Number of contactless transactions limited?


Hope this is the right place for this question. A while back I was really let down by my First Direct debit card. To cut a long story short I was not allowed out at a tube station because I had hit a limit on the number of conscutive contactless transactions. I was very unhappy about being trapped, as you might guess. The chap at First Direct said I should use chip and pin regularly to avoid this trap.

My question basically is there a limit on the number of consecutive contactless transactions with a Monzo card? In other words, if I use my Monzo purely contactlessly am I going to get stuck as I did with my FD card?



I thought that there was a limit applied to the contactless use of all cards, maybe even by Visa and MasterCard rather than the banks themselves. Having said that, however, it was always promised that what happened to you would never happen with TfL use of contactless payment

So my short unqualified answer is yes, probably I’m afraid but, as ever, I’m up for being corrected.

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Obvs it’s completely anecdotal but I’ve never had this sort of problem with my Bank of Scotland cards or my Monzo. And I’m using contactless wherever I can (most places nowadays). That said I used to have this problem often with Android Pay using my BoS cards. Apple Pay seems to be a lot more reliable in this sense.

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Thanks. Interesting. Perhaps I should mention what I am trying to achieve. I would like to move to a “one card” wallet. I would like that one card not to be my main current account debit card so that if I lose it or get frauded etc. I haven’t affected my main account.

For day-to-day spending and ATMs Monzo is great but I wanted to see if I might also get stuck if I predominantly use it for contactless.

For that, take a look at Curve:

If you want a referral code, you can use code: UKNCX (for transparency, both you and I get £5 when you sign up and make a transaction).

I had to enter PIN once after attempting to do Contactless transaction. It’s security measure, as stolen card cannot be abused forever…

I read an article classically themed “contactless fraud soaring high, 47365%* increase year on year”. Barclays employee explained this particular behaviour, and key argument was that details of this countermeasure is a secret, to make things more difficult for thieves. This could suggest that it’s not just about number of transactions, but also other factors (amounts, types of merchants?).

Tapping out with a different backup card is probably a pain to untangle. Only solution I can think if… is Monzo sending user a message saying “do a pin transaction soon” in app. No need to disclose how many contactless transactions are left, just a warning. :slight_smile:

*Not an exact number, but something similarly ridiculous

Sorry to reply a few months later, but I think this is still relevant and hasn’t been addressed elsewhere, and it confuses a lot of people. The limit is for offline authorisation due to risk counters on the card. Contactless is moving to online. Monzo will always push online, Apple Pay/Android Pay are always online, by the end of the year Visa will always be online, American Express will go online instead of force insert if risk counters are exceeded, and so will most Mastercards now.

This was really only relevant back when the idea was ‘contactless should always be authorised offline’ - something that never really made sense. Yes, offline is faster and it was about speed. But online contactless is still faster than forcing a contact chip transaction, even though it’s slower than offline contactless.

Basically, in an offline world, if this risk counter didn’t exist, someone could steal a card and keep using it for contactless until it expired. But these days the risk counters will usually just force it online instead of forcing an insert, thankfully. The bad old days are over!

P.S. this never applied to the tube as it never used offline authorisation.

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