Recently the Monzo system changed so you need to enter your PIN more often when using contactless. This is something that most banks do.
With other banks, my experience is as follows:
- You use your card in ‘contactless’ mode
- Some system somewhere determines that you need to enter your PIN
- The card machine says ‘INSERT CARD’ then gets you to enter your PIN, and does it as a ‘chip and pin’ transaction. [Alternatively, normally in continental Europe, the machine says ‘ENTER PIN’ without you needing to insert your card and you can finish the transaction that way].
- All done!
With Monzo, the experience is:
- Monzo decides I need to use my PIN the next time I use the card.
- It sends me a push notification on my phone saying “you need to use your PIN next time you use your card” (or something similar).
- The notification gets lost amongst all the other notifications on my phone, and/or I see it then forget.
- I try and use my contactless card in the normal way at a merchant (say a pub, or my work canteen)
- The payment comes up as REJECTED, which is super embarrassing. I’ve even had barpeople at pubs, and the checkout person at my work canteen, chase after me to tell me that my card’s been rejected, and drag me back to pay properly. It’s not fun.
- I’m not sure whether it’s been rejected because I’m low on funds or because of a PIN issue. I’m super embarrassed at this point and I want to get out of the way of the queue of people who are glowering at me with expressions saying ‘why doesn’t this idiot pay with a card that actually has money on it so we can get our [food/beer] and get on with our day?’ So I pay with a credit card not my Monzo card, to make sure I’m as quick as possible. And that messes up my budgeting and spend analytics.
- I get on with my day slightly more annoyed than I was before.
This is pretty much the only time that Monzo’s experience is worse than a traditional bank’s. But it’s getting to be quite a problem for me. I’ve actually thought about switching away from Monzo to some close competitor because of the embarrassment that’s caused by looking as though I have no money in front of colleagues.
Why can’t you get merchants to handle a PIN request in a more sensible way, like the legacy banks do? Is there a technical barrier?
All comments very welcome!