Monzo charged me twice for gas and restaurants in the US
US fuel stations can also put holds on money as a lot of them are pre-pay or pre-authorisation before you can draw fuel. For example I had to pre-authorise $40 but only actually drew $12. This shows as a $40 hold and a $12 spend at the moment (I presume the $40 will be released at some point…).
I also found that Lyft (mainly US based competitor to Uber) will put various holds resulting in many transactions. For sign-up + one journey I ended up with about 5 or 6 transactions including two credits, two debits, a debit for the journey, and two active card checks. Lyft also uses an asterisk in their name so what you end up seeing in Mondo is “Ride Tue 9pm” rather than “Lyft *Ride Tue 9pm”. Clicking into the transaction can show what it really is.
A third thing I noticed is that often the auth holds will come from a slightly different business name than the final payments, which can make things look a little confusing as well.
Finally… keep an eye on whatever bank account you are topping up from… it is very easy to need a little extra and top up several times over the course of a few days. However, with my source bank the transactions don’t show up for 2 to 4 days so you need to be careful not to top up with more than you have and end up getting some nasty overdraft charges from your source bank.
When it works, it’s fantastic. However, I’ve had several foreign ATM transactions declined over the past couple of months, and a few card transactions in store - to the extent that I could not yet when abroad rely solely on my Mondo card.
I understand that for security reasons you sometimes need to decline transactions in case it’s not me. What would be fantastic at such times is if you could send me an interactive notification afterwards asking me “We just declined a transaction in Switzerland. Was it you? If so, respond with Yes and you can re-try the transaction.” Are there any plans for something like this?
A lot of the time, transactions fail for reasons outside of Mondo’s control. Due to the unusual extra number of layers between you using the card and Mondo’s servers knowing about it, more things can go wrong than with a normal card.
Once Mondo is a Real Bank™, they’ll have a lot more control over what happens in these types of cases and the number of unexpected/weird declines should decrease a lot.
Traveling to Florida in October. What happens if I lose my card whilst I’m out there?
Freeze it assuming you haven’t lost your as well; report it through the app; carry one other card?
Off to Dublin this weekend, first time abroad using Mondo. Do you think I will be OK to use it as my main card?
yep , but have another card just in case
Thanks for ease as well I’m not taking any euros out before I get there. Due to Mondo not charging like other banks there’s no need?!
I just used mine in Spain as my main card. No problems, no declines, and most importantly no charges. I took backup but didn’t use it.
I’ve been in America for a month with no problems apart from the ATMs which only authorize by the magnetic strip which the card declines. This is annoying but totally sensible since anyone could easily “authenticate” on your behalf…
Great to know thanks. What charge did you get when using your card abroad? A few pence?
Is there another way to get cash?
Just avoid the ATMs in 7/11s and hotel lobbies. Go to Bank of America and other branches and you will have no issues. I’ve had no issue in Washington, New York and Chicago so far. We be adding Miami to the list next week
You can use any standard ATM to withdraw cash. I recall seeing some other people finding work arounds for avoiding fees. Check out the full USA travel tips thread though!
Exchange Rate Transparency
It’s great that Monzo charges you the Mastercard commercial rate on overseas transactions but it is difficult if not impossible to confirm this. The Mastercard rate is always quoted to five decimal places. https://www.mastercard.us/en-us/consumers/get-support/convert-currency.html
In the Monzo App however the rate is only quoted to two decimal places. The impression therefore is that Monzo is using a similar yet different rate.
Keeping the Monzo interface clean and uncluttered is important but in doing this the competitive advantage on exchange rates is obscured.
On the individual transaction screen where it says “The exchange rate was” the full Mastercard exchange rate to five decimal places should be quoted.
The transaction list interface would remain clean (leaving this as is with the abbreviated rate to two decimal places). Users could though then see and compare the rate with that set by Mastercard when they look at the individual transaction.
The tweak is small but the benefits in terms of showing the benefits of Monzo, great.