Card not accepted because "Monzo is not a UK bank"


I just tried paying for a bottle of water and some crisps at this place Nj Enterprise ( and the shop assistant dismissed me rudely saying “NO MONZO! ONLY UK BANK! THIS ONLY PREPAID. WE DON’T ACCEPT. ONLY NORMAL BANK. UK BANK.” (sic)

Imagine my frustration, trying to explain to this ‘gentleman’ that Monzo is a proper bank, that the card is no longer a prepaid card and that he should just let me use my card. He kept arguing and refused to accept my Monzo card.

As this is the 2nd time something like this has happened to me, is there anything that can be done regarding such ignorant people and their ‘ONLY UK CARD’ shops? (And I’m not looking for solutions such as: “Yes, just don’t shop there anymore” and similar ‘advice’, thank you)

Is it even legal for them to refuse my card based only on the bank’s name?


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It is absolutely legal, just like it’s legal for them to refuse your card because they don’t like you, don’t like pink (sorry “hot coral”), or, really, for pretty much any other reason. (Though refusing to sell to you because of race, sex, etc. is of course illegal.)

However, it’s against MasterCard’s rules, which stipulate that the merchant must (and I’m over simplifying) accept any signed MasterCard. The merchant has signed and agreed to these conditions, and you could report him to MasterCard who may (or may not) sanction him. But how to go about that practically, I don’t know.

Edit: Actually, you can report him here:

Choose the last option “A merchant/retailer displaying the Mastercard decal in their window refused to accept my Mastercard card.”

Honestly, though, I can barely imagine MasterCard actually following through on such a report, espcially given that this is the US site…


Wait, is it against MasterCard terms to have a minimum spend?


Yep. And still wide spread, which is why I say: In practice I don’t think much will come of it if you complain …

Thanks for your response. Helpful! :slight_smile:

I’ll use the MasterCard link you gave me.

This smilier thing has happened to quite a few people especially around Liverpool St. Check the thread below;


I had this at the pub this week. They said they wouldn’t accept Monzo cards for setting up tabs as a lot of people just left their card and didn’t pay. All fine after I explained that it was a current account etc.

If I was that landlord and this was indeed true I would have contacted the police and Monzo as they can easily be traced back to the owner…

Me thinks he be fibbing slightly


Totally against the Mastercard Rules but previously @RichardR has asked for these reports to go to him on here.

Refusing foreign cards raises major concerns as it’s against the entire concept of a global payment network…

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The pub guy?

Unfortunately probably not fibbing. We’ve had several reports of the same thing from different pubs and on occasion have had to talk to the pub owners, at least one of whom was pretty aggressive with us!!!


I meant landlord…

Wow, I never knew people were so dumb as to do things like that! Learn something new everyday…

What happens in cases like that then?

The backstory was as @hailstorm said - that people left prepaid cards with the bar after running up a huge tab, froze the cards and left. Sure, the landlord could have called the police but without a formal investigation being underway it’s not like we could just hand over the customer details, and I suspect although it was large enough amounts to upset the business, probably not large enough for them to want to spend time launching an investigation, doing all the paperwork, etc, not when they have a business to run. I’m not exactly sure how often this happened, but it was more than once and in more than one location, and one of the pub landlords was very aggressive to staff members when we tried to find out why they were refusing our cards.

Far less likely to happen with current account cards that have your name on, etc. Less perception of them being “throwaway” due to not having visible links to your identity etc.


Bit of a shitty thing to do tbh, if they opened a current account off the back of the prepaid you should take the money owed and forward it on.


We can’t force a merchant to keep attempting a payment that got declined though. If they forced through an offline payment which took the prepaid into negative figures, we do require that the balance is brought to 0 before allowing an upgrade. At that point the money is obviously owed to us rather than the merchant.


Its quite a shame there is this negative association with Monzo now because of the prepaid system and the way these cards were misused on it.


Bear with me, I’m not a pub person: I’m not getting that:

Shouldn’t the barman just have processed each order separately on the card machine? Why leave a card behind? Why would I leave my card to an unknown 3rd party? And why would a barman agree to that? I’m just not getting it…

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It’s really only a small amount of incidents. Slightly annoying but I wouldn’t put too much weight on it. At some point soon, the majority of our customer base and transaction volume will be from people who never even used prepaid.


It’s just something that happens. People leave a card with the bar as a show of good faith while they run up a tab and then pay it all at once before they leave. The assumption being that the person would actually want their card back before they leave, which generally would be the case, as most debit cards have your name on, are your primary source of funds, and aren’t “disposable”.

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OK, but is there an advantage to either side?

For me: I can’t see I would leave my (contactless enabled) card in the care of a 3rd party that’s unknown to me. Especially in times of contactless it’s so quick as well, that it’s really not worth it.

For the landlord: They obviously take a risk (as exemplified here, but surely not unique to prepaid/nameless cards [I could just hand him a stolen card as well]) so why do it? Are the multiple smaller transactions so much more expensive?

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It has only ever happened to me once. We were having a meal in a pub and the barman asked us if we wanted to run a tab, and took a card to keep behind the bar (this was in the days before contactless, and before it was commonplace to pay by card in a pub).

I certainly wouldn’t entertain it now.

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