Approved by Monzo, rejected by merchant

This is really starting to grate on me now. I am wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences.

For one reason or another, every time I make a purchase online using my Monzo debit card I play roulette with the prospect of 1. Getting the product as expected or 2. The money being held as a pending transaction for around 2 weeks.

I approve the payment in the app and then get an error message on the merchant web page. Then my money is lost in limbo for 2 weeks (or sometimes a month) until it magically reappears.

This helpfully normally happens when I really need what I have ordered and am chronically short of funds.

Previous helpful Monzo support agents have reversed these transactions for me with the stipulation that if the merchant then goes on to collect the money my account would be debited for the amount and I would have to raise a dispute.

More recently however, possibly a change in policy, agents simply copy and paste the help article about disputing payments which requires you to fill in a form and provide written confirmation from the merchant that the payment is not going to be claimed. They say this can help get the transaction back before the automated refund.

There has been a real shift in the attitudes and helpfulness of Monzo agents overall, everytime I contact them its as if I’m speaking to a bot that knows emoji’s rather than an actual person, a few years ago the agents where personable, took the individual case into account and seemed to have some semblance of autonomy to be able to use the levers they had to actually help in a personal and timely manner.

Now I feel like they are either so overloaded with customers that they have lost the will to help i.e. quickly scan what you have written and copy and paste the relevant help article, (if the help article helped, I wouldn’t have contacted support in the first place.) or are under new draconian KPI measures from management which prevent them from doing so.

I don’t know what the answer is to my cycle of pending transaction hell. Monzo is my only bank, I feel like I am going to have to transfer the money to a friend or family member and get them to place an order for anything more than £100 as it just isn’t worth the risk of being without the money for so long.

TLDR: After being made redundant in March and burning through what little cash I had, I finally land a work from home office job which starts on Monday. After using my last £250 to buy an office chair that won’t cripple me, Monzo sucks the money into the ether then acts like a bot when I ask for help.


Sorry about that. What merchants are you having issues with? It won’t be monzo fault if they’ve approved it? And if the merchant abandons the purchase it does take several days to drop off. Maybe use PayPal instead if the merchant has rubbish site not compatible with 2 factor authentication directive?

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It’s for this sort of reason that I usually use a credit card for online purchases, although I appreciate that not everyone is able to.

My experience of using Monzo online is not quite as bad as yours. But it’s not been seamless either.

Conversely I’ve spent a lot on online shopping the past few months (way more than I am happy about tbqh), and despite many 3D verification checks I’ve not had a single issue.

It would be interesting to see which merchants are having issues. Or perhaps could it be a phone issue, some weird issue with the verification?

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I once had an issue with a purchase on an app on mobile.

Went through checkout process to the stage where I was asked to open the Monzo app to verify the transaction, that went fine. Then went back to the app which had then lost the checkout process because I had navigated away from the app.

The solution I used was SMS verification instead, which pops up without closing the original app.

iirc it was the Uber Eats app

This year off the top of my head I have had issues with Vax when buying a new hoover, Concept2 when purchasing accessories for a rowing machine, Steam when purchasing a game (normally no issue) and today an office furniture retailer.

These are not old decrepit websites. The merchant today has been more divulging than most and has explained that the payment had been approved by Monzo then declined by their payment provider due to the address on the card not matching the billing address. Upon looking at my address I made a typo, which I accept is my fault. I should be more careful. But if their payment processor is checking the address why is monzo not?

Anyway, normally there is some error message that happens between me authenticating the payment and then returning to the website.

The merchant is physically unable to refund me as the payment was unsuccessful. Monzo won’t reverse the payment because of some internal process.

Its just annoying that support won’t help when they used to. They have done this for me 5 or 6 times in the past and the merchant has never claimed the money, this year though they have invented this convoluted process of getting written confirmation from some uninterested customer service rep at whichever company you tried to make a purchase from then submitting a form which has an ETA of around the same time the money would be automatically returned anyway.

Just their way of saying we don’t care I guess. If I had an infinite pot of money and/or I didn’t particularly need the things I was buying it would bother me less. As it is it causes me not an insignificant amount of rage.

If it leaves you in financial difficulties say that to them and they have to try help you but most banks don’t get mixed with pending earmarks and in some cases merchant has to fax them to confirm to get it removed early. But generally if a merchant abandons a transaction when you’ve miskeyed address, monzo knows its you since you’ve confirmed in App but merchant who are delivering the goods can choose not to proceed. It happens when something is out of stock too. This happens with all banks but how they explain and customer service matters so I get your point with customer service. Btw read previous threads on topic may be useful for you than chats

Literally had this issue and feeling of what you’ve mentioned and experienced in my last post oí. Definitely with you on this :bowing_man:t5:‍♂

Is it possible that you have made this mistake with the other merchants too?

No, I normally have it all filled in with google forms. But was on wife’s laptop today.

I’ve since obtained emails from the merchant with a voided invoice, and a screenshot of their payment processing system showing the transaction attempts, amount, times, dates, that they were voided etc.

After I explaining I had obtained these and attaching them to the chat, their response was:

“I’m sorry for the trouble you are having with this issue. I don’t suppose you can reach out to the merchant and ask them to confirm they won’t be taking the payment along with the amount, the date and time of the transaction.”

Like seriously, you have just paraphrased my exact words and asked for stuff which I have just told you I have and have attached it to the chat.

Bots. I feel like I’m talking to bots.


This isn’t just limited to Monzo, but you do notice this more on a debit card vs a credit card and even more so on Monzo where the drop in your available balance is more visible than with other banks. Out of interest what’s the policy at other banks? Are they willing to reverse these?

I have two of these on my American Express at the moment. The order went through then I was told it failed ‘internal validation checks’ so I put the order through again and it failed again. When I investigated further it turns out their supplier was out of stock, but that wasn’t being reflected on the Boots website. I’ve been left with 2x £300 pending transactions.

When it comes to disputing these, American Express are very similar to Monzo and they pretty much don’t want to know.

The thing is though - this doesn’t bother me at all because I made the purchase on a credit card. If I paid with Monzo I absolutely would be annoyed that my money was now unavailable to spend. I’d seriously consider making purchases like these on a credit card if you can, then moving the money to a bills pot so that your balance in Monzo drops by the same amount until your statement arrives. Not only do you avoid problems like this, but you also gain section 75 protection and you can earn cashback, reward points, avios etc.

This obviously isn’t a solution to your current problem with Monzo, but hopefully this helps you in the future.

It turns out it wasn’t the address, it was just Monzo. I was buying from this website at the recommendation of my new employer. They do decent reasonably priced chairs.

My wife thought she was doing a nice thing and unbeknownst to me has tried to order it on the same website using her Monzo.

We are now £500 down and still have no chair.

Absolutely winning at life the week before (her) payday. I just hope its a 7 day wait and not the full month. Thanks Monzo!

Its good all round advice, but I would like to be able to trust that if I have the funds available and need to make a purchase, my debit card will in fact work and not send money off into the void for a couple of weeks.

Genuinely interested, is this recurring problem enough for you to consider ditching Monzo? If not, what feature is keeping you?

If Monzo have approved the transaction, and it’s showing in your feed then Monzo is working correctly and have done their job.

I suspect your issue is infact with the payment processor the website is using. For example, if they’re using Stripe, and they’ve flagged the payment for an unmatched postcode, and you persisted in trying to purchase, then you may well have tripped one of Stripe’s flags for suspicious behaviour. That’s on the merchant to fix, not Monzo.

I’d be more annoyed at the merchant, personally.

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You are not £500 down as the money will be returned. You just temporarily don’t have access to it. This would happen with any other bank except it would be deducted from the available balance and not the actual balance. You still would be limited in what you could purchase because your available balance would be low until (like Monzo) the authorisation wore off. As others have said before, always have a second account, even if everything is good with Monzo. The fact Monzo have become robotic is worrying really though.

Yeah, I’ve got an old Natwest account. I’m thinking of going to head back over to them.

Day to day Monzo is great. All my direct debits and recurring payments are fine. Anything off Amazon is fine. I love the instant transaction feed and how clear everything is, I love pots and all the features for automatically distributing your salary, paying from pots etc, and I used to love being able to chat to agents in a messenger style conversation where everything is recorded.

Also the financial situation you read about in the news is a bit worrying. Even though the FSCS would look after any funds I have I imagine the admin would be a nightmare. I’m trying to talk my wife into changing her salary back over to her old account too. They have great features but how long can a financial institution survive if it is not profitable? They themselves say that Covid has cast doubt on their ability to carry on as a “going concern”.

I have managed to place the order last night using a Natwest card though. I don’t know what is going on, wife had all the information correct when she tried to place the order using her Monzo card, she has never had the issue previously either.

Merchant says they have accepted Monzo before. We were on a PC and did the authorization on the phone so there was no “time out” issue.

I actually called Monzo instead of going through chat and spoke to a really nice women. She explained that they have indeed changed their policy this year as they were losing money with people claiming authorized transactions were not going to be taken then double spending the cash and getting themselves into financial difficulty.

Whereas previously agents could decide on a case by case basis there is now a dedicated team that deal with these requests. If the chat people would have just said that instead of copying and pasting help articles it would have caused a lot less frustration.

I don’t know how many chats these agents are having to deal with? It was 4 hours between replies yesterday before they stopped replying at all, each one from a different agent.

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I’ve found the Sainsbury’s website/app to be a pain in the bottom with 2FA. If I leave to go approve the transaction when I come back Sainsbury’s seems to have forgotten everything and I have to start again. So with them I select the “sms” option as I can stay in the app and see the code appear as a banner.

Other sites where I have trouble I just use Paypal instead. Money still comes from monzo.