How does Monzo identify recurring payments and subscriptions?

Hi :wave:

I am interested to know (technically) how Monzo identify recurring paymrnts and subscription purchases. I was hoping to find some a blog article on the subject but I am out of luck :pleading_face:

I am lead to believe there is a predefined merchant list which you are using to determine common subscriptions. Is it as simple as doing a Fuzzy Lookup against a merchant list, or is there some more advanced machine learning at play here?

I am also interested to know how Monzo know the different between the likes of Sky payments, where they can bill for many different products and services under the same brand name, yet all of them aren’t necessarily recurring or subscriptions.

Would very much appreciate some insight :+1:

Hello and welcome to the community

Those are some very specific things to join the community to ask about

Are you able to give us some background to why you would be interested? Your own app?

Hello there! Welcome!

Initially, you have to tell Monzo that your transaction is a subscription, and how frequently your subscription is.

Let’s say for example you tell Monzo you have a subscription with Apple for £8.99 that’s taken on or around the 26th of every month. You find the most recent transaction for that subscription in your feed and enable the repeating payment option and set the frequency to Monthly

Monzo then keeps an eye out for future payments to that merchant for the same amount as the initial transaction you marked as a subscription that’s taken around the time it’s due based on the date of the previous payment and the frequency you set.

There’s no fancy machine learning going on here, it’s just a relatively simple automation algorithm.


Things like Direct Debits have a set reference number which is presented each time (easy enough to match up): this reference number is usually shown on your bill/direct debit confirmation.

Recurring card payments (also known as continuous payment authority) just use the same reference as the original payments just tagged as “repeat” (see Continuous Payment Authority | Recurring Card Payments | GoCardless )

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