🇫🇷 Monzo in France [Wiki]

@SebH My NatWest card is a MasterCard.

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Even stranger!

It could perhaps have been a BIN acceptance issue, but that seems a bit unlikely. Otherwise it must have been some kind of processing glitch or there was something in the Monzo card’s configuration it didn’t like.

I’m off to France soon, what’s the best way for me to spend over there, just use Monzo (or Chase for cashback) as normal? Or load up Revolut with Euros (is that a thing? I see I can add a Euro account to my Rev).

Obviously always choosing to spend in local currency rather than GBP.

I went to France last year and used my Chase card in the main, once I had switched off the bar on international payments :man_facepalming: :rofl:

Used Barclaycard for hotel reservation though as did not want a load of my balance in my current account frozen.

Monzo was my back up, and a test purchase in one of the Paris supermarkets worked as expected.

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Use any of the 3, Monzo worked everywhere I tried it, Revolut and Auchan both worked, didn’t pay for petrol with either. Yes for Revolut you can load it up with Euros, that’s what I did when I went and tried it.

If it were me I’d d use Chase for cashback and have Monzo as a backup and if you must use Revolut then it’s loaded with some Euros but I’m pretty confident you shouldn’t have a need to use Monzo as Chase will work.


France is one of those delightful countries where even the smallest baker or mini-supermarket usually takes cards and I have not had a Monzo card refused yet. Germany, on the other hand…

Similarly, I haven’t encountered outrageous withdrawal fees like in Spain.

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Generally agree. Monzo works great in France. But, unattended fuel pumps: I know this is a recurring theme, have been bitten by this before and thought was alive to the issues. However, wanted to share a particularly egregious example as a cautionary tale.

On Saturday 5th Aug, we needed to re-fuel and spotted a great price at an E Leclerc petrol station. Could see it sure was popular with the locals so decided to queue and fill up. First problem: pump tried to authorise €799! As we didn’t have that in account, this was refused. So decided to bail out and didn’t take any fuel. As we were leaving, the entire balance, Euro equivalent of roughly £300, was added as a transaction (though payment hadn’t finalised yet), This effectively cleared our account without having made a purchase. Thankfully, we were able to cover the expenses for the rest of our trip but could have done without this.

We are still waiting on these funds to be released, now 14th. From other links, such as https://www.angloinfo.com/poitou-charentes/discussions/financial-legal/leclerc-pay-at-the-pump-24-24, there is a suggestion that this could take 7 working days. Hopefully that is the case - does anyone know?

A point for Monzo that bothers me about this: somehow the vendor was able to authorise a payment that matched the account balance. This implies to me that the account balance was shared without permission? If not, would love to know the mechanism behind this.

If you are spending an extended period in France or what to avoid the queues and hassle on the toll roads, you can pay a monthly subscription for a ‘Bip&Go’ tag. It is a device which you stick to the inside of your windscreen and you can then use the 30mph lanes at the tolls labelled with the orange ‘T’ logo. A sensor picks up your tag, it beeps and the barrier opens, all whilst you are still in the move. Your tolls will be charged on a monthly direct debit to your Monzo card, or any other card you choose. We have just driven from Calais to Marseille and it worked really well for us. There is a subscription charge for the tag but the tolls are the same price as you pay at a booth. It works out slightly more expensive but we thought it was worth it for the convenience and being able to avoid the queues.

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This happens in the UK too, albeit the amount is usually more like £100. If you don’t have £100 the authorisation is for your account balance. In the UK, it’s usually returned the next day but it would likely take longer for an overseas transaction.

For this reason it’s best to use a credit card in automated payment machines.