Questions about Offline Payments

Let’s assume we are on an aircraft (with no wifi) and want to make offline payments, duty free tat or whatever.

  • What is the offline transaction limit?
  • How does it tie-in with the £100 contactless limit, does it count towards it as even though a PIN may have been entered, it was still offline (and sometimes it takes hours/days for the transactions to post)?
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Not 100% clear about the limits, but I’ve used contactless, chip & pin and magstripe (activated prior to boarding, just-in-case) on planes without issue - probably a maximum single transaction of £45 in my case.

My understanding is there’s a £30 offline limit for SCA

Edit: more info here

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I thought I had seen that too, but it seems very low. That is only a few drinks on a flight.

I’ve definitely spent more than £30 in one transaction on a flight, but that was probably pre-SCA

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As the card is basically saying debit this account for this amount it’s like writing a cheque.

The card hasn’t got that £30 limit manufactured into it to know when to stop.

Edit: as it is based on Liams reply below.

Has this changed recently? They said it was last time you asked

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Yeah I spoke to chat at the time and they said the only the £30 limit is the contactless limit by tapping that’s baked in which didnt sound right either. It does tally up but not to £30 from memory.

I spoke to Starlings chat too and they said something like a rolling 24hrs and it resets.

I’ll ask on chat and let you know in a couple of weeks when I get a reply. :wink:

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Long screenshot, max 10 transactions and I would say that’s confirmation that’s it’s decision to have had £30 from the beginning.

This would lean into why they thought they would reduce £135 down to £100 as it was a way to ensure it could never exceed 150 euro equivalent.

I don’t know of any other bank that have purposely baked in such a small offline amount.

Nice quick reply as well

Makes sense otherwise people would be able to run up large unauthorised overdrafts offline

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Yeah I’m impressed, I was expecting mid January after having it ignored for a week then being raised to Advocacy team by Monzo, then ignored for another week in answering. :joy:

Anyway Monzo to my knowledge is the only bank to have restricted their offline to just £30 in the chip which is why they are the only ones to do the £100/£30 because they can whilst other banks have no way of controlling offline and doesn’t help if the built in ticker is £10000 or such.

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£30, same as online contactless

The £100 is £30 lower that what we’re allowed to auth without SCA.

So if you consumed the entire £100 limit plus the extra £30 offline limit you would just be touching the max amount that can be authed via contactless without SCA.

Most airlines just ignore what the card says, and send us presentments later (i.e. they just take the money later, when we can’t prevent it).

In these cases Mastercard rules require us to make a best effort attempt to recover the money, but ultimately we can claim back any money we loose via a chargeback.

The airlines have decided to take on the risk of getting a chargeback, presumably because it allows them to sell more stuff. Also older banks don’t seem to bother with chargeback, we do, and this has caused some strife with airlines like EasyJet.

If you were to contest such a payment because SCA wasn’t applied, I’m not 100% sure what would happen. PSD2 gives us the legal right to reclaim the money from the airline, because they didn’t allow us to apply SCA properly (you might enter your PIN, but the card would refuse to authorise which would mean that technically SCA wasn’t completed). However we also have no obligation to refund you if we believe you were acting fraudulently i.e. getting a refund for something you actually bought on the plane.


Can you make only a single transaction of £30 offline using contactless before authentication is required, or can you make an arbitrary number (even 3000 separate offline contactless transactions of 1p) before authentication is required?

Up to 10 offline transactions, or £30 in summed value, whichever comes first.

As a general rule we don’t really like merchants using offline transactions, they’re very difficult to control because we only find out about them after it’s too late to prevent the transaction.

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Ah, is this why for ages easyJet didn’t accept Monzo cards on planes, because you were calling them out and transferring the risk/loss back to them?

Yeah. It seems that a lot of merchants implicitly rely on the idea that getting a UK bank account is difficult as their primary fraud prevention tool.

Mastercard provides them with all the tools they need to actually prevent fraud (and we support all of those tools), but many don’t seem interested in using them :woman_shrugging:.


How does this work with Google pay? Does it effectively act as another card with the same limits built in? Or are the limits different?

They also know the identity of everyone on board

They then break the Mastercard rules by summarily banning entire organisations’ debit cards rather than carry out due diligence themselves. And then get sniffy when the organisation throws the rules back at them. Interesting.

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