No Bar Tab On Monzo

Just had an interesting experience at a bar in King’s Cross, who said they don’t take Monzo cards for bar tabs. Any other card, just not Monzo.

How does this fit into acceptance rules? I assume not much to be done as I suppose a tab is the bar trusting you more than a rule but I did try to explain to the waiter that there was no real reason why she couldn’t accept it.


Very unusual. Mine has been accepted for a tab at several locations.

If it’s an issue of not accepting Monzo full stop, even for ‘pay as you drink’ :man_shrugging: then you could try mailing the details to

This was a bit of a thing when Monzo cards were prepaid. I think if you get in touch with helpline they get in touch with the merchant or work some other form of persuasion.


Yeah on a pay as you go basis it is fine. No issue. Just if it’s a tab.

So I realise it’s not an acceptance issue, more a difference of how they treat Monzo cards I guess.

I think this comes from prepaid era where people would rack up a round, freeze the card and leave without paying.

Perhaps this bar hasn’t worked out a) it’s not prepaid and b) other banks can do this now

By the by, UK Card Association rules say merchants should never take your card off your person. This was in some part due to the release of contactless technology.


Interesting point. Some tabs I have left my card behind, although you make a valid point re: contactless. Some places I’ve tabbed they simply process a ‘placeholder’ transaction (probably the wrong terminology) and pre-auth the card for say £50/£100, then when you settle up they reverse that and bill the correct amount.

@coffeemadman was it a major chain or an independent?

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As well as holding the card for bar tabs, a few of the smaller shops around here take the card off you to do contactless. I don’t think stores care much about the rules :stuck_out_tongue:

I think it was an independent? It’s the Lighterman in Granary Square.

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According to their website

The Lighterman is no longer accepting cash as a method of payment. We accept all major credit/debit cards.

Looks like you just can’t win :see_no_evil:


I’d guess its the ability to ‘freeze’ the card and then get away with just leaving the card at the bar - although this is now widely available and only slightly easier than ringing your banks CS and asking for it to be blocked.

Bit of a weird one.

Did you ask why.

Maybe someone had dined and dashed using that card

The person froze the card so it wasn’t accepted something like that

I didn’t, mostly because it was already a slightly embarrassing moment in front of friends to kick up more of a fuss.

I wonder if this is because the bar has cottoned onto the fact that you can very easily freeze and unfreeze a Monzo card, essentially making the whole process of keeping a card behind the bar redundant.

Don’t get me wrong, you could cancel your card with any bank. Also, the bar could refuse to hand your card back until you pay up perhaps? Either way, it sounds like they’ve not really thought it through.

Would be interesting to see if they’d accept a dark blue Monzo Plus card. Perhaps they just don’t like Hot Coral :wink:


Now that it’s a full current account you’re not only leaving a card with your name on it which can be traced back to your address and land you a fraud charge if they get the police involved, but you are also risking losing your Monzo account forever if they report to Monzo that this person has used their account to commit fraud.

Is it worth it (what, £50?) to get permanently banned from Monzo? Definitely not!

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I suspect, like easyJet, this is a legacy rule from pre-paid days :man_shrugging:t2:

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Why? The bar can’t just take money from your account for drinks you’re not having (legally that is) so you’d be covered.

I only ask because I would suggest this kind of thing (which I appreciate you were drunk and forgot) is replicated by many and causes issues like this bar-tab one!

I understand a little why you might. Especially if you are in a bar you haven’t been in before and they might tap your card using contactless and then claim you did buy the drinks - would be hard for you to defend

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I think I’d freeze the card on any occasion it wasn’t in my possession just to avoid any potential hassle.

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I guess it’s possible, I just don’t know why that would happen. Also CCTV would pretty quickly clear that up.

In all my years doing bar tabs, I’ve never once had the issue.

I understand what the idea behind it is, but what we are effectively doing is stopping bars even considering Monzo for tabs.

If you freeze your card, you may as well not given them a card at all. It’s literally the same thing. The point of a tab is that the bar is secure in knowing at the very least they can try to charge you for your drinks. Freezing just becomes you saying “Oh yeah I’ll pay, promise”.

Personally I wouldn’t leave my card out of my possession anywhere. I wouldn’t mind them running a placeholding amount as suggested above (£50?) and then reconciling to the correct amount later.

Or I would just do contactless each time I order.

Edit: I realise that wasn’t the point of this thread, it’s just since contactless I’m aware my attitude to bar tabs has completely changed.