Magstripe time limit

I really love that Monzo has put users’ safety first by disabling magstripe as standard. With the risks that this poses, it’s great to have a bank that cares enough about its users to think about this. I travel to America a lot so I have become quite used to this feature.

One thing I have found myself thinking more and more is whether a strict 24hr limit should be the only option. I can’t have been the only person to have travelled to somewhere where mobile data is expensive and there is no free WiFi, and yet I have forgotten to switch my magstripe on, effectively leaving me without access to ATMs except in a real pinch.

This probably won’t be a popular suggestion, but maybe it might be worth introducing a customisable timeframe for this? Say from x date to x date. So I can switch it on when I leave, and it’ll automatically turn off when the time limit expires.

I’d be interested to know if I’m the only one who has ever forgotten to activate their magstripe while travelling abroad!

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Is this an iPhone feature? I haven’t seen anything about magstripes in the app, but I was about to go to the States. Can I not use the magstripe at all?

The mag stripe can be activated in the accounts settings within the app for 24 hours. After this period, if you still need it, just activate it again. :+1:

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Thanks! Didn’t realise. What about magstripe POS? Thinking about it, I’m off to Vegas, so might struggle with £200! :thinking::money_mouth_face::wink:

Magstripe POS is different so you won’t need to turn this on.

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It’s worth mentioning @guswaine, that it’s possible to enable magstripe for longer if you ask Monzo via in-app chat. :slight_smile: It’s usually a very quick thing to do and probably time spent sending them 2 lines will be less than your total time spent enabling magstripe.

Also, I believe you don’t have to wait and calculate 24h period, you can turn it off and then on again - it should start new 24h.

I agree with your idea though, even if it was limited to 7 days ahead, it would be a really nice addition. I don’t think we should be given totally blank from&to dates, as many people might unnecessarily enable it and forget about it, exposing themselves to more risk.


Thanks for the tip! I didn’t know you could activate through the in-app chat at all :blush: and yes, you are right about the turning it off and back on again, which I will do whenever I remember - and there’s the problem, I have to remember, and I’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on :joy:

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Ps. Also agree with your suggestion about just a longer limit, rather than the freedom to set for a really long time :ok_hand:

See, I wish they’d change this and lower the limit. All magstripe (purchase and ATM and magstripe contactless) should, in my opinion, be one transaction within 15 minutes of pushing a magic button in app to allow it.

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That would make the card non-functional in certain travel situations where magstripe is the standard, and there is poor/no access to mobile data or WiFi. However, I think it would be good to have a toggle so we could enable or disable POS magstripe. That way when in the UK we could leave it off, and turn it on if travelling to such a place.

Fair enough you may want it as an option but that would me a major inconvenience for many!

That would be the point, somewhat (other than the no access at all). It’s a merchant education opportunity when in the US/Hong Kong/Japan. Imagine this:

  1. Shop tries to swipe card and it doesn’t work.
  2. You ‘oh, I’m sorry, my bank declines insecure transactions, and because the magstripe is so easy to copy they require me to approve each one in the app’ opens app and hits the magstripe button ‘there, try again, now they know it’s me. You know, to protect your customers against fraud you really should start using the chip or EMV-mode contactless.’

Obviously I’m not suggesting subjecting innocent cashiers to this. For them, you’d turn on in advance if you know. I’m talking for sole proprietorship small business type situations.

Well, with my solution (non-time limited toggle), you could still do this by leaving magstripe POS off. But I, and I suspect many others, am not interested in lecturing independent shop-owners on how to run their businesses when I’m travelling (or at any other time to be honest). And one visitor saying this is not going to get them to change their systems. I’d rather be able to easily use my card wherever I am.


Ah, now there’s where it’s all about tone. In the US, especially, many just do not understand. They’ve been told chip cards are more secure and all that, but many don’t understand how it actually protects them from fraud. Friendly education, never a lecture (unless they do something insanely stupid like demand their processor disable chip support because they find it too annoying, like one small business I’m aware of in Montana, USA did).

Absolutely spot on!

We can activate it for a longer period of time if you give us a shout through the in-app chat :+1:

It’s always worth bearing in mind that magstripe use can leave you much more susceptible to fraud, so if you can use chip & PIN then we’d always recommend doing so!

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As you note it’s very fraud prone, so why not let us have it disabled for POS?

It would be good to have an option of more time. Maybe up to 5 or 7 days? Thus meaning you can go to the states without having to remember to keep turning it back on every day or so! :+1:t3:

If you only want it for 15mins can’t you just turn it off when you are done with your transaction?
I’m assuming if you’ve managed to have signal to turn it on and want to turn it off within 15min you still habe access to internet after your transaction?

You can’t disable it for POS, only for ATM.

I believe POS transactions can be charged back (at the merchants loss) but ATM transactions cannot, so it makes sense to have the non-reversible transactions be opt-in (via a toggle) while POS transactions are authorised by default and can be charged back should fraud occur.