Deposits/temporary charges

I had a slightly annoying experience while on holiday.

I had a surf lesson at a place in Morocco. I thought I was paying for the lesson in advance, which was 500 MAD. However, it was actually a charge placed on the card as a deposit. I was supposed to go back and pay for the whole lesson at the end. I didn’t do this. A couple of days later I noticed the charge. I didn’t get the usual confirmation because presumably, the initial 500 MAD wasn’t a proper transaction.

As you can see, the transaction at ‘Ocean Ambassadors’ is slightly greyed out. Not sure what’s actually different about this transaction technically to make it greyed out like that. But it’s not clear enough that this isn’t a proper charge. I panicked and thought I’d been charged 500 EUR. I spoke over chat with Monzo customer support (which was great btw) and they just told me I’d have to get proof of purchase to get the money back.

I don’t have a huge problem with it. I managed to clear it up by going back, they refunded the money and I paid the proper amount. But it should be clear what that greyed out transaction actually is and why it’s greyed out.

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As you may have worked out, the transaction is greyed out as Monzo has received notification of it, but it is not a final charge and is in a non-GBP currency. The two variables mean that Monzo can’t know what the final amount charged to you in GBP will be until the transaction settles. In this case, when the merchant collects the final amount in MAD (this can be in both a different amount and a different currency to the authorisation!) and MasterCard’s current exchange rate is used to convert it.

While I don’t have a screenshot handy, the transaction screen itself should tell you about both of these, with the “exchange rate not final” message sitting just below the amount, and the “pending transaction” message right at the bottom.

In your case, it looks from the screenshot like you found one of the many cases where a merchant will authorise international cards in USD, but settle in the correct local currency. It’s an annoyance I’ve personally found when purchasing from countries such as Japan. :disappointed:


Thanks Richard. That makes sense.

I suppose if I’m more specific in my feedback it’s that it should be a lot clearer in the design that this is not a finalised transaction. I had about an hour of stress and a support chat with Monzo that wouldn’t have been needed if it was a lot clearer in the design. They greyed out text and the ‘exchange rate not final’ notification are super subtle.

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That much is true, even though these are weird, uncommon positions to be in, the messaging and overall design could be much clearer. Especially in the situations where the authorisation currency likely won’t match the settlement currency.

Mentioning @hugo to note this for consideration next time these screens go through the design team.