I can understand why Monzo don’t say “ Payment Reference Not set”. A message like that would imply that entering a reference is mandatory.
It’s funny you mention Natwest; I don’t bank with them myself, but twice in the past week I’ve helped someone use Natwest Online Banking to transfer money.
I actually found the Natwest way of doing it a little confusing. The first screen for ‘Pay a new person’ asks for ‘Who is being paid’, sort code and account number. My initial assumption was that the reference should be entered in the ‘Who is being paid’ field. Which turned out to be wrong, they wanted the reference entering on the next page with the amount. So the first time around there was a bit of back-and-forth entering and re-entering information to get it right.
Once everything was entered, Natwest did warn to check all details before confirming, at which point I was able to double-check reference, sort code, account number, etc. I wouldn’t have expected Natwest to warn me if the reference was blank (maybe they do, but it wasn’t), rather I expected it was on myself to check I had entered all the right details before confirming.
So, back to Monzo. Is their screen not equivalent to this? Do they ask you to check details before confirming? Can you not see at this point that you’ve failed to enter a reference? If a reference is blank, do they show something akin to “Reference:” or do they leave out reference totally? And, regardless of what they do, if what you see is not 100% what you expect to see, they why are you confirming the payment?
To be clear, I mean none of this as criticism; I check every bank transfer like this multiple times because I’m super parnoid of getting it wrong. There are plenty of occasions I know of where I’ve accidentally transposed digits, I wouldn’t want to do so with a bank transfer. I’m genuinely curious as to where everyone stands on the transfer spectrum, as it were. Would increased checking be useful, or would it be nannying and annoying - or even misleading?
Next time I owe someone money I think I’ll have to pay them back by Monzo bank transfer so I can see the current flow for myself again