“Nico-nico-niii” is Not Allowed on PayPal

Twitter user @KhalC204 was trying to pay his friend back money he owed by using PayPal.  Two days later @KhalC204 received an email from PayPal.  The phrase Nico-nico-niii” was used in his message while he was paying back his friend and it triggered PayPal’s security measures.  @KhalC294’s PayPal account is currently inactive because of his use of the phrase “Nico-nico-niii”.

In order for @KhalC204 to reactivate his account, he needs to explain the meaning of the phrase.  “Nico-nico-niii” is the catchphrase of Love Live!‘s Yazawa Nico.

Apparently other PayPal users had their accounts locked for the same problem.


16 thoughts on ““Nico-nico-niii” is Not Allowed on PayPal”

  1. Its the word “nico” in general. I had this happen to me for trying to buy an Idol Otaku Nico for the game Weiss Schwarz and they blocked all access to my paypal, EXACT reason, asking me to explain what “nico” meant. I can prove this as well

  2. It’s more plausible that they flag a foreign transactions that match certain patterns and/or don’t have descriptions, rather than a specific keyword. It seems unlikely for actual money launderers to use something that would be easily detected.

  3. maybe they thought of the word “nico” as in “nicotine”? :v
    maybe it’s a new name of a new drugs or something?


    OFAC is serious business. They’re a division of the US Treasury that enforces sanctions and embargoes against countries the US doesn’t have a good relationship with. Countries like Iran, Cuba and Nigeria, for example (two for political reasons, the other because their government just doesn’t crack down on internet scams enough for the US’s liking). As a business that is incorporated in the US, PayPal has to screen its accounts to make sure that it is compliant with these regulations.

    Anyway, I actually recently learned the answer to why “Nico” is flagged as bad in OFAC. There are several companies operating out of Iran whose initials are NICO, detailed on this page of the US Treasury’s website: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/pages/20081126.aspx. There’s also apparently a criminal operating out of Eastern Europe whose initials are “Nico,” but I haven’t been able to track down a link on that one.

    Typically PayPal will ask for a “date of birth for Nico” to lift the restriction, so that they can confirm it’s not the same one on the government watchlist. This person can get their account back fairly easily.

    1. That is rather tasteless nitpicking when such a huge company is managing other people’s expenses. I’m also rather displeased to hear that there is not a single translator personnel traines to deal with the problem. I hope the company solves the issue fast as it will snowball into a huge issue if the same thing happens to other words.

      1. Just to clarify, it’s a computer that does this, and PayPal would literally be breaking the law if they didn’t. OfAC requires them to be that nitpicky.

      2. Due to the nature of what I’m about to say, I’m required to put in a disclaimer stating that the following only reflects my personal opinions and I am not speaking on behalf of PayPal in any official capacity.

        That said, individual agents at PayPal KNOW how ridiculous this is. We’re just as exasperated by it as you are. But OFAC doesn’t care, and PayPal is required by law to be that nitpicky.

        It’s not just some agent sitting behind a desk going “what does nico nico niii mean” and slapping a limitation on there. The word is flagged by a computer system, put into a queue, and PayPal is required to review every. last. one of them. The same thing happens if Iran or Cuba are mentioned by name anywhere in the transaction, like the time I saw a shipping address that contained Cuba in the street name (it was also a state highway, so the guy just put that instead and everything was fine). It’s unnecessary almost 90 percent of the time, but occasionally I’ll see someone who definitely needed to be restricted.

        Basically the fact that PayPal is such a big business that handles so many transactions is the reason that the Bank Secrecy Act and USA PATRIOT Act apply to them just as much as a normal bank, and PayPal has to deal with all the bureaucracy that comes along with that.

    2. oh geez, for God’s sake, what in the world and why in the hell that such a good word “NICO” which is used as symbolic of “smile” in Japanese is being screened!!!

      so, every one using the word NICO will be given such restriction???? THAT’S SO BAD!!

      how about transactions OUTSIDE of U.S.A??? will it be affected too???

      IF I’m transferring money from Malaysia to my friend in Japan using Paypal (in which US Dollar will be used for conversion) for helping me, in which the money is being used by him in Japan to purchase a premium service of Japanese version of Nico Nico Douga video site via local Japanese payment channel under my details, and I wrote “Nico Nico Douga” inside the descriptions when I’m transferring the money to him via Paypal, I’LL BE RESTRICTED TOO??
      (Situation above is just example, and AFAIK Nico Nico Douga can directly accept foreign credit/debit cards only in the awful English and Chinese site, but not in the awesome Japanese site, and my friend is not Japanese, he’s just staying there)

      Nico and alternative spelling Niko (Niko is commonly used in direct-spelling (romaji) but rarely used in English sentences) are very common words, please tell whosoever responsible to pull back such stupid filter or such stupid automated screening!!!!!

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