Monzo charged me twice for gas and restaurants in the US


#1

I was charged twice for buying gas and paying my bill in a restaurant with gratuity. When will this be reimbursed? I am owed approx £200!

I don’t see the point in using monzo in the states if it basically steals money from you when you pay for gas and a restaurant bill. Very disappointed.


(Adam) #2

Nice to see the MSE brigade in full force


(Colin Robinson) #3

Your best option is to contact :monzo: through the app as they will have access to your records :slight_smile:


(Change Works) #4

Your disappointment is completely understandable.

I’d contact Monzo direct as @Dunsford advises. I’m sure it’s simply an error which can hopefully soon be rectified.

Good luck! I hope it gets sorted out for you and please report back here to say how/if it gets resolved.


(Andrew Schofield) #5

It’s also worth reading this wiki: 🇺🇸 Monzo in the USA [Wiki] as it mentions the apparent double-charge at the restaurant as a “quirk” of the way payments are taken in US. This could equally apply to the gas station as well.

Simply put the restaurant requests an authorization for the bill amount, and then later requests another auth for the total including a tip.
The original auth will never be presented so will “undo” itself after a few days.


(MikeF) #6

From reading elsehere I believe that this is the way US restaurants charge when a gratuity is involved with one of the charges dropping off later on. If that’s true then Monzo isn’t involved and is simply reflecting the transaction data it’s presented with.

Edit: This thread suggests that fuel charges work in much the same way (second post).

Stealing is quite an accusation to make on a public forum.


(Nick Perry) #7

An excellent example of where it might be helpful to stop and see it through the Original Poster’s eyes before answering (as some have managed). There’s a lesson here. Or at least a problem to recognize.

The legacy bank experience in these scenarios is: because the payments are processed later, the End User notices none of the anomalies that the instant processing and notification on Monzo expose. By the time the transactions are reconciled on the End User’s bank statement (and provided they have the credit/balance to cover it), the pre-auth has been cancelled or at least doesn’t show as a line item on your bill/statement.

We are seeing transactions warts-and-all with Monzo and that means seeing confusing things working were we wouldn’t before. c.f. TfL and how a cosmetic solution has been devised around keeping that experience as clear as it can be.

So it does raise the question - can more be done to distinguish these authorizations so they seem less like ordinary, balance-changing transactions?


#8

They have taken money from my account when they shouldn’t have. This is a serious flaw and questions the whole point of using monzo in the states, especially as monzo will introduce fees soon. Other banks don’t charge customers twice and nip the second charge in the bud immediately.


(Adam) #9

Have you read the post above? @realnickperry has explained why it seems they have charged twice and that this does happen with other banks, only you don’t see it because it isn’t in real time like Monzo.


(Rika Raybould) #10

I need to make it very clear that we are not stealing money from you. What you’re seeing is the way some US merchants charge your card. The reason you don’t see this with many other cards is that they’re not showing you these authorisations in real time like we do but I promise you that the underlying behaviour is not exclusive to our cards.

To answer the first question though, this will be refunded automatically in 7–8 days but you can contact us through in-app chat if you would like us to manually take a look at it sooner.

When buying fuel in the US, the pump will pre-authorise either an estimated or maximum fill amount. When you finish filling up, the pump can do one of a few things but in most cases, you will see the correct charge appear 1–3 days later, leaving the original authorisation to “hang” until it gets automatically reversed.

This is the same as tipping in restaurants. The restaurant will authorise the amount for your bill, then later put through a new transaction for the full amount, again, leaving the original authorisation to “hang” until it expires.

Unfortunately, the US does not generally consider these a problem like we would in Europe since people there predominantly use credit and charge cards where authorised amounts don’t matter and the only thing you see on your statement at the end of the month is the amount that was eventually collected.

Hopefully that explains what you’re seeing here. :slightly_smiling_face:


(Colin Robinson) #11

What did :monzo: say about this in the chat?


#12

It is hard to know for sure, as only Monzo will know, and if you have any doubts, by all means contact them using the in app chat. They are usually extremely fast as well, so please go ahead.

However, by and large that’s unlikely. They way card payments work is as follows (and I’m hugely simplifying this):

  1. The merchant contacts your bank and says “This person wants to pay £18.99. Are you alright with that?”
  2. Bank responds. “Sure thing. I’ll reserve £18.99 from their account balance, you have until next week to collect it.”. No money actually changes hands here: It’s just blocked for you.
  3. Some time later (maybe the same day, but it can be up to a week later) the merchant goes back to your bank and says “Remember I asked for £18.99 recently? I’d like to have these now.”
  4. Bank says “There you go” and sends the money.

What has most likely happened here is that the merchant, rather than collecting the amount it had originally reserved, made a completely new transaction. The “reservation” will eventually (usually after 7 days) expire by itself.

As others have said: This practice seems to be common in the US. This has nothing to do with Monzo, but with the merchant. (If you were doing the same with, e.g. your Barclays debit card, the same thing would happen. But because you don’t get instant notifications you wouldn’t notice, as the original “reservation” would never show up in your statement.)

If you have any concerns, though, please go ahead and contact Monzo directly through the app. They can look into it, and cancel the “reservation” before it expires naturally.

(If you are interested: The “reservation” is called “authorisation” and the “collection” “presentment”.


#13

@realnickperry Thanks for this. I understand that i will get the money back but it takes 5 working days and my holiday will be over by then. Monzo might give real time information but that means I have to top up my card with more money. That is far from ideal. Given that oversee charges will be brought in soon I am questioning the point of using monzo especially if it has trouble dealing with transactions as innocuous as a restaurant bill in the states.


(Andrew Schofield) #14

It’s worth clarifying here that overseas charges will only apply to ATMs. Point of Sale transactions will remain free.


(Leonard) #15

Messaging them in-app and asking for asking them to reverse the “hung” transaction speeds it up. I did that whilst I was in the States earlier in the summer. A lot of queries/issues can be resolved if you ask the team directly in the chat in the first instance.


(Colin Robinson) #16

Not if you get in touch with :monzo: through the app :slight_smile:

Please speak to them, they don’t bite!


(Andrew Schofield) #17

Unfortunately I don’t think there is any way for Monzo to know which is the “correct” charge as they probably aren’t linked in any concrete way. It might be possible to link them based on time between authorisations at the same merchant, but there are probably lots of legitimate cases where multiple auths in a short space of time would all results in valid presentments (i.e. real charges).
As @RichardR says its really a flaw in the way the US carries out transactions, which really doesn’t work with real-time transaction information.

Perhaps in the future there will be a way of flagging a transaction as an “auth that needs refunding” which could then automatically be reversed. (If someone flags this erroneously the presentment will still come through anyway and charge your card.)


(Nick Perry) #18

Hey @aligriggs - the problem is you’ll actually be no better off with any pre-paid card as the same thing will happen, you just might not see it!

It’s like if you hire a car, they’ll usually charge you, say £900 deposit and although not actually removed from the balance you see, you have £900 less of your balance on your card available to spend until it’s cleared. If you have enough credit, then you might not notice this, but if not you’ll be equally frustrated at maybe even more so because you won’t be able to see what’s happened.

So whatever card you choose in the future, make sure you have enough credit or have topped-up more than you might spend to cover these annoying pre-auths.


( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #19

Im very disappointed that you accuse Monzo of stealing your money without even knowing how the charging system in the US works - its mentioned several times in numerous posts on this forum that you couldn’t be bothered reading prior to your trip - but you come out all guns blazing about Monzo stealing your money - have a go at the restaurant or the petrol station for presenting their charge twice - not Monzo

  • I think an apology from you is in order :slight_smile:

#20

Thank you @realnickperry for the information.

I’m chatting to monzo and waiting on a response. I understand this will be the same with normal credit cards. It’s just frustrating that one has to top up again if you need to but yes this would technically be the same with credit cards. I’ll let you all know what happens.