Pre-authorising £100 when filling up

Yes, it was via the app, paid using Apple Pay

Yes, it would happen with all banks :grinning: The reason you wouldn’t notice is because most banks have a confusing concept of having both a “Balance” and an “Available Balance” both viewable to the customer - you might have seen this on ATMs in the past when going to check a balance and seeing two different numbers. And I believe it wouldn’t show at all on your statement until a few days later when it presented for the actual amount, so there’d be nothing visible to you, but you still wouldn’t be able to spend the amount in the meantime.


Understood! Thanks for clarifying that @simonb :star_struck:

At least BP’s app does this right.

You choose how much to pre-auth when unlocking the pump, and then the pump doesn’t let you dispense any more than that amount. I usually only end up pre-authing a couple of quid more than the settled transaction.


On the Esso app you can set the maximum fuel amount so can set it to nearer what you expect to fill up


Oh really? I don’t think I saw that option :confused: i’ll pay more attention next time, haha

Definitely in the account section can’t remember if it asks in the fuel screen as well


1 Like

It would be easier to just have you pay for a set amount and then the pump only dispenses that amount.

Seems crazy to have it the opposite way around.


It would be even easier if they adjusted the auth to the correct amount after you finished filling up. The technology to do this exists afaik, so I don’t understand why patrol stations are allowed to inconvenience people like this.


I see UK petrol stations are starting to roll this out - it has been in the pipeline for a while since fraud liability shifted to the merchants for doing things the old way.

As the person who implemented the logic which properly allows these pre-authorizations (or, specifically handles the bit where the pump can say “I’d like to authorize for up to £100” and, if your available balance including ovedraft is less than £100, we return a smaller authorized amount), they are very emphatically supposed to release any such holds within 20 minutes (See page 124 in the Mastercard Transaction Processing Rules)

I’m going to talk with ops tomorrow about collating lists of merchants with this issue can raise complaints, because this is a really annoying failure on their behalf - consider someone with £100 in their balance who pumps £20 of fuel, and now can’t access the remaining £80 until the transaction clears (normally a day later)


Is there a way we can set a global pre authorization amount for pay at pump? Even though I might have more than £100 in my account I never top up more than £55 so ideally I’d like to tell Monzo to only every authorise a maximum of £55?


It’s a shame that you require an app for this. It would be safer and easier for everyone if there was an option to set the amount on the pump terminal before filling

1 Like

Feel that would be very hard to implement for Monzo but you should have to put in the amount you want to fill up to in the machine

There is in other countries. I’ve been to unattended stations where there was a button for €10 €20 etc and it would dispense only up to that amount.

1 Like

Good post here explaining how it works:


Equally, been to many a station across France/Belgium/Holland/Germany where the practise is to head inside, pay for your fuel, then you head back out and they authorise the pump to dispense. Under spend and you have to go back in to get your change. Terribly inconvenient.

If as others suggest you could do your auth amount at the pump, then most of us would know whether our max top up is going to be roughly £30, £50, £70 etc and could pre-auth in that manner. That would be such a good solution.

OK, just read @Jackcrwhitney link in full and if the hold is released within 20 mins, great - provided it does work as intended!

1 Like

I don’t drive a car, so only following this thread because approvals are interesting in a geeky way. This blog references partial approvals, which are fed back to the merchant. Does Monzo do this? I assume so given the blog is written by a Monzo staffer? And do any/all petrol stations in the UK work this way at the moment, or is it just a future plan? Makes much more sense to find out what your bank says you can afford and then let you ‘buy’ up to that amount.

Over 10 years ago I hired a van to help me move house, I returned it, then tried to pay for something expensive a few days later, but still had the money on hold by my bank and there was nothing they could do. So frustrating. Glad things are getting easier.

Pre-approvals on Monzo are a continuing frustration of mine, not because I can’t use the funds, but because you don’t know what is pending and what isn’t without digging into each transaction. Now that petrol stations are pre-authorising the full amount rather than a quid, I am fairly sure they won’t finalise the correct amount until days later, making my Monzo account look overdrawn when it isn’t, regardless as to what Mastercard and Visa say (good luck with that 20 minute turnaround :rofl: not gonna happen)

For more thoughts on this topic, take a look at Pre-ordering authorising the full amount months in advance which is about pre-ordering with CDJapan (who place a hold on funds for 30 days at a time, but don’t actually finalise until the item ships) which is different to pay at pump, but the way Monzo surfaces things like this are the same thing.

I do wish pending transactions, especially those that are likely to change like fuel pre-auths and foreign currency, were highlighted better. Maybe by greying them like they currently do with future transactions (next day direct debits etc). A confused user would probably tap on one of these transactions and on the transaction detail page it could be clearly explained why that transaction is greyed.


Foreign currency transactions are already greyed out until they have settled on iOS.