Mysterious refund

So I had a refund but didn’t return anything, has this happened to anyone else?
Is it an actually refund it’s has a + and my total funds has changed. The transaction was from 5 days ago which is even stranger.
I definitely paid and the transction went through fine at the till got my receipt could see it on my monzo too.


:face_with_raised_eyebrow: :thinking:
Amazon sometimes does weird tricks, taking money, giving back some of it back, then taking it again, but it doesn’t look like this scenario if this was POS transaction. Might be worth dropping a line to Support, using in-app chat.

This usually happens when the merchant has taken an offline transaction and has taken too long to complete it. In this case Monzo ‘refund’ the money to your account.

However, and there’s a reason for the inverted commas, you haven’t actually had the money refunded as it will leave your account again when the merchant finally completes the transaction properly. I’ve had this happen a LOT with South West Trains (and I no longer use my Monzo to pay them for that reason).

If you spend all your balance and don’t top it up again, that won’t prevent the transaction from appearing again when it is completed, your balance will go negative and you’ll need to top up as usual

tl;dr probably not actually a refund, you’ll have actually spent the money and it will go out again soon enough

Amazon and iTunes regularly does this. I made an in-app purchase of £9.99, iTunes charged me £1.58 immediately but not the £9.99. Thought I got myself a good deal but over a week later it got refunded and the actual amount charged. No idea why it does this since I’ve already done the initial card check before. Amazon also does this for Amazon tickets :confused:

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I just want to pick on this, as the situation that you’ve mentioned is different to the one that Andrea & Marta have described.

You’re right that the £1.58 charge from Apple was an ‘active card check’. They do make those checks more than once & seemingly randomly for some accounts.

It sounds like what’s happened to Andrea is the authorisation for her transaction’s been reversed. This can happen regardless of whether the merchant’s terminal was online or offline, when the transaction was made. I asked Daniel about this situation a while ago & these are the scenarios that he mentioned when this can happen -


he also told me that if the merchant’s (retailer) reversed the authorisation & then charges the user at a later date, then the user can complain to the merchant & they might refund them. So if this has caused an issue for the user, I’d recommend checking with Monzo’s support team, to ask their advice on what to do.

Monzo can’t charge these transactions back for you though.

It’s also worth mentioning that sometimes this happens because of Monzo’s processor. So this sort of thing shouldn’t happen with the current accounts which use Monzo’s in-house processor.

I hope that makes sense! Obviously this is not the most simple process to understand so it might be a good topic for Monzo University to explain :eyes:

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I’m still slightly puzzled I made my purchase in Aldi so was in-store purchse and got a receipt which I ah e since lost but all was well at the till.
I eill keep an eye to seeif my card is charged again it was credited on tje dau then refunded 5 days later

To clarify, your Monzo balance is updated when your transactions are ‘authorised’ & then the money comes out of your account when it ‘settles’, usually a couple of days later.

If I’m right, your payment never settled because Lidl didn’t ‘present’ the payment that they were owed. So the authorisation was then reversed - which appears as a refund in your Monzo account.

But as you say, you should keep an eye on your account to see whether Lidl does still take the payment eventually.

If you want to know whether that’s what happened for sure, you can contact the support team via the in-app chat & they’ll be able to check on that for you.

There’s more detail about how card payments work here -

Something similar happened to me last year but that was through Santander so I didn’t really have any idea what happens behind the whole process. I made an in-app purchase, uninstalled the app a week later during a backup and it disappeared. I reported it to Apple and the game itself, and ended up with two refunds, got charged again, and then refunded again. It ultimately worked out after a couple of weeks but my bank transactions were a mess for a bit. I didn’t get charged £1.58 at any point though.

Looks like the merchant authorised the transaction but never settled it, and the authorisation expired after 5 business days so it reflected on your balance. Technically they can still take the money at any time later.

I’d be curious to know what would happen if this was a large transaction (1000£) and by the time the merchant settled it there was no longer any money in the account - would Monzo take the loss or is there a way to decline such transactions?

@evangelskies I get the 1.58£ charges too - it seems that every time Apple wants to check your card (if you sign in on a new device and get the “Verification required” prompt) they charge that and then release it some time later (or maybe they just never settle it and let the authorisation expire after 5 days). Don’t ask me why they don’t just use the standard “Active card check” everyone else uses.

So what I said :wink:

Monzo won’t take a loss in that scenario they can charge that payment back.


Please bear in mind that I am taking Daniel’s comments out of context here so they may not apply. Again, it’s best to check with the support team if you have any questions about this type of situation.

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So what I said :wink:

If we’re going to play the “I said that first” game, can I point out that I said it before you? :grin:

Well that might be what you meant but it’s not what you said :slight_smile:

So what I said :wink:

Sorry - I just had the reply drafted in my mind for some time so I figured I might as well post it. :blush:

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I’d be curious to know what would happen if this was a large transaction (1000£) and by the time the merchant settled it there was no longer any money in the account - would Monzo take the loss or is there a way to decline such transactions?

I’d hope if it ever did happen with a transaction that large, speaking to the in-app support team would be the first thing anyone would do! When it happened to me with South West Trains, one of the questions I asked support is whether I’d have to make sure to keep the right amount of ‘credit’ in the account or if I should use it as normal (including running down to more or less zero) and then topping up to cover it if the account went negative.

Well that might be what you meant but it’s not what you said :slight_smile:

I may have lacked the precise terminology but I thought the general description of the situation was still close enough to be clear! :open_mouth:


Just an update - authorisations expire after 7 days, not 5. It used to be 5 but we changed it, as we found that it caused an issue on bank holidays, and the 4 day weekend in August.


I remember this issue (during Easter I think) - had a bunch of pending transactions reversed at once - I thought “nice, free money!” :sweat_smile:

I’m surprised this isn’t a standard delay mandated by the card networks and that Monzo could decide on its own to change it.

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@simonb Is this documented officially anywhere?

I’ve just had a preorder cancelled because the money has been taken and then returned but the supplier thinks they have one month, not 7 days.


My fault for not having enough money on the card at the time. Fixed by reordering using my :monzo: beta card which still has some money on it.

the supplier thinks they have one month, not 7 days

They might have been thrown by the fact it’s a currently pre-paid card and thought it was a credit card, as I think authorisations can last that long on credit cards.

There’s a little bit of a mismatch between our auth expiry and what the merchant has to do because of various liability shifts.

Based on my rough understanding of network rules, the merchant can present the amount authorised within about 30 days and we would have to fight to contest it because we authorised the payment and then returned the money back to your available balance early.

We set it at 7 days for a balance of being nice to users against the risk of the merchant presenting after the authorisation expired but the user then not having enough available money.

For example, we can return those merchant-side declines where we approve a transaction but it fails on their side within a week, rather than a month.

Anything later than a month and Mastercard would find the merchant liable if contested because they didn’t present within their agreed time. That’s why they must present within 30 days or it becomes their risk. This may differ by merchant industry. :+1: