Paying for petrol at pump

(Stephen Fox) #1

I paid for my petrol $48 at the pump with my Monzo card and later found out I got charged $150. This is because (as explained to me by dear Monzo folks) that the oil companies trust no-one to have enough funds to pay their bills. They later just take the amount you expected and put things back to normal. But it is not explained by them and frankly it’s bonkers to treat all their customers as non payers. They are such greedy people. Thank you Monzo for helping me understand how it works but I am paying cash now. Sx

(Allie) #2

This is normal and happens with all cards. Not all stations do it, but it isn’t uncommon. Given you said dollars, I’m guessing it was in the US? Most stations have a sticker on the pump explaining this.

(Stephen Fox) #3

Well I’m in NZ and I’ve travelled across the world and not seen a sign that says we will take $150 even if you only spend $48.

I’m also blind.


[post edited by @alexs to remove phone number from signature]

(Allie) #4

My apologies for guessing country wrong. The US is the most frequently visited $ country by Monzonauts so it was a statistically likely guess :slight_smile:

It’s also worth noting that they do not take any money. This is simply how Monzo shows authorisations. Instead they make an authorisation, which is effectively a request to temporarily hold X amount from your available balance. Monzo doesn’t have two balances so they simply show it as being taken from your actual balance. Don’t worry - it wasn’t!

Monzo does this because people overwhelmingly like it. It’s one of their big selling points, even. I’m no fan for exactly reasons like this, but I love literally almost everything else about Monzo, so I can deal :slight_smile:

Monzo - would it be possible to do something to make this more clear? I get that people want the ‘one balance’ thing and that won’t change. But it seems petrol authorisations could be more clear. Maybe add the words up to? E.g. it would say ‘up to £150’ in the feed until it posts?

(Patrick) #5

In a regular bank your available balance would be reduced by the amount and you still wouldn’t be able to spend that amount.

So even though the money technically isn’t gone. It’s not available. So makes more sense the Monzo way.

Would be brilliant if they could work out which transactions were pay at pump and list them differently as you suggested.

(Hugh Wells) #6

Some petrol pumps (notably Tesco) authorise for £1 then come back and present for the actual amount 2 days down the line. I would argue that is more concerning as £40 disappears from your balance unexpectedly!

(Simon) #7

Also Asda. I’ve gotten into the habit of writing the exact amount into the note but it’s definitely annoying.

(Rob de Canha-Knight) #8

And some (I’ve noticed this at Sainsburys) preauth £99 which seems a bit excessive to me but always nice to find out a few days later I’m £40 better off :slight_smile:


pay at pumps station never take the amount out straight away they always take £1 to authorize the payment then take the full amount 2 or 3 days later


Not always £1…some take £99


ok, well I’m yet to find one that does that and I’ve used Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco pay at pumps and all of them charge £1 initially then the balance comes out a few days later

(Michael) #12

It tends to be at petrol pumps where you pre-select how much (volume) you want. Ie, in Iceland I had a pre-authorisation for £125 which was then reduced down to the amount for the fuel I actually used.

(Tony Hoyle) #13

Wow that’s really excessive. I can imagine someone getting into serious trouble if they just wanted £10 of fuel before payday.

(Michael) #14

Yes & no … It was a rental car and they give you the option of the amount you want to fill, so you could have selected the “£10” equivalent if you wanted … However, I selected full tank as I had to fill the tank, and had no idea how much it would cost to do.

£125 is their default cost for a full tank it seems.


Monzo - would it be possible to do something to make this more clear? I get that people want the ‘one balance’ thing and that won’t change. But it seems petrol authorisations could be more clear. Maybe add the words up to? E.g. it would say ‘up to £150’ in the feed until it posts?

It’s a great suggestion and I know there are things being looked at which might help with this.

The thing is that £150 is accurate, in that that’s the amount of money you can’t spend until the petrol pump kindly reverses this authorisation for you. This would be the same in any bank, too - only it would show in ‘pending transactions’ and usually without and detail.

My opinion is that this is the kind of thing Monzo deals with so much because it’s information that banks have generally kept hidden from everyone. So even though this is way pay at pump has basically always worked, people haven’t known about it. This kind of confusion happens a lot with Monzo users, but I’d like to think that it’s just a good example of how Monzo is giving everyone much better visibility over what’s happening with their balance :grin:

(Allie) #16

Fair. I see both sides. I think one thing for me is that until Monzo I never used my debit card to make purchases. I always used my credit card. One reason is exactly things like this… With a credit card, you have thousands of pounds of credit, far more than you could ever reasonably spend, available. So large petrol, hotel, car hire, etc pre-auths never get noticed.


Well, that depends on the person that has the card. I’ve never had above a £1750 credit limit, and that was maxed out more often than not…

(I have closed all buy my Barclaycard now though, which has a modest £250 limit. I notice when any money is gone…)

The same with my Nationwide account - I always notice when money is missing, because I normally have so little… so I always knew how Pay @ Pump worked.

Do we know which machines authorise a large amount? I wouldn’t mind avoiding them at all costs (mainly because they would decline my cards).


(Rob de Canha-Knight) #18

Try it with an American Express card and you’ll see it pre authorises £99 yet with a monzo it’ll do £1

I don’t know why there’s a difference at the same station with different card types but it definitely does happen. Sainsburys does a £99 preauth every time I use the pump with an Amex


maybe it’s a credit card thing as my current credit card bank doesn’t allow cards to be used at pay at pumps as they say it’s not secure so I’ve only ever use debit cards at pay at pumps


All merchants should since the end of last year preauthorise the maximum fill cost at pay at pumps, e.g. £99-£100, and not £1. This is a Mastercard ruling, but many UK petrol stations have failed to implement it yet.