Pre Authorization Transactions

This is kind of help but it is more a question about something in particular. I guess I am just being exposed to this now I am on Monzo so wondering how it works and why it happens like this here and not elsewhere.

The Situation

Last night I placed an order on Amazon, shortly after the order was placed the app jingled* and said I had spent £1.00 (I always knew that Amazon charged a £1 holding transaction to the card as I don’t think they charge the card fully until the item has been dispatched).

About 20 minutes after that initial £1 jingle my phone jingled again and the amount for the product I had purchased showed up, £29.99 it was. So I now have £29.99 and £1.00 in my Monzo summary.

The Question

When I use my HSBC debit card I would never see the £1.00 in online banking, why is it that on Monzo the £1.00 appears in my summary?

I am more curious as to what is going on behind the scenes than raising this as an issue.

Also the £1.00 is still showing as pending while the £29.99 is not (the item has been dispatched)

*Jingled being the noise of coins when you place an order.

It’s just monzo works, they show all transactions including holds and card checks at all times. The £1 will drop off or you can go in to the transaction and request it back. If it fails the in-app chat will reverse the £1


In your HSBC account you’d be able to see the £1 missing from your ‘available balance’ but it will never make it to your transaction history because Amazon don’t actually collect the money.

The £1 is just an active card check, I’m sure someone will be along here soon to properly explain how it all works.

You can just leave the £1 and it will be refunded to you automatically or you can raise it with support within the app if you really want it back sooner.

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Thank you @glasgow @RichardL - it can wait until the machines put it back I was just generally interested in how and why it appears in Monzo that is all. :slight_smile:

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Many banks are moving more towards this model however it can and does cause confusion and lead to an increase in contact volumes so there’s a big educational piece underway to educate the public on what these transactions are and why they will start appearing etc

They will refund… later :slight_smile:

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Hi @BonzaOwl :wave:

What’s happening here is Amazon is performing an Active Card Check (ACC) on your card.

An Active Card Check (ACC) is basically a test payment where a merchant checks to see whether a card is active, or has money on it. This normally happens when making an online payment or registering your card online (especially on sites like Amazon & iTunes). This can also happen at Pay at the Pump and when using TfL. These are normally around £1 but can be £0. :credit_card:

Monzo’s transaction feed will generally show any activity between your card and other services, such as online merchants, offline merchants, peer-to-peer payment etc… where as other banks may show it in the ‘Available Balance’ section, but not a feed. Each bank has their own way of doing things, but as Monzo likes to be transparent, we like to show these things to you to make sure you know what’s happening with your card :slightly_smiling_face:

For an official link on ACC, check it out here.

I hope that helps clear things up a little! :smile:
Also, it’s my third day at Monzo today so there may be some clarification to come!


Hello @cwtch

Thank you for getting back to me, and welcome to Monzo - not that I have been here for a lifetime but welcome :slight_smile:

This makes total sense it was just interesting to see it show up when I have never seen the £1 from Amazon before.

I have seen other merchants can ACC £50 or more, so let’s say my balance is £80 right now the ACC will obviously return true as there is enough money on the card and it is active but I only spend £20 because according to my budget in Monzo if I spent £50 other things would suffer - the £50 ACC hangs around for 8 days but it seems this would be in addition to the £20 I actually spent so really I now only have £70 of that fictional balance left? Thus anything in that £60 bracket I had planned to leave would now decline?

If that is true, it is something I need to watch out for especially with merchants where the ACC is greater than £1!!

It certainly can get a little confusing with the balance side of things. It’s the same with other banks too, they just take it off the ‘Available Balance’ rather than show it in a feed :receipt:

A handy little feature within Monzo though, is you can actually recover this ACC charge instantly (rather than waiting for up to 7-8 days or sometimes longer :scream:). To do this, tap on the transaction, tap ‘Something Wrong? Tell us!’, When asked if you made the transaction tap ‘Yes, but something is wrong’ then scroll to where it says ‘Question this payment’ and tap the button. You’ll receive the ACC charge straight away!:partying_face:

BUT only do this if you’re sure you would have been refunded the money anyway. If it transpires that this was a non-refundable payment, then Monzo might recover this back from your account.


The one thing that worries me the most with this and it is more to do with the pay at pumps, especially the new type that seem to ACC £99 is that £99 would be taken off my available balance in Monzo even if i don’t spend £99 and I would then have to wait 8 days for that to re-appear.

In my above example the £1 from Amazon was assigned to a budget category automatically. That budget category had say £60 left in it I bought the product I wanted which was £29.99 which takes me to £30.01 left in that budget category plus the ACC which leaves me with £29.01. I am not saying this is a problem for £1 ACC transactions but larger ones could certainly cause confusion.

Pay at Pumps should actually start to follow this procedure soon:

  • The machine attempts to authorise the maximum amount that it wishes to allow the customer to pump (typically £99 or £100).
  • If the customer doesn’t have enough money the bank issues a partial approval for what they do have.
  • The machine lets the customer pump whatever was authorised
  • Within 20 minutes the machine sends an auth advice to the bank telling them how much was pumped which allows them to release any excess hold on the card.


And, active card checks should really be for £0 but Amazon gonna Amazon. Annoyingly I don’t think it’s possible for Monzo to detect an Active Card Check if it’s more than £0 :weary:.


…And just like that after the 8 days had elapsed the ACC is now back in my account. A full 5 days after the item I purchased arrived through my letterbox.