🇺🇸 Monzo in the USA [Discussion]

Share your tips for using Monzo in the USA with other users here :statue_of_liberty: :bridge_at_night: :us:

Please check & update the Wiki too -

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I’ve just returned from a few days in New York. Used my Monzo card everywhere and didn’t get one knock back! So pleased that it worked as well as it did. Got $3 added for a cash withdrawal but that’s all. I booked shows at tkts in times square, bought merchandise at theatres, paid for food, went shopping at the Jersey Gardens outlet all with no problems at all. Cheers! Will definitely be using my Monzo card again! :grin:


I am in San Francisco at the moment and can report it is working everywhere I’ve tried so far. Used a few chain stores and a few sole traders.

Only thing I’ve noticed is missing merchant data which I’ve filled out for every transaction I realistically can get info for.

Hopefully they get updated, I’ve a few from New York in December that never did :pensive:


Used 2 x Monzo cards during a fortnight in Florida last month, absolute breeze across the shops, theme parks & restaurants on/off resort and we avoided “double-dipping” on restaurant bills thanks to the advice here (opted to pay tips in cash)

Two “issues” to note:

  • We used LYFT rather than Uber to avail of new-user discount codes. Linking the Monzo card was fine, however each trip would automatically pre-authorise $15 before your driver had turned up, and only after you settled the ride (added an optional tip & required driver rating), would the difference be returned (if any). You don’t lose any money, but be prepared for 2-3 notifications per LYFT trip with an occasional “active card” check and the amounts going out & back in (or a further debit if the trip cost more than $15).

  • Staying on resort in Universal for the second week, guests could set up the room key to use as a charge card across the Universal parks & shops/restaurants @ Citywalk. I had wanted to link it to my Monzo but the front desk said that pre-paid cards can be problematic. I didn’t press the issue and used my back-up credit card, but definitely a reason to have another card for contingency (it was very convenient in the end to use the room key and meant we were carrying less $$$$ on those days so I’d recommend…as long as anyone with a room key can keep track of theirs!)


One thing to note about using Monzo cards in the US is the crazy way that the US uses authorisations and presentments - More about authorisations and presentments can be read about this in the blog post.

Basically, when you pay for something the merchant requests an authorisation from Monzo for the bill, but then present you with the receipt (e.g. for you to add a tip). About two to three days later the merchant presents the authorised amount+tip to Monzo for collection. Normally that is matched up with the original authorisation, but sometimes it isn’t and you can end up with the authorisation and the presented amount being deducted from your available balance. In my experience these all sorted themselves out a few days later when the authorisations expire, but it is messy.

I would advise having a healthy buffer of cash on your card to deal with this as your available balance may temporarily drop unexpectedly below what you expect due to these unmatched authorisations and presentments.


Used my Monzo card to pay for a McDonalds in New York. The cashier didn’t believe I could just tap my card on the terminal. I think they’re used to Apple/Android pay, but they’re not used to physical contactless cards. Their terminals don’t have the friendly four green progress lights you get in the UK, so it wasn’t immediately obvious anything was happening. The cashier told me I needed to insert my card, but I dithered and a couple of seconds latter, to the astonishment of the cashier, the screen showed “:white_check_mark: Authorised”. :grin:


Hello all,

I’ve been in California for 2,5 weeks and used pretty much everywhere Monzo card. I also used Barclaycard in few times just to check currency rates they offer. And I think I was getting around extra 2-3 (even 4) cents from every pound I spend. Bottom line I saved extra $200 (which included new MacbookPro purchase) by using only Monzo card for my holidays.
Other interesting thing is when I needed cash I tried both again Monzo and Barclays. When I used Monzo it said straight away that it will charge $2 and the Barclays didn’t mentioned that so I thought ok I use Barclays. However when I looked in operation details in the app Barclays it has taken I think $3 and of course worse rate. It was a small amount just to check, but again big banks have continues approach on transparency.

Anyway, happy using Monzo!


Thank you - I’ll be in SF next well so will report if I experience the same thing!

I was in New York a couple of months a go and my experience was largely the same as yours with Monzo. The only problems I had were in the subway and the ticket machines just not playing ball at all, although the other bank card I had was hit and miss (but did work eventually) too so could be down to the whole system in NY being powered by bubblegum.


I used Monzo on a recent trip to Canada and USA. No problem at all in Canada but had a transaction declined in Rhode Island as the card terminal was magstripe only (I didn’t activate it as I wasn’t planning on withdrawing cash). The States are so far behind with card payment technology.

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Just back from the states,New York no problems at all even in DC. REFUNDS over there were no a problem either however the card not having my name on was a problem for some retailers and my passport and not id card was always taken as proof of who I was. A bit of a pain carrying it with me but not an issue. Good card gets my thumbs up.

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Also just back from the states (New Orleans and Florida). We couldn’t believe how backward the yanks are with their card payment as per post above! Below is a list of items that caught us out.

  1. Lack of the name on the card raises eyebrows at some locations
  2. You are not able to pay at pump for fuel, instead have to guess your fuelling amount then request refund inside the store takes pretty much bang on a week to receive cleared refund.
  3. PLEASE NOTE: This one properly wiped mine and my wife’s funds out on our Monzo cards in the first week. The yanks process the tips backwards. So you first pay for your service, then they bring you the receipt you put the tip on, they then process the whole total again, meaning say $20 meal with a $2 dollar tip, they process it in two transactions. First being $20 then they process another for $22 meaning you just paid more than double for your meal. It all gets automatically refunded, for us this took aprox 5-7 days to clear back onto our cards, which stretched our travel budget significantly for the first week until we realised we paid double for everything. Once we realised we stopped tipping on cards.

I would highly recommend that you pay cash for any tips to avoid double paying for everything!

Hope this helps someone avoid potential money issues whilst visiting the USA.


I’m in NYC currently.

I want to change my PIN, but the three banks I’ve visited (TD, Chase, Bank of America) none of the ATMs offered a PIN change as an option.

Anyone else had any experience of changing the PIN in the USA? Which bank?

Somewhat interestingly, the Bank of America ATM had a contactless option, but after I waved my card in the vicinity of the reader it asked me to insert my card anyway.


Just got back from San Jose and Monzo worked everywhere except…

Contactless on Vending Machines and a number of stores. Wallgreens worked fine but others resulted in a decline from Monzo.

On inserting or swiping the card this was authorised.

On another note some of my auths and settlements were not matched and one of my big purchases of $90+ resulted in a refund…I suspect that this will be corrected later or if not thanks…

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I’ve just got from travelling in California using Monzo. It was mostly fine but I’ve had an issue buying petrol. As it’s a prepaid card I had to authorise the amount before filling up. I guessed 30 dollars but found I only needed 15 dollars to fill up the tank. The staff at the petrol station assured me the difference would be refunded to my card. However it’s been several days now and both the 30 dollars and the 15 dollars have been taken from my card. Any ideas about this? Do I just need to be patient and wait for a refund for the 30 dollars?

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Most likely patience will solve it, but Support probably can poke it to solve it faster. :slight_smile: Ooor you can wait a bit longer and when you lose all hope, poke Support to poke refund then? :smiley:

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It was a breeze mostly through San Francisco, barring airports where the magstripe machines constantly rejected my Monzo card. Other than that, most places accepted my card, and some folks didn’t quite expect a card could work just be tapping - much like others’ experience on this page, most people at shops seem to expect only Apply Pay and such services in this direction.

Definitely sticking to Monzo after two comfortable trips in Stockholm and California over the last few months!

Everything’s going well with my card in the middle of nowhere, Alaska thus far; I’ll be crossing the border into the Yukon Territories later today, so we’ll see how Canada handles it too! The tech is actually surprisingly modern up here; every card reader I’ve seen in shops has been a chip and pin (the salespeople always point this out like it’s something unexpected and important to mention, sometimes with added instructions on how to use it), with even one contactless-enabled machine. And yes, it is an absolute blast to see people’s reactions here to a contactless card being used - my local friend wanted me to do it again to show her it really worked, but I felt that buying 1 kilo of cherries was quite enough for one day.

In light of other people’s posts on gas stations and restaurants, I’ve stuck to cash for tips and fuel over here, but I might try paying for a tank of gas with the card in Canada to see if it’s any different.

The one thing I’m not so thrilled about is that even though I’ve enabled data roaming on my phone plan, data in particular seems very very unreliable up here, even when I have a perfectly good signal; the only time I can get the app notifications from Monzo is at the end of the day when I’m somewhere with wifi. It’s not a huge concern - certainly still more than I’d have had available five years ago - but I’m about to set off on a roadtrip for a week and I’m going to miss being able to keep a proper eye on my balance. It’d be nice if there was some way to… I don’t know, temporarily redirect alerts to a friend’s phone? Have a way to log into a very limited functionality version of the app on their phone? I’m just throwing ideas out off the top of my head, and I’d honestly be a bit surprised if this is a situation enough people find themselves in to make it worth spending any time or resources on finding a solution to the issue, but it’s annoying enough to me that I thought I may as well mention it.

Oh, sidenote: I’m so glad I got this card for my trip. I’d initially planned on just getting out cash before coming over for much of what I’d need to buy, and as chance would have it, the pound to dollar exchange rate improved significantly (+$0.06/£1) the very same day I arrived. It’s not a huge deal with the amounts I’m spending, sure, but I’d have been very annoyed to have lost out on the better rate, nonetheless.


Just tried to use Monzo to buy some baseball tickets (from the UK using US website) from TickPick. Declined the transaction though its currently pending on the app and says will take a few days to settle. Nevermind.

Used my clarity card instead. Shame though.

Tried to buy something in NYC from a store (The Container Store) that declined both my Monzo card and my debit card; turns out the problem was the card reader being a “contactless magstripe” which I guess UK cards don’t get along with. Had another place here (Trader Joe’s) not work when I tried to pay contactless, but do fine with chip and pin.