🇧🇬 Monzo in Bulgaria

that is why I suggested this in mid November, but nobody from Monzo commented on my suggestion

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Also if people complain directly to Borica or Mastercard, that could help for the issue to get resolved faster. It is not like it is that complicated to update bin rules. Then again MasterCard Debit is a more or less a new thing, isn’t it. (Used to be Maestro before, if I am not mistaken?)

No it is not a new thing and it did not used to be Maestro. They are two different debit card schemes both run by Mastercard and Maestro cards are issued by many European banks, some issuing both Maestro Debit and Mastercard Debit cards.

Where your confusion comes from is in the UK the Switch debit card scheme was wound up and so cards tended to be transitioned to Maestro for some while but then later most were replaced by Mastercard Debit (although in some cases banks chose to switch over to Visa Debit).

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Just spent weekend in Sofia. Not a single cash machine, hotel, restaurant, hotel or shop accepted my Monzo card. Not a great start to using the card!

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Dang, that’s really bad. Did you try other Mastercards at the same shops?

This has been reported before and it sounds like it is the fault of one acquirer, Borica, who is very popular in Bulgaria.

Unfortunately, this stuff happens, especially when BIN-based routing logic is used (more commonly an issue on magstripe terminals, but not always).

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Is there anything anybody at Monzo can do with MasterCard maybe? @HughWells

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I think that should be easily solvable - surely Monzo/MasterCard are interested in people being able to use the card and they should be able to take it up with Borica to update their BINs…

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You’d think so, but I imagine Monzo has already contacted them. There is a route for consumers to complain directly to Mastercard, tho I won’t post it here as @RichardR has previously asked that all Monzo-specific complaints be routed through Monzo instead of direct to Mastercard. @RichardR - has this one been passed on to Mastercard/Borica yet, if you can comment?

Some places just refuse to update systems, and unfortunately, it seems like true enforcement action is rare, if places ignore polite reminders.

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Yes, used Mastercard credit card or Amex instead, both of which worked fine

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That matches the earlier reports… sigh honestly, the networks need to sort this stuff out (and it isn’t just Mastercard, I’ve had similar issues with my MBNA Amex).

It also makes one wonder the point of the rather extensive EMV testing process, given it’s evidently possible to finish it and have major issues (though, to be fair, nothing like the issues that existed in the magstripe days; and to be more fair all the issues with my MBNA Amex not routing to them have been on magstripe terminals).

Hey all,

I am flying to Sofia in bulgaria on the 24/2/18 and then travelling to Bankso.

Please can someone let me know if the Monzo current account will let me take cash from an ATM over there! I am hearing that it didn’t used to work on the pre-paid card! Thanks :slight_smile:

Hey Oliver!

I returned from Borovets two days ago and had no problems using my Monzo current account card in Bulgaria. Had another card with me just in case, but didn’t need to use it as Monzo worked perfectly fine for me. Have a great time in Bankso!

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Thankyou for the reply! I also have returned from Bulgaria and had no issues using my card over there! happy days :slight_smile: thanks again.

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If you read the two posts before you you will see there no longer seems to be any problem

The known issues with the main local transaction processor have now been resolved.

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This now works is the new current account. Thanks

The problem was the local processor using BIN tables

The Monzo BIN has now been added to their list and since then the problem has been resolved.

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Hello! Just on my way to Bulgaria and was planning to use either my monzo card or the transferwise debit card. Any idea which is better in terms of transaction fees?

  • For POS transactions (i.e. card payments): Monzo.
  • For ATM withdrawals under £200 per 30 days: Monzo.
  • For ATM withdrawals over that limit: Probably Transferwise.

Caveat: Actually using the card is free with Transferwise, but they charge you for converting the currency. So, if you already have BGN in your transferwise account, Transferwise will be free. (same as Monzo.)

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That’s perfect, thanks very much! I’ll just continue with monzo :slight_smile:

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Hi, did you manage to use your card with no issues whilst in Bulgaria?
I’m going in August to sunny beach and want to make sure I can use it.