I recently joined Monzo and was in the process of transferring my various accounts, including a number of bicycle rental schemes; namely, Santander, Velib (Paris), Velobleu (Nice) and Villo (Brussels). I’m doing this for added security.
Each of them has a ‘transparent’ deposit when renting the bike for around 150 £/€, in case of damage, etc. Normally, with a credit card, this isn’t reflected in your available credit and is returned once you return the bike.
My question is, in moving these to Monzo, will the deposit come out of my available balance - and if so, how quickly returned?
What do Monzo recommend for these types of services?
It might not show, but it does affect your available credit… you can find yourself running out of money whilst having a positive ‘balance’. it’s one of the tihngs that monzo makes more transparent by showing the effect immediately.
This is one of the reasons any rental should always be put on a credit card. The other is better protection for you if anything goes wrong. Personally, I’ve found American Express the best for this (but beware the foreign transaction fee, only use Amex for GBP - also in many other countries Amex isn’t widely accepted).
The deposit would be a ‘block’ on your credit card and your available credit would be reduced by the amount blocked. The money isn’t taken, it’s reserved as a deposit, and released after you return the bike and settle your account.
As above, any holds or deposits are highly likely to be taken from your Monzo balance as with any other debit card (though as usual, be aware that many banks have separate available and cleared balance numbers, we only show the money you have available to spend).
The timescale for the return of these holds will very much depend on the merchant. Some will release the hold immediately and others within a few days while many won’t actually cancel the authorisation at all, leaving our system to automatically reverse it after 7–8 days. In more rare cases, hotels may additionally request an authorisation hold for up to 30 days.
While I will leave it up to you to decide what card to use, just remember to keep any authorisation and refund/return receipts in case of any issues!
The TfL bike system in London operates slightly differently as it is for very short term, low cost hire. They don’t take a fixed deposit every time but I also would not recommend not returning one of their bikes.
My advice above applies more strictly to longer term or holiday bike hire, though some short term city bike hire companies across the world also do this. Be sure to read the terms of the specific bike hire scheme you’re using.
Makes sense. On a side note. I fucking love the boris bikes. Drivers give you so much room because they just assume that you are a dumb tourist, therefore allowing you to get about really quick if you ride well. Love em