Speed up refunds on pending "authorization holds"

See Uber authorisation hold -20days no refund for context (this post isn’t mine, but I’m having a very similar issue).

Uber often charges expensive authorization holds, even before a driver has accepted your fare. In London it’s reasonably common not to find a driver. Uber may still charge an expensive upfront authorization hold. This is often kept in pending state for 30 days.

I use Uber regularly and the pending authorization holds quickly add up. Waiting 30 days for the refund isn’t great.

I noticed that this isn’t happening with my NatWest Debit Card - with NatWest I get refunded almost instantly - so I guess that something can be done by the Bank so that we receive our money back faster?

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I use Uber very regularly, and whenever I get an authorisation hold whether they cancel or it takes too long to accept I get a refund after 1 minute of waiting.

Here’s my screenshot;

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Hey @_Tom.

Interesting, behaviour is different for me.

All but the £28.82 and the £2 charges are authorization holds for “cancelled” (as in, no driver accepted it) trips.

All of the transactions are still pending.

Monzo customer support told me to either fill a form or wait for transactions to be flushed by 04 June. :(.

I wonder if the different behaviour is due to the fact that I’m using Google Play (are you using Google Pay or have you entered you debit card details in Uber’s App?).

Anyway, it would be great if It didn’t happen one way or another.

I actually use Apple Pay whenever I use Uber.

I don’t know whether that has anything to do with it - I’m not that smart unfortunately.

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I use Apple Pay and have the same instant refund experience. :man_shrugging:t3:

It would be great to get confirmation from other Android / Google Play users to understand if something in the Google Play integration is indeed the root cause of the issue.
One way or another, Google Play + NatWest works fine and I don’t need to wait long for refunds, so… Yeah, something is wrong.

I think basically this is Uber not reversing your holds. You can ask the bank to reverse them manually for you but the better solution would be to find out why Uber isn’t sending reverses in your account to that card, maybe they have it set up wrong and deleting the card I. Uber and adding it back will help?

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Uber says that everything is fine on their side. They have already marked the trip as canceled and it all shows as £0 charges on their side. According to Uber it can take up to 5 working days for money to be released by the bank (it has been far more than that already).

The interesting part of course is to figure out what, if anything, is different between my transactions and the ones that are getting instant refunds.

I’ll try to delete my Monzo card from Google Pay and add it again. And I can maybe even add my Monzo card direct to Uber App, but it would be great if I first had confirmation from other Google Pay users that it’s working well for them.

5 working days isn’t the right timeline. Either they send an auth reversal message and it reverses instantly, or they don’t in which case the timeline depends on the bank and not Uber. When it comes to reversing an unsettled ‘hanging’ auth, some banks are 5 days, some are 7 (I think Monzo is 7), some are still up to 30 days.

The basic difference is, as I said, either for some reason Uber isn’t reversing the auth, or Monzo isn’t getting those messages. Most likely the former as Monzo in general don’t seem to have any issue getting those from Uber (comes through fine for me)

Just a thought, might be good to check the ones you have hanging are definitely still ‘pending’ and not settled transactions - if they settled you’d need to get Uber to issue a refund

Transactions are mercifully still pending. I’m ok with waiting 30 days. I just want to know why it’s happening for some people and not for everyone else.

I’ve brought this to Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnthonyAccioly/status/1525824130695700480?t=7xsH7kbvQw1kpQIpwKYUKA&s=19

Monzo official position is that authorization charges can take up to 30 days to reverse.

This is fine (house on fire gig). The interesting underlying question still remains. Why some people are getting immediate refunds and others have to wait a month?

  • Is there a difference in setup or payment technology?
  • Is it a matter of luck / timming?
  • Who is dropping the ball here? Uber? Google Play? Monzo? Me? And, if so, what exactly is going wrong?

Just to chime in here, so do I, but mine rarely refund quickly to Monzo either. I reported it in a thread somewhere a while back when I was in France where a Monzo employee blamed Uber (and it may have been, but to blame any and everyone besides accepting it themselves, is Monzo’s support forte), but I can’t stress enough that it literally only happens with my Monzo card regardless of whether it’s charged through Apple Pay, direct to the card, or through PayPal. All my other cards have been immediate 100% of the time.

In fact, the PayPal route, I get a notification to say it’s been refunded from PayPal pretty much straight away. And as far as PayPal are aware on their app, the refund has already been returned to my card and is complete. But Monzo leave it pending for quite a while.

It happens with other merchants too, but sparingly, though Amazon is a consistent one, yet never happens with any of my other payment methods. Again, according to Monzo, it’s always the merchant’s fault, or PayPal’s fault. But it’s not an issue I’ve ever experienced with Chase since I’ve been using them as my primary card. I don’t recall ever noticing such behaviour with traditionals either, but given that they’re discreet between available balance and your balance, it’s less of an issue.

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Uber haven’t sent what’s technically called an “0400 authorisation reversal message” otherwise the funds would have been released.

The reason NatWest shows the refund immediately is they deal with pending and presented transactions differently to Monzo. This is the reason your balance at Monzo is only ever your balance - there’s no available funds like you see with NatWest.

It’s also possible that for some reason they’re sending the message on your NatWest card but not Monzo.

However until the auth hold expires of Uber sent an auth reversal message we don’t know that they’re not going to collect the money.

This is very much a merchant issue (wherever it happens) and not a banking issue.

We also don’t set the auth holding period - that’s ultimately set by the merchant and/or MasterCard.

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And you’re absolutely certain that it’s impossible for anything to even conceivably go wrong on Monzo’s end of things? There are no bugs at all in your system?

Because what’s more likely, in your opinion?

That merchants are only always sending these to every other bank besides Monzo, or that Monzo isn’t properly handling all of them?

Lex parsimoniae.

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I get them on Monzo though, I think most people do. I think if you don’t it’s most likely a problem with your card set up on your Uber account hence my suggestion to delete and put back in

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I use Apple Pay! There’s nothing to delete and put back in. Worth a try with Amazon though I suppose.

Hey @Dan5,

Got it. Thanks for chiming in. By how precise and technical your answer was may I assume that your are a Software Developer?

Are we talking about the transaction processing rules bellow?

Funds are 100% being refunded “instantly” to my NatWest Account (i.e., the balance including pending transactions matches as well). But let’s simplify things by keeping NatWest out of the equation for now.

What I can still not understand is why different Monzo users are getting different behaviour when buying something from the same merchant (Uber).

By what you typed above I assume that Uber:

  1. Is not sending the authorisation reversal message 100% of the time
  2. Has agreed (or opted in to a default) of 30 days for auto reversal of unclaimed auth holds with MasterCard.

Did I get it right? If so, any clues on why Uber may be failing to send the authorisation reversal message?

This doesn’t seem to be just randomly dropped messages. Some users are reporting that they always receive immediate refunds while others, like me, are consistently waiting for the auto reversal.

My theory is that Uber is probably sending the authorisation reversal message and Monzo is properly handling it for most payment flows (e.g., the Apple Pay crowd above). But then again, this is not working properly for other kinds of payment flows / or maybe it’s working for all payment flows but not under certain specific conditions. The problem may still be on Uber’s side, or Uber may actually be doing the right thing and Monzo may be missing some specific corner case when handling reversals.

I understand that one doesn’t simply bring unverified issues into the backlog, but it would be great to check with backend / QA folk if:

  1. Authorisation Reversal is working for users paying with Google Play.
  2. Authorisation Reversal is working for Monzo Plus and Monzo Premium users paying with Virtual Cards.

I’m a Software Developer myself and I happen to have a Monzo Premium account with Open Banking API access to a NatWest Bank account. I’m happy to provider further details and volunteer to “test in production” if any Monzo insiders feel like investigating the issue. Feel free to DM me.

The truth is: Regardless of the root cause of the problem, the issue is very inconvenient, and at the moment it’s only affecting my Monzo account (mine, and from at least 3 other users so far).

I would be very grateful if someone from engineering could have a look at it.

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I’ve always found PayPal refunds to be painfully slow regardless of the bank or card I’ve got linked. I always assumed they sent the money the slowest way possible :laughing:

You are really overthinking it imo. Uber isn’t sending the reversals codes. Ubers payment system is notoriously flaky so it’s no big suprise.

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