Retailer took card after pin locked

Anyone aware of any UK Law regarding banks requesting retailers to keep cards when the pin is locked in store?

So been away in Europe, come back to the UK and I go to buy something in the airport. Had a complete mind blank and forgot my pin and got it wrong three times. Informed by the retailer that the till has told them that they have to keep my card, cut it up and send it to the bank.

I’m too tired to argue too hard about it, speak to the manager and he says it’s against the law for him to let me take the card. In hindsight I should have asked which law.

Anyway, card frozen via the app and requested a new one. Informed Monzo via the app but they haven’t heard of such a thing before.

It’s been about 20years since I worked in retail so may have changed but I’m sure at the request of the card issuer shops etc can retain the card when asked and if safe to do so. The card belongs to the issuer afaik not the end user.

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They’re probably hoping to get a bonus from their processor for capturing a card. Locking the offline PIN, however, does not do this from my understanding. I think the reward only applies if the authorisation message that comes back is actually ‘capture card’. What shop did this happen at? Can Monzo comment on if they gave that response? I doubt it.

Just to pre-empt speculation, this is absolutely not something we ask retailers to do and will be their own policy (or that of their card acquirer’s). :disappointed:

We have a similar problem with a very small number of ATMs abroad capturing cards for simple declines, even when we haven’t asked them do.


Hey, my speculation was literally ‘I doubt it.’ :slight_smile: Can you confirm that my understanding is correct that they don’t get a reward unless the authorisation message asked them to capture the card? I mean, if they got it for any card, nothing would stop a rogue retailer from just grabbing random cards to get some extra cash.

Similarly, can you confirm my understanding that there’s no incentive for this misbehaviour?

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I had an RBS card cut in half due to ‘instruction from their acquirer’ and when I complained to RBS they said it was an error.

P.S. just to clarify, one more thing is that this is absolutely not a law in the criminal sense even when the issuer asks for it. It’s down to the merchant agreement - a contract (so contract law). Even then, they’re only to capture it if safe to do so. I think most cashiers would consider it unsafe to have that conversation - a low wage job isn’t worth getting into that fight! However, if they share the incentive, or it is a small business, then I can see it.


When I used to work in retail I remember a message that would come up to capture the card. In reality I don’t think it was ever something we would press too hard but if it was safe to do so it would get locked in the cash office. I remember an incident where the customer had obviously fished the card out of the bin and sellotaped it back together to try and guess the pin. We took that one! I no longer work in retail and haven’t for many years but I think it was the card processor that made that message appear not necessarily the bank.

Interesting, that’s the part I don’t know. I know it’s part of the authorisation response, but I hadn’t even thought about the possibility the processor (acquirer) would ask for this. I can’t see how it benefits them… interesting. But it does make sense, if that message appeared on the screen as the shop in OP’s post claimed.

@cyclegaz… what shop was this? In an airport this is especially concerning, as these issues tend to happen when tired, like right after landing. I did this in the US once, not in the airport, but within a few hours of landing. MBNA (the card I locked the offline PIN on) just accepted signature, so the whole trip just had CVM fallback to signature. No declines or anything.

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The only time I ever did something similar in retail was due to fraud.

I didn’t know about cutting it up, seeing as you could recover it and unlock the PIN. Only ever capturing it and doing “further checks”. Ie phone the bank in a back room.

You must have been tired to even think about buying anything at an airport particularly on arrival.:tired_face:

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It was world duty free. They got shops in pretty much all UK airports, both land and air side.

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Definitely… wow. I’ve bought from them once, if I remember right they didn’t have contactless either!

As far as I’m aware, even if by law they are ‘required’ to do so, it’s pretty much a defunct and fogotten one that no one really adheres to. Technically, I guess it’s at the discretion of the manager, but as someone in the position myself, I wouldn’t bother.

I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience here, having found likwly the only person in the UK to do somethig like that to someone.

I imagine this would have been a lot easier in the days where the retailer swiped the card and kept hold of it until the receipt was signed and checked whereas now the customers puts it in a machine that’s facing them quite often out of reach of the cashier.

I imagine there’s more of a chance of confrontation if the cashier is scrambling over the counter to wrestle the card out of the machine!

I did a bit more research into this and found this link, which is in USD, so I don’t know if it applies here:

In any case, there’s no reward I can see for capturing a card unless either 1. the issuer asked for it or 2. the capture was in response to a code 10 call.

I work in food retail. Usually when this happens, we cut up and send back to merchant. We no longer get anything back unless it’s proven stolen. But it’s very rare.

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I still don’t get the point of doing this in 2018 when all transactions are online and issuer script can be used to remotely block a card’s offline capabilities after the first online decline. Seems like a waste of time & extra risk of confrontations for merchants for zero benefit.

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Which makes sense. Otherwise there’d be incentive for a merchant to enthusiastically claim they were ‘suspicious’ often…

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Was this your Monzo card? If so there is a remind me of my pin function.