Contactless payment took 45 seconds to authorise

Hello all,

I used my card to buy a Costa coffee this morning and after tapping to pay it took 45 seconds to authorise, I usually use my Natwest card contactlessy and it’s instant, perhaps this is because it is prepaid card?

This blog post explains exactly what happens when someone completes a transaction using a Monzo card -

in my experience, it’s usually this part -

Assuming your PIN is correct, the POS will create an Authorization Message (Auth), including details of the payment, the merchant and the card that you provided. This Auth is immediately sent by the POS up to a Merchant Acquirer via a data connection (perhaps a phone line or internet connection).

that causes the delay, while the POS struggles to connect to the Merchant Acquirer because their internet connection is not good.

Hope that helps :slight_smile:

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Noticed @alexs didn’t address why the Natwest card is instant. Contactless on many cards is offline, this means that the card issuer (Natwest in your case) gets no notification of the transaction at all until the merchant presents it for payment up to days later.

An offline card kind of kills the point of Monzo’s instant notification, running balance and undermines card freezing since the acquirer would need to check with the issuer for an accept/decline.

Yes, offline is risky as your issuer has no idea what is going on and no ability to stop it until it gets all these charges later. This is generally why, along with not having any authentication (PIN, etc), contactless is limited to £30 and banks generally (and in my pre-Monzo experience) only give offline contactless enabled cards to those with some kind of overdraft. Everything else is just eaten as the cost of having it be quicker.

45 seconds is kind of long but for the majority of merchants it’s more like 3 to 6 seconds and I hope you’ll agree in time that the short increase in time at the terminal is worth it for many of the benefits that Monzo provide.


Just to pick up on this point, Monzo will probably (as Richard pointed out below, there are conditions attached) refund any charges that you incur while your card is frozen if it’s been stolen & someone manages to make an offline payment using it.

If I recall correctly, that should only be normally possible with the earlier Alpha cards but yes, as with any issuer, once you have notified them that the card is lost/stolen, you should be off the hook for any charges then made (lots of exceptions and issuer specific policy here).

Oh dont get me wrong, im not whinging.

I am a contract application tester (software and hardware) and I am merely feeding back my experience.

You wont see me complaining :slight_smile:

Just to clarify, Richard’s post explains why notifications - rather than authorisations - will sometimes be delayed.

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yeah i am referring to having to wait before i can walk away from the POS terminal.

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