Management of 'trial' transactions

By ‘trial’ transactions in this case I mean the likes of the £1.58 that iTunes appears to bill and then rescind just to prove that a customer exists.

In the specific iTunes case on my card, it took just less than a week to withdraw the £1.58. Fine by me (and anyway the timing is an Apple issue) but I was surprised that rather than withdrawing the original £1.58 pending transaction, I got a £1.58 credit.

Clearly, that makes no financial difference to me (other than a slight discontinuity in my monthly spending figures) but it does mean that I now have a pending transaction that will presumably never clear and a credit of some money that was never really gone from the account in the first place.

While I accept that this is a one-off from my viewpoint (for iTunes, at least), from a banks viewpoint this may occur for most customers so I would hope that a slicker method of indicating a withdrawn ‘test’ could have been considered.

I’d like to see the transaction become a “cancelled” transaction, and greyed out or similar. Obviously, it then wouldn’t count towards statistics etc, it’d be like it never happened. To make it easier to follow, a (dismissible) feed item could appear on the day the transaction becomes cancelled which takes you to it.

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Yes and no.

First I need to clear my ignorance on how this all works. My assumption was that once a pending transaction was withdrawn it would simply disappear from the register as it was no longer active. On that assumption, the presence of a ‘Pending’ transaction in my register that actually isn’t pending doesn’t make sense to my engineering brain. (It’s not like I’d actually paid it and had it refunded. In that case, I’d fully expect to see either two balancing transfers or a single £0 transaction flagged as cancelled in some way).

Assuming that this isn’t how it works (since the evidence is staring me in the face), the only alternative I’ve come up with so far is horribly manual since it requires the system to ‘spot’ known values for these transactions and treat them accordingly. This has 3 obvious problems:

  1. Someone has to identify and code for these things. Not the best plan.
  2. You’re at the mercy of the vendor if they decide to change the value they use for these checks since they’d need spotting and re-coding. Less than ideal.
  3. If actually do buy something for £1.58 then I’d need to see that. Atmittedly, the transition from a ‘Pending’ to an ‘Authorised’ transaction should cover that case so perhaps I only have 2 problems here.

Another small thought on this…

Because the credit isn’t taken into account on the Spending tab this is now skewing my spending with the supplier since the remaining Pending spend is being counted in the stats for that calculation.

From Replace “Active card check” items with actual charge

Um OK. Different topic but related I guess.

Oh ok, aren’t these transactions and the issue they cause essentially the same though or am I missing something?

I just had an active card check credited back to my account. There’s nothing too unusual about that except it was instantly refunded & as you can see from the transaction’s notes (which were populated automatically) Monzo can obviously see the purpose of these transactions. On top of that, the note on the credit entry states that the check was “reversed” which is a term that you usually hear when the bank has got involved.


I wonder whether Monzo has set up an automated process to deal with these transactions sooner, where possible? Following the OP’s request, the notes obviously help make it clearer what’s going on here too :thumbsup:

I personally don’t mind how much time it takes though, as long as it’s completed at some point. I’m more annoyed with low view value in comparison to the space they take.

When user gets Monzo card, and first card check happens, user could be presented with explanation (like @alexs suggested), with option to allow Monzo to hide them. If user wants to, go to Settings to enable.

Alternatively, would it be possible to automatically add them to ‘Card checks’ category? Filtering with exclusion of Card checks category effectively would hide them from normal transaction view as well.

It’s important that in effort to make transaction view nicer, we don’t accidentally confuse users with “hey, I thought I had £11, but now I have £10, where is my £1?!?!”. :sweat_smile:

I also have a good example to show how it looks when you book 4-5 accomodations in a row…

I meant to say - had the same thing with TFL on the 11th Feb (I rarely use Monzo for travel), and it was instantly reversed.

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I think in the iOS now (and hopefully the Android app in the future) these are dismissable from the feed.


Two distinct processes may be occurring here. Out of curiosity, can you press the middle transaction £1.00 in black, and see if that one shows pending? I think the difference here is who processes the refund, whether the merchant or Monzo.

  1. On your Coinbase example it may be that Coinbase are requesting authorisation for that £1 and then including it in the eventual presentment file. They may then issue a refund themselves automatically, shortly after. Maybe the presentment file just includes this one transaction as a voided/refunded transaction. That is why I suspect that middle transaction not to be pending.

  2. On the other examples I think the authorisation for the amount is requested to Monzo and then just never issued on presentment files, its refund deadline just allowed to lapse. On other credit cards these are never included on the statements as authorisations are pretty much ignored but for Monzo it means they will have to refund the money/cancel the transaction at some point down the line. I notice these are the ones that remain “Pending” even after the refund is shown on transaction history.

I’ve had this strange case where a transaction had been refunded/cancelled by Monzo only for it to be charged again when I presume the presentment file with that transaction arrived, so for that purchase I have three entries: Two 14.63 charges and one 14.63 refund :joy:

For me there is not a lot more Monzo can do and I think their current method is more than acceptable, I just think they need to tidy up the initial ‘trial’ transactions when they process a refund/cancellation. These should not show as pending and should not contribute towards merchant spending stats or targets, etc.


Yes it does.

The merchant name is displayed for the refund…

That would be good :slight_smile:

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