlier we are about to improve our payments. In order to do this we need to ask you to update your account with some information that is required for what is called a KYC.

KYC stands for Know Your Customer and is a EU wide law to counter money laundry and other foul play. As a service that handles your money this law states that we need to collect and store information about the people giving and sending money. When using PayPal or Skrill the KYC responsibility lies with them, which is why you have to give them personal information during payments. Now that we move over to use MangoPay, the KYC responsibility falls upon us.


What you need to do before July 20th, 2014

Update your account details. Just go to your account settings and enter any missing information. Accounts without this information will be suspended on the 20th of July and later deactivated permanently.

Our terms have been updated and amended with the terms of MangoPay. You should read our new terms and the terms for MangoPay.

This will be a great thing for the future of Flattr, but if you don’t agree to the above, you can just close your account.

66 thoughts on “Time to update your account

  1. It appears that settings requires a legal name (no problem), but you can’t change your name on your profile. I see you can not include your name on the profile. Previously, I had my byline (t’Sade) as the profile name, which is kind of nice since I like seeing it.

    I can live with just using “tsade” as the profile, but given that I’m an erotic writer, I don’t really want my legal name popping up where it can be googled with this byline.

    So the questions:

    1. Are you going to eventually allow us to have a different public name than the legal one?

    2. If I don’t include my public name, is it going to show up anywhere anyways?

  2. 1. We didn’t want to add even another field, as there are already quite a few of them. Maybe we will in the future.

    2. If you don’t show your name the username will be shown instead on your profile and your real name will not be visible anywhere.

  3. How do the transaction limits of MangoPay apply to flattr?
    Will any user who gets more than 1000€ per year have to provide ID documents to flattr or MangoPay to be able to reimburse it?

  4. Can you explain in greater detail why the EU mandates recording of the data and which data in particular? As far as I know small “standard customers” may be excluded from the requirement.
    Also I am not sure that flattr is an insurance company or a bank
    that is actually affect.

    One example:
    The company (In Germany and in German) allows customers to get email services, register and pay anonymously. They certainly will be subject to the same EU policies.

    The (german)
    article also says that there are exceptions.

  5. Can you explain in more detail why the KYC EU policies
    demand more details. To my knowledge there are possibly
    exceptions for “standard customers”.

  6. So, will I be able to withdraw funds to Russia after MangoPay start working? Can’t find this in their FAQ..

  7. The KYC process is something we are working to do as simple as possible but it’s regulated what needs to be done. Mango though handles this in very good way. And we will be transparent about it.

    For individuals it’s quite simple, to be able to withdraw more than €1000/year to your bank (not to other Flattr accounts) you need to upload a scan of your passport or ID. You also need to state your address. That are the only things needed beside the data you already need to enter in the Flattr settings today. There are no exceptions to this.

    Withdrawals to banks should be possible worldwide, but are looking into if there might be any countries or banks that does not work.

  8. Sorry Bernhard Reiter, the blog did put your first comment as “pending”.

    The answer is quite simple. Flattr is not selling anything. We let you send money to another Flattr user.

    Selling something is not in any way as regulated when it comes to collecting information about the customers as money transactions between individuals/companies are. You can’t open a bank or PayPal account anonymously.

  9. Meh, I don’t feel like it. Probably just gonna end this misery.

    Been a looong time user of flatter. I love the idea, and tried my best to use support it. But it didn’t work – and this step is exactly in the wrong direction – cuddling with regulation…

    Just step over to cryptocurrencies. It’s long overdue. No KYC needed.
    Else, once people get used to putting crypto addresses on their pages, you’ll just become obsolete.

  10. I simply couldn’t go away your site just before implying that that I definitely adored the regular info a person offer your online visitors? Shall be once more routinely to check on through to brand new blogposts

  11. Why are you sending me SPAM telling me to update my non-existent account in an email to which I cannot reply to tell you to stop it?

  12. We’re not sure we get this. We’re an NGO and we’re asked to provide a first and last name plus a date of birth. Otherwise our account will be closed. What are we supposed to do?

  13. You know what would have been useful?
    A diff of of the old and new terms, with an explanatory rationale for each change.

  14. Okay, diffed myself. Changes in short:

    – Flattr changed hands from Flattr Networks Limited based in UK to Flattr AB based in Sweden
    – http:// -> https://
    – Contact information change
    – Removal of the sentence “You can only flattr the same Button once per calendar month.”? So you can do that now?
    – Removal of the minimum monthly contribution amount of 2€
    – Removal of the extra sentence about no withdrawal of flattring amounts, but the rest of the paragraph probably still means the same?
    – Flattr now apparently doesn’t even try to give the money from inactive users to charity, but now always “dispose of it”. Why?
    – Removal of the Commercial Agent clause. IANAL, so I’d like some explanation
    – Removal of the sentence about how movement of funds may be subject to money laundering requlations. Why?
    – Flattr now uses MangoPay. “By signing up to Flattr you also agree to MangoPay’s terms and conditions”
    – English law -> Swedish law

  15. I was going to log-in in order to remove my account since I don’t see that I am going to use it at anytime.

    However using your reset password form does not seems to work. I don’t get your reset email. It might well be that my account is permanently disabled already. I do however treat it as active while I am getting emails from you. I just want to log-in so that I can permanently delete it.

  16. DrMcCoy: That sounds about right. Many of the changes are removal of things we found not needed. To clean up the terms and make them simpler. Like the fact that you can only flattr once. It’s technically not possible to do more than once so there is no need to state that in the terms. The commercial agent thing is needed as we are moving to MangoPay.

  17. Jón Frímann: That is probably because the mailserver is busy sending term change emails. You should get the reset pass email soon. We would not have emailed if the account was not active.

  18. I think there might be better ways to end a blog post than with “just close your account” :) The last words you read may stick in your head.

  19. Any guess when gets hacked and all account information can be downloaded somewhere? Name, date and address are accepted as means of authentication by nearly every call center to cancel or modify contracts.

  20. Why not only demand this of people who need to send/receive large amounts of money and let the rest of us stay as anonymous as possible?

    It was good while it lasted!

  21. What account type should I select if more than one could apply – for example, if I use my personal account to collect funds for a FLOSS project I’m associated with, but has no legal representative?

  22. Turabian: Because it’s the law that demands it. We can not change that regardless of what we think. What we ask for is the absolute minimum.

  23. When updating our profile details I found out you don’t allow star ‘*’ in organization name. I changed it to dash but our official name is with start and I don’t see reason why you disallow that.

  24. I used this service for the anonymity…congrats on bending over and taking it in the ass from the ever corrupt USA…. FUCK YOU AND FUCK KYC!

  25. Europeans should learn by this that EU is not of benefit for ordinary people, but a project run by the undemocratic elite that intimidate and rip us off. (NB: Sadly Norway is partly member through EØS). Vote for poltical parties that oppose EU/NSA.

  26. I think this is really bad idea to make such a drastic change, and would urge you to reconsider, and at least postpone the whole change while you think it over some more (preferably after actively seeking input from your users). That is, if your goal is making Flattr more successful instead od killing it.

    Addition of Mango would be great news, if you didn’t break all the other stuff which was working just fine! I’m not big pal of paypal, but removing it – really?! This is bussiness equivalent of not accepting mastercard and visa cards for card paymants! I sincerly doubt Flattr can get away with it. hell, google couldn’t pull that stunt easily.

    Not to mention mango doesn’t support american express and similar cards… And that people are often very sensitive about being fotced to change their payment processors.

    I know supporting both mango and others (paypal, moneybookers etc) would be more technical work, and somewhat different rules depending with which you want to pay, but this decision of yours is not good idea. If you don’t have the resources to support both, I’d recommend just throwing away mango support and throwing away all hard work that went into it, however hard that is. As it may be much preferable to alternative…

  27. Like others say, Flattr was a great idea, and I know it’s not your fault you have to do this. But…

    I registered and filled up my account with 10 euro back in 2010. Now my account balance is 25 euro. So I’ve made 15 euros in 4 years. Almost 4 euros per year. And for that, the EU/US demands to know my identity.

    It’s like with the buses in Stockholm – you can’t pay a simple fair with sms unless you register your prepaid sim card. I don’t like this development.

    I voted with my feet when I registered for Flattr. I wanted it to work. I implemented it on my sites and encouraged people to use it. But now I must vote with my feet again, as a protest. Not against you, but against these silly laws.

    Thank you for these years and goodbye.

  28. Linus: thanks.

    Unfortunately, I have just realized that you are going to remove PayPal completely, and this makes Flattr incompatible with my uses.

  29. Regarding “Flattr is meant be a mass market product, crypto currencies are yet not.” – I probably saw BTC/LTC addresses on more pages than Flattr button. But maybe it’s just me and pages I read.

    BTW did you consider moving business to non-EU country with looser policy? Or creating Flattr like service, but based on cryptocurrencies (this should be easy!).

    Anyway, I transferred gained money to subscribtion for final giveaway. I regret that Flattr didn’t become popular in Poland, as I like idea very much. I don’t need to be anonymous, but I don’t like this change of terms. But I understand reasons. Please reconsider your decision/find workaround. I won’t accept this change of ToS. This is the only way I can let know that I don’t like this rules/law. Hope you understand.

  30. I tried to update my account and was told “you need to enter a unique email address.” I did a little bit of poking around and was told the emial address was already registered. Very annoying. If you want me to update my account with new info, let me do so. Don’t create these stupid roadblocks.

  31. Pat Powers: If that email is already in the system I guess you have a second account? Don’t see what it could be beside that, use and we can check.

  32. Rozie: We think BTC (etc) are really somehing but the amount of work and KYC needed to be able to buy them is crazy. Besides the hurdles of understanding something that technical. That’s what we mean with “not mass market”.

    Making shady product in a market far away is not what we aim for. We want to help legit people to make a legit income.

  33. Linus:

    It’s rather simple: the fact that Flattr allowed for money handling with almost no maintenance and without direct access to the Paypal account (I’m only CC’ed on the Paypal mail, but have not further access) and bank accounts (no access at all) of a project was why we were able to use it at all.

    With this gone, the organisational and maintenance requirements are higher than what I’m be able to provide.

  34. Was the transaction fee always 10%? That seems so high, especially when it doesn’t even cover payment processing fees.

  35. sorry to see this happen… i very much liked flattr to give back to creators while allowing anonymity but it seems these times are over.
    thanks and goodbye

  36. Time for a pivot, Flattr. You want to be mass market but you’re not going to be more than a footnote in the history of the internet unless you listen to your community. Like many people posting here I have been a supporter from the early days. I love the concept but I don’t see the company doing much to innovate. You are right that cryptocurrencies aren’t easy to work with… but why not treat that like a golden opportunity to expand? I’d love to be able to tip people in BTC or DOGE but outside of Reddit that’s not really practical. You could make that possible! And I say this as no great booster of cryptocurrencies, as I am also rather skeptical of their long-term future… but to have the infrastructure in place to mix up what sort of currency donors can accept, well… don’t just brush it off :)

  37. Xeno: It could be a great thing. But if you have tried to buy bitcoins anytime you know it’s more or less impossible for a normal human. It makes our new KYC look like walk in the park. :/

  38. Linus: thanks for your answer. You keep mentioning Amazon (and Kickstarter which uses Amazon payments) as an example that it could work. I agree with you in that it is *possible* to make it online without supporting paypal – I just think it lowers your chances of success by very very big percentage. Yes, Amazon made it. But for all I love Flattr, I could not in reality say it is anywhere near the same league as Amazon.

    So yes, it is not absolutely certain that dropping paypal will doom Flattr forever, but it is in my opionion higly likely. On one side you lose idealistic people (with mango and EU no privacy laws) and on the other side you lose practical people (who just want to continue using their payment processor). In my opinion that is very bad combination, especially as Flattr doesn’t seem to have enormous inertia (huge userbase). So yeah if Facebook tried to pull it, they’d fly. Flattr, I’m afraid, not so much.

    So I think Flattr would fare best if it spunoff sister company just handling mango and make them just another one connector to glattr.

    Failing that, second best would be just forget mango and kep system as it is. Even dropping everything and just supporting BTC would be batter to mangopay-only alternative (as you’d at least kep the privacy-sensitive people).

    Mangopay-only is worst alternative IMHO.

    But whatever you decide please please listen to what your community says (even if it says things contrary to mine).

    All the best luck, however it turns out….

  39. Matilja: Keeping Paypal is not an option, regardless of anything. Obviously we care about what the community says but this is the only way forward and we are quite certain that the things we can do with Mango will help us more.

  40. with direct money transfers back in flattr i actually think flattr will be more of a competitor to paypal in this field.
    many times when i suggested some people to use or accept flattr they said they don’t like not being able to make a direct donation or payment for commission works. with this back in flattr i don’t see what paypal would be needed for on the functional level.

    all together i think this is a step forward but will cost some die hard paypal users and privacy idealists but could bring in way more users from the average crowd…. as long as mangopay’s international support is as good as paypal’s

  41. s.m.langer: That is true, with Mango we can do so much more.

    Privacy advocates should welcome the removal of PayPal rather than the opposite. If they do not they have an incorrect assumption of what PayPal is.

    There is no need to contact Mango for anything. Mango will be seamlessly integrated into Flattr in a way that it will look like you are only using Flattr. Any support will be via us.

  42. Linus:

    the bank account is shared and using it in any service requires special permissions. Also, Paypal path provides a convenient way to identify how much money came into this account for the project.

    Now, it is a step back to wire transfers .

    The current ease of use was the main reason why we did try Flattr when a third party came up with it.

  43. Michael: Why would you need permission to the account to add it in settings? It’s just fields to put numbers in, instead of a paypal e-mail. Hm, don’t understand the difference.

  44. Linus: I’m glad you have faith that it will be more good than harm from dropping paypal and others. Could you disclose what percentage of Flattr users were using creditcards directly (so, ignoring EU privacy issues, will be unaffected by move to Mango), and what percentage of users were adding funds indirectly via other processors (paypal,skrill, etc) you will no longer support?

  45. Me, too I won’t accept this. Just because It’s too much to see all the differences on my own right now and it sound all too cheesie how everything is gonna be good and all we got to do is comply with the new EU law.
    You might be right, privacy with mango here could be better than at paypal. Anonymity was never given and I was kind of clear about that.
    But i find the Transparency very very little if you make such a big change without explaining more and it would have been easy to find out where the confusion is if we discussed all this before it’s put to work. This commenting to something already made up feels akward.

    Last month – all-in. Thanks for flattr so far and I might come back when the sky clears and I had time to check the new terms and all the other terms that come with it.

  46. Hi Flattr-team. Sorry to read the sudden changes of ToS along with partnering w/MangoPay.

    We have been using Flattr since 2010 due to the anonymity which no longer feels like anonymity. It means we won’t be able to go on with our daily usage of Flattr and getting the money we need to drive our sites.

    Sorry to say, but this is quite a bad deal for Privacy in EU. I’m well aware of the KYC but i do not believe that our sites userbase is willingly accepting to hand over that personal ID you request, therefore we cannot keep on promoting FLATTR as our payment processor from now.

    It’s been fun while it lasted!
    Farewell Flattr.

  47. PinkPanther: Anonymous digital payments have not been possible for many years, specially not with Paypal (just check what you need to provide to signup to paypal). Regardless of what we think about privacy there is no option to not follow the laws. To change them one has to go into politics.

Comments are closed.