Automatic payments at fuel stations in France

Hi all. Newbie here. I do a lot of travelling in France and most fuel stations are self service. Yesterday I bought 35 euros of diesel, went out for lunch and then my card was declined because the garage had obviously “blocked” much more than that from my card. Highly embarrassing as I didn’t have enough cash and I’d never been to that restaurant before!
It turns out they “block” 120 euros every time and it can take 7 days for them to refund the difference. So I am now stuffed for money till the rest is put back on my card. I appreciate Monzo have no control over this, but surely there’s a way around it? It doesn’t happen obviously in UK petrol stations. :frowning:

It has started to happen in the UK. They should now be blocking £99-100 each time if they follow Visa and Mastercard rules, but many are slow in implementing them (they came out at the end of last year)


Contact Monzo rough in app chat. They may be able to reverse the block.

Thank you I already have. The petrol station actually took it twice (240 euros) but Monzo refunded one. I may have to wait for 7 working days (which in France is a long time!) for the rest of it to be refunded. I just wondered if anyone knew a workaround.

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Ask Monzo for one of their new Overdrafts :wink:


top up your card from your legacy account ? take out cash from an ATM for petrol , use your card for restaurants rather than petrol which will block 120 euro a fill up ?

I think there are only 3 solutions.

  1. Contact Monzo every time.
  2. Add more funds to your account.
  3. Try to avoid self service stations.

Which isn’t particularly helpful, I know, but it’s the best I can think of.

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You can’t use cash only a card. Very few are manned with an actual cashier. What is a Legacy account anyway?

yep, that’s what I feared. I don’t have unlimited funds and most of the service stations in my area are unmanned. That’s France for you! :wink:

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Do the machines retry/ramp-down the initial auth from £100/€120 to lower amounts?
e.g. could you “hide” all but what you intend to spend in a pot, use the card with the machine, so the initial auth is exactly what you want (hold the hose trigger down until the machine stops you!), then return all your money back out of the pot?

but the card worked :slight_smile: the fuel was dispensed - it was the amount of the pre authorisation , presumably because of instant notification which caused the later problem because of insufficient funds in the account , having some funds blocked , which would happen on any card , just you wouldn’t know about it and would have gone into overdraft :slight_smile:

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“At the same time, doesn’t it render their card ineffective for certain kind of transactions”

no - the card worked and presumably if there were sufficient funds in the account to cover what would have been taken off any other card by the petrol retailer, it would also have worked in the Restaurant as well. The card didn’t work because there were ring fenced funds on it (by the petrol purchase ) - like any other card would have - and insufficient extra funds for the restaurant bill - other cards, as I said would have either put you in to overdraft or the ring fenced funds would have been returned before you even knew they had been taken in the case of credit cards


That’s true (although any debit card is a long way from a credit card). I think the take away advice would be to always have more than one method of payment available. :grinning:


Well, a credit card gives you more flexibility when you have a low balance than a debit card with no overdraft, regardless of providers.

The only fancy/fintech thing Monzo could do here is have a database of automatic petrol pump IDs and deny the first transaction, warning you in-app of what is about to happen when you try again, and maybe do you want to temporarily lower the amount they’ll authorise from that supplier, hoping the pump ramps down its preauth. OR please send us a video of your actual amount and we’ll “refund” most of the preauth.

Potential problems right off:
International database of fuel merchants quite complex to get set up in the first place I imagine.
Merchant ID perhaps the same at the pump as it is at the counter? So you’d need to only deny auths of suspiciously large amounts to avoid embarrassment at the cashier.
Encouraging you to take a phone video on a forecourt - bit controversial / dangerous
Not exactly a “killer feature”

again - not really - you’re comparing two totally different products and expecting them to have the same features - they quite plainly don’t - If there were sufficient funds in the account the Monzo card would have continued working just as Starling and Revolut would have continued working :slight_smile:

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lol - OK - keep sufficient funds on your card , card continues working :slight_smile: :slight_smile: lets leave it at that shall we :slight_smile:

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They’ve been even slower in communicating them to their valued customers, too (I’m taking about Visa and MasterCard here)

I had over almost 260 euros on my card. More than enough for 35 euros of petrol and lunch! The garage took off 120 euros twice and left me without funds for lunch. Even if they hadn’t have taken it twice I shouldn’t have to keep 120 on the card just so they can “borrow” it for 7 days when I buy fuel. It’s ridiculous. It doesn’t happen in the UK.

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Nope unless you have 120 euros on your card, you can’t fill up.

Rubbish. I had over 260 euros on the card, that’s more than sufficient for 35 euros of diesel and lunch!