Ability to block merchants

I thought it might be cool to be able to block merchants from taking money from your account if you’ve previously used them before. For example with subscriptions that don’t use direct debit, you should be able to cancel payment for the subscription via the Monzo app in case for any reason you are unable to do so quickly with the merchant. Recommending this after a personal experience, wondering if others might like this? Opinions please :slight_smile:

Not sure about this. Sounds like it could be used to scam :confused:

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It looked for a while like Mastercard was going to do this for us.

But they’ve clarified this is now only for physical items and not digital services.

Whether I want to pay someone or not is my choice and my responsibility. The bank only has to comply. Being able to block merchants or at least have virtual cards is an essential service nowadays

Not for subscriptions that only renew after payment is made? :thinking:

Ah, my bad. Thought you meant shops and people too.

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Mondo were thinking about this almost three years ago, but I don’t think it’s gone anywhere, sadly.


In the UK the bank acts as a facilitator. The contract is between you and the company. Therefore the company can take the payment until you withdraw consent to do so.

Most of these happen through a live card payment system rather then a traditional DD. Just adds an extra layer of difficulty to get it cancelled.

Exactly, if you order the bank to stop paying a company, the bank should comply. You’re the one that can be held liable to the company, not the bank.

You should have the ability to block certain entities without having to contact the bank with explicit instructions or at least have virtual cards that you can manage (set limits, cancel, etc) as a standard banking feature. When dealing with Asian merchants it can be a pain with “mistake” charges and promised refunds that never arrive


Monzo can currently cancel continuous card payments if you contact them. They just need to add the option to the app itself so the customer can do it themselves.

Fully blocking a merchant could be useful. A transaction authentication should just be declined at both ends (at the customer side and the merchant side).

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I’m not sure if Monzo can tell the difference between a continuous card payment and a normal card payment from the same merchant, so there could be issues there.

I definitely agree that Monzo should try to solve this problem with some sort of merchant blocking and/or disposable virtual cards - it would be really useful to loads of people.

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What would the issue be? Payments can already be refused due to a multitude of reasons.If I say to the bank to block a merchant and then make a non recurring transaction with the same merchant, the transaction is refused and I have to unblock the merchant, use a different card or walk away empty handed

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We currently offer merchant blocks through customer support (this is the only guaranteed way to cancel continuous card payments), the way it has to be done is incredibly expensive though so I don’t think it’s something we will put in the app in its current form.

Looking to the future, Mastercard has something really exciting in the pipeline called MDES (Mastercard Digital Enablement Service) for Merchants. This is effectively the same tokenised payments that Apple Pay and Google Pay are built on but for online and subscription services.

There are a lot of technical details but effectively behind the scenes, it’s like having a unique card number for every merchant.

One of the benefits of this is that we know what tokens have been issued and have the future possibility to give people a list of services that you’ve authorised, along with an option to remove your card from them within the Monzo app.

Another benefit is that we can significantly more reliably update card details with subscription merchants when you replace your card because we would update the mapping from token to card, rather than hoping that the merchant supports Automated Billing Updater messages to update card details (we’ve had this live in Monzo Labs for a while and had mixed results).

Here’s a Mastercard video that explains some of it.

I should stress that this is really long term stuff but I thought you’d appreciate knowing about this given some of the comments. :slightly_smiling_face:


Financially or computationally (or both)?

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