Current account limits insufficient for extraordinary purchases

Sorry, maybe I wasn’t clear in my post:

I’ll also follow up with the product team to see if we can make the limits any clearer, as well as the process for raising them.

In essence, yes! We’ll do our best to make it clearer for everyone :slight_smile:

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Having a limit is nothing new, I believe Lloyds have a limit of £25k a day, just that monzo is more transparent by having it listed in the app. It’s generally to prevent fraud etc. Honestly I’m glad there is a limit, it’s more rare that I’d want to take out more then £10k a day in Monzos case, and happy to ask for that to be turned off.

That and I don’t have £10k to take out daily sat in my main account :stuck_out_tongue:

Generally I do agree that in the spending limits tab, it may be worth mentioning that it can be increased via chat and COps should probably all be updated to know the exact ins-and-outs of it

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Thank you very much. I’m pleased with such a positive conclusion

I think I can shed a little light on one reason why lower limits are useful, at least from the outset whilst Monzo is improving their tooling around detecting and controlling fraud/money laundering…

It’s very “popular” at the moment for criminals to hire randoms offering them “work from home” jobs. They get the middlemen (and women) to open bank accounts using their own ID documents (and so they pass KYC). Often a business account and a personal account in tandem at the same bank, and then launder the proceeds of impersonation fraud etc through these accounts that passed KYC.

(The general idea is: receive large sums of money into business account (raises no red flags, it is not unusual for a business account), transfer internally to personal account (lax or no checks on internal transfers), send out using the high default outbound FPS limit of the personal account (chopped up into lots of smaller individual payments that they know won’t trigger the bank’s noddy fraud checks - eg if they suspect a bank reviews any personal account sending out a payment >£2k, they’ll send out lots of £1995 transactions.))

Ultimately, it’s not a good look for Monzo to be (unwittingly) used for stuff like this, and it’s better they get the tooling/monitoring right to try and combat this sort of activity before giving people automatic (and/or persistent) higher FPS limits. This type of money laundering is a problem that very large highstreet banks have not at all solved, and newbie financial companies such as Monzo would otherwise be an obvious target for fraudsters as they know processes and controls will be less established, so the cap is the best solution to dissuade use of Monzo for fraudulent/money laundering purposes whilst Monzo’s development priorities will lie elsewhere. I’ve no doubt that the ‘request leadtime’ will come down as the process around these gets cemented and made a little less specialised.

Most people won’t need >10k for day-to-day, so while requesting to send >£10k can probably become much more streamlined (I imagine ideally you’d be able to just plug it in like a regular transfer and then anything unusually large, or an account generating a large number of transfers, etc gets reviewed), I’m not sure I’d back a much higher default limit for automatically processed payments!

It’s not at all about not letting people spend their money, and it was unfortunate that the responses from COps were a bit muddled around all of this. ( @tristan - thanks for coming on and clarifying! :slight_smile: )

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Very interesting and that does actually make a lot of sense. Thanks for the explanation.

And yes, I agree… it’s not something the majority of people would need regularly. I only wish I did, having that kind of money would be a nice “problem” to have… :rofl:

I’ve just been through this process, making a large payment for a deposit on a house purchase. Here’s my experience. TL;DR: good!

I sold my house in February and stashed some of the proceeds in a pot in Monzo to take advantage of their FSCS protection. (The remainder of the proceeds were put in a building society savings account and left in my legacy HSBC current account — spread it around!)

I’ve been negotiating the purchase of my next house for some time, but I thought it wasn’t going to go through until late July until the sellers surprised me on Tuesday by suggesting a completion date before the end of June. I was on holiday, camping in Norfolk, so cue lots of flailing around to get ready to exchange contracts as soon as possible!

I arranged to see my solicitors to sign the contract, transfer form, etc. as soon as possible on Wednesday. Fortunately they were only in Cambridge, about 1.5 hours away. I contacted Monzo via in-app chat on Tuesday to arrange to send the money for the deposit to the solicitors at short notice.

The chat started quite late in the working day, and went:

Me: Tomorrow (Wednesday) I need to send the $large_amount that is currently in a pot in my account by Faster Payments to another bank account. Can you help me with this?

Monzo 1: Hi Stephen :wave:

Before we increase your limits temporarily, can you please let me know:

  • How much is the payment?
  • What the payment’s for?
  • How you’re planning to make the payment (e.g. via card or bank transfer - if it’s the latter, please send through the Sort Code and Account Number for the destination account too)?
  • When you’re planning on making the payment?

Bear in mind increasing your limit temporarily will take 1 working day to complete :+1:

Once you’ve answered the above, can you please also send through a selfie photo holding up a photo ID? I can then let you know if we can raise your limits!

Thanks!

I replied:

Me: Additional answers (the rest of the answers are in the original question): deposit for a house purchase, and the payment is going to $payee_name from my recent payees.

Monzo 1: Thanks Stephen, but could you please confirm what those details are please in this chat. We really appreciate that!

A little bit of cut-and-paste was in order:

Me: Tomorrow (Wednesday) I need to send the $large_amount that is currently in a pot in my account by Faster Payments to another bank account.

I also needed to supply the sort code and account number: it wasn’t apparent whether the COps could see my recent payees. It didn’t go smoothly: I was in a field in North Norfolk at the time…

Me: Just a mo - cutting and pasting

Me: Argh, can’t copy and paste from recent payees, trying to find a pen

I borrowed a pen and a scrap of paper, and wrote down the sort code and account number from the completion statement sent by the solicitors.

Me: (sort code) (account number)

Me: (selfie with driving licence, in the middle of a field)

I went back and looked at the recent payees in Monzo. I’d paid the solicitors an initial £400 to cover searches a couple of months ago. The account number was the same but the sort code didn’t match!

Me: Hmm. Actually, the sort code may be sort code from recent payees instead - that’s the one I used last time. I’ll contact the solicitors again to confirm.

Monzo 2: Great! Thanks. Do come back to us to confirm. :+1:

Me: I will confirm when I speak to the solicitors in person tomorrow (I have to go to sign the contract, etc.). I will need to make the payment immediately after that.

Monzo 2: Hi. Unfortunately we need to preauthorise this for you Stephen so we really need you to confirm the information asap for us, if that’s possible?

As my colleague Monzo 1 mentioned earlier, this normally takes 1 working day to authorise. But I’ll do my best if you can send the information over now?

What time are you going to need to transfer the money tomorrow?

We were well into the evening at this point.

Me: The solicitors aren’t answering my email at the moment - I suspect they have finished work for the day! I will be seeing them around lunchtime tomorrow. They might answer my email asking them to check the sort code tomorrow morning, or they might just wait to see me. (They have been quite bad at responding to email, unfortunately.)

Monzo 2: Could you call them first thing perhaps, as I say we really do ask for a day’s notice so I would like to get this request in tonight, so that they see it first thing.

I can make a note that we’re waiting for the sort code confirmation.

Me: I will call them in the morning.

Monzo 2: Great! Let us know if we can help with anything else, otherwise have a lovely evening :grin:

So, off to sleep in the tent and call the solicitors at 9am in the morning!

Me: I’ve called the solicitors. They confirmed that the sort code has changed, and that new sort code is now correct.

Part of the great Barclays sort code renumbering!

Monzo 3: Hey Stephen :wave:

Thanks so much for coming back to us on this, I will pass this on to the relevant time [sic] right away!

At this point I drove to Cambridge. The phone rang while I was driving, but I didn’t answer it because I was driving. I saw the solicitors, signed things, and retired to the pub where the phone rang again. It was Monzo, calling from a withheld number: I was asked how much the payment was, what it was for, and who it was being made to and was told that my payment limits would be increased for the next 24 hours and I should wait for confirmation of this in-app before making the payment.

Monzo 4: Hi there Stephen,
I’ve just checked with my colleague Monzo 3? and your limits have now been increased, so you will be able to make the payment anytime within the next 24 hours.

You can see your limits in the app settings section of your app - this link (internal link) will take you straight there!

Alternatively head over to the “Account” tab and on iOS tap on “Settings”, on Android tap on the cog on the top right of your screen. Finally, tap on “Spending and top up limits” to see your limits!

If there’s anything else, just let us know.

Regards
Monzo 4

I made the payment, making sure I used the new sort code and account details!

Me: That appears to have gone through ok, thank you. I’m just waiting for confirmation from the solicitors that they have received it.

Monzo 5: That’s brilliant! Let us know if we can help you with anything else at all. :blush:

Early on the next day, the solicitors confirmed they had received $large_amount.

How did this go? Generally very smoothly! After the initial annoyance of providing lots of details only to be asked for them again, I was very happy with the way the interaction went. The issue of the changing sort code was handled sensibly: it’s obviously a thing to worry about, because sending large amounts by Faster Payments to unauthenticated destination accounts is an obvious vehicle for scams. Checking the details directly with the payee is sensible.

Once the increase in outbound Faster Payments limit was authorised, it wasn’t clear whether the increased limit would only apply to payments to the pre-arranged sort code and account number, or to all Faster Payments. I didn’t test this! :smile: On the whole, I would prefer that the increased limit only applies to the pre-arranged destination account to help prevent both mistakes and fraud. I don’t know if this is technically possible at the moment.

Am I happy with the service from Monzo? Yes. I was able to make a large Faster Payment, within 24 hours of initially requesting it. (I think it was about 21 hours in the end, but could have been sooner if I had answered the phone when they initially called me.)

Would I have been in trouble if Monzo had not been able to help? No, my backup plan was to make the payment from my HSBC current account. I might have had to visit a branch to do this. I’m very glad I didn’t have to! I have that dubious pleasure scheduled for next week, to transfer the balance for the house purchase by CHAPS.

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Thanks a lot for sharing this, it’s super informative and I’ll be a lot more relaxed if I need to do this in the future!

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I guess the immediate takeaway from my experience is that “cut and paste of sort code+account number from recent payees would be really useful for people on campsites with no pens or paper”!

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Oh, and “withdrawing $large_amount from a pot and immediately sending it out by Faster Payments really confuses the pulse graph”!

(It was similarly confused when I paid $large_amount in and put it in a pot. Keeps telling me I’ll run out of money before the end of the month despite my running balance being about three times my monthly expenditure!)

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I bought a house through my HSBC account a couple of years ago. Their £10k limit is completely inflexible, so it took me a week to transfer all the money. The only other option there was to pay £30 for a bankers draft.

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Lloyds are much better with this. You can make single payments of up to £20k online or from the app, and multiple payments to the same payee also work (up to a maximum amount). I tried this a few years ago when paying down a house deposit. However, was forced to make the eventual full payment over the phone

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@sde1000 , thank you for sharing your experience. I’m glad that the process went smoothly, and wish you good luck in your new house!

Your post has prompted a couple of thoughts:

  • You’re a frequent visitor and contributor to the forums. Consequently, you know about the payment limits. To non-forum members, I don’t think it’s as clear that such limits apply to bank payments as well as to card payments. Had you not known, and waited until the day your payment was required before initiating this process, your payment might not have gone through, and you would have experienced a great deal of stress. As expressed earlier in this thread, for the benefit of those customers who aren’t so engaged on the forum, I do feel it would be worthwhile making this more explicit.

  • I understand why they do it (particularly given all the scams that work so hard to part people from their money), but having grown up in Switzerland, I find it a little uneasy that your bank might ask you what you need your money for. Also, this makes me wonder: when joint accounts are introduced, will the chat be viewable for both account holders, or will it be individual? I can imagine someone wanting to buy something for their spouse, and wanting to keep those details private

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I’m not sure how the chat will be done, but you need to each have a personal account with Monzo before opening a joint account together. This problem with joint accounts isn’t new- even without instant notifications in legacy banks, buying something for your partner is best done on your personal account instead of a shared joint account since they will still be able to see statements etc. I think a more probable annoyance would having instant notifications turned on for your partner’s spending rather than being able to access their chat logs.

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I agree that the information should be more easily available. A good start would be to add a note to the Limits page in the app (and possibly a direct link to start a new conversation with Monzo?), but I don’t know whether the average Monzo user discovers this page! Apart from that, what would you suggest?

I would be quite worried if they didn’t ask, really. If my answer was “my bank called me and told me I needed to move my money to a new, secure account” for example, I’d expect them to give me relevant advice!

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My suggestion would be to add this information to a page that everyone sees. Taking into account that we wouldn’t want to clutter up the main view in the app, and that putting this information on a Settings page would make it harder to find, I’d still go with my earlier suggestion of displaying this information on the payment confirmation page, as below.

Monzo%20mock-up

…and it would probably be worth adding a link to the Limits page.

Regarding whether or not they should ask, I guess it’s a cultural thing. I can see the benefit, but it does make me slightly uneasy. I don’t have a solution to propose for that one!

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Glad to see this. Will also be sending $large_amount for a house purchase soon. My Birmingham Midshire Building Society account is linked with Monzo so my only choice is to empty it into Monzo and then pay the deposit to my solicitor. Fingers crossed it goes smoothly, I’ll be sure to send them £1 first!

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AFAIK, they are essentially legally obligated to ask what the transfer is for, for any payment over a certain size (£10k?). Similar if you receive a large payment: they have to ask about origin and intent. ISTR there is also a reporting obligation on them, though I don’t know off the top of my head if it’s universal or only transfers they deem suspicious…

I had a somewhat more bemusing experience with limits recently (mainly the arbitrary cash withdrawal cap and 24h delay for raising it). On top of getting the same copy & paste request question list as @sde1000 (most of which make no sense for a cash withdrawal to start with) and being unable to raise the limit until the next day, I was still able to withdraw that amount of cash simply by transferring to another account and withdrawing the remainder over the limit from there, making the fraud-prevention aspect rather moot. End result (£x removed from Monzo account, £x in cash in hand) identical, but with unnecessary dancing about via FPS.

Incidentally, I was in a similar position with First Direct a year ago, but they were able to raise the cash withdrawal limit within the hour via phonecall.

Hey @edzieba,

I’m really sorry this wasn’t as smooth as we would have liked :confused:

There is no fixed delay to being able to raise the limits - we just ask that you try to give us 24 hours notice so we can sort everything out on our end. Of course, if there is an emergency then we’ll do our best to get it sorted as quickly as possible :+1:

Thanks for the feedback, I’ll pass it on so we can work on improving this :pray:

Recently did this and I agree the process is far too slow. It took over 24 hours to get the amount adjusted and I had to keep chasing for updates.

This needs to get down to a much shorter time scale really.

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