My boyfriend and I were recently on holiday in Argentina. As Monzo customers with a joint account between us, we planned to benefit from their favourable overseas rates by drawing cash from ATMs as we needed it. The first two ATMs we tried, however, presented us with relatively large fixed currency fees right at the end of the withdrawal process. When we saw the fees, we just cancelled the withdrawal (obviously getting no money) and eventually got our money elsewhere.
At that point we were not concerned. The fees were from the ATM, not Monzo, and we had cancelled the expensive transactions.
Then we noticed that the banks had actually taken the money from our joint Monzo account - two transactions in different banks worth about £75. We discovered that exactly the same thing had happened to another person on the trip. We still weren’t that concerned, as we knew someone who had had an ATM fail to issue and charge the amount but had a refund automatically after a few days.
It goes wrong from this point.
After days had gone by with no refund, we contacted Monzo via their app. This involved many separate discussions with several different people who often seemed to have no access to the previous chats. Worse, our joint account wasn’t treated as joint; agents have said they have no access to conversations with my boyfriend and have told me that they can’t discuss it with me as he raised the original query. Worse still, they clearly suspected we were not telling the truth asking us why we didn’t raise it earlier and emphasising that it is “extremely rare” that ATMs “fail to pay”.
Currently, after we complained, Monzo have made a £20 goodwill payment but just referred our issue to Mastercard. Given the service so far and the tone of some of the responses we are not confident they will represent us well.
So, some tips for others:
• In Argentina at least (and possibly elsewhere), cancelling a transaction when the fee is presented seems to result in a charge every time from most major banks. As you can’t see the fee in advance, you might want to reconsider using your Monzo card for cash overseas. This might apply to other debit cards.
• Monzo at least (and hopefully not too many other banks) may assume you making a fraudulent claim and refuse to make a refund unless a lengthy claim process via Mastercard is decided in your favour. I imagine they do get a lot of fraudulent “ATM didn’t pay” claims but they clearly don’t consider the specifics (this was a cancelled transaction, it would make no sense to mis-claim two separate transactions, no investigation of our parties 100% record of this etc).
• Monzo joint accounts are not as “joint” as you might imagine. Customer service do not have full access to records from both parties and will treat both parties as part of a single query process. This makes pursuing an issue like this significantly more difficult (and irritating!).
I hope others can avoid some of these problems. I’d be very interested to know about other people experience of cancelled ATM transactions overseas or Monzo. I will also post this on Martin Lewis’s Money Saving site, as I suspect the cancelled transaction problem applies to other banks, even if they handle it better.