Subscriptions and Membership Payments

I believe banks can see when card payments are marked as ‘recurring’ by the originator. Think @Rika might have said this years ago.

Edit: Apparently not.


No they can’t. This came up on the thread for cancelling these sorts of requests a week or so ago.

It’s a naff system overall.


Thanks. I wonder how Starling does it then.

Starling don’t do anything more than Monzo do in automatically putting subscriptions under the recurring payments section.


So perhaps what i actually meant was for Monzo to allow these payments to be paid from my bills pot… that surely cant be that hard?

I think Monzo mentioned looking into it but its much harder as theres no commitment to taking the funds or the amount of funds in advance so it’s much less likely to be a sure thing than with direct debits and much more prone to error.

It’s easy to transfer the money after the payments gone out. Running it as the Bills pot does (transfer before money goes out) relies on guesswork so they’re going to need a strategy for what to do when the guess is wrong, particularly where there isn’t the money in the main account to make the payment and the transfer hasn’t happened.


It’s not really guesswork if the user has marked a card payment as recurring and that the same amount should be deducted from the Bills Pot.

It would be a little more complicated for recurring card payments where the amount being paid varies, I’m not aware of any of these but even then I can’t see it being too different to how Summary predicts the left to spend with direct debits i.e. use the last payment value as a prediction for the next.

This is the real crux of the issue but I don’t think it’s beyond monzo to be able to work it out.

Perhaps a prerequisite for having a card subscription pot is that you need to have an overdraft in place? Virtual cards that can be linked to a Pot rather than the main account? Maybe it it should be a Plus feature, with IFTTT being the solution for the standard accounts?

I don’t know what the best solution would be but it would be great to try and figure it out.

1 Like

I think the issue is partly in the timing, they can come out at any time during the day (often not being the same each month!) instead of direct debits that come out at a set time each cycle.

Working out the time the card transaction will occur so as to withdraw money seconds before is likely impossible even for Monzo! Yes, there may be a compromise but it won’t be pretty behind the scenes.

Any ideas on how it could work? In app solutions which let customers set money aside for their subscriptions?

I think this could be the golden bullet for this kind of thing. That way, no fancy logic is needed, the exact right amount always comes straight from the pot.

There has been a lot of virtual card stuff on the teardowns recently, hopefully virtual cards linked to a pot is something Monzo has considered :crossed_fingers:

1 Like

And what if the pot is empty? The Bills Pot cycles money through the main account specifically to avoid this problem. I guess you have to bounce the payment even if there is a million in the main account.

I guess the best way is just moving it after the payment like the IFTTT stuff. Don’t see it as a huge issue personally. Only problem is you’ll need to really have an overdraft.

Or you could deduct it from the main account as a back up if the pot is empty or doesn’t have enough in it. It’s all about how monzo have the pot set up to interact with the main account.

We know why it currently doesn’t work and what the frustrations are when trying to make it work, but we don’t have to dwell on them or see them as unfixable.

1 Like

And if there’s nothing in the main account?

I don’t know that there’s the processing time to check this stuff before the card payment goes out so if they allow it without guaranteeing the funds they’re back into overdraft territory.

There is no nice answer.

As an aside, I personally don’t believe we’re going to see transactions out of pots directly as I’ve said elsewhere.

Then it’ll be dealt in the same way direct debits and standing orders are when there’s not enough money in either the bills pot or main account.

There being no immediate nice answer or the fact it would be hard to implement isn’t an reason not to explore the idea.

1 Like

Never said it was. You’re the one who keeps on about it!

It all comes back to the timing and whether any of that can be done in the thread of transaction approval. Without that question answered, the rest is pretty pointless in the sense that the actual payment calculation is fairly simple. I’ve already said that I doubt it but it’s clearly not my area.

Fair enough but saying the rest is pointless without knowing one aspect does come across like an unwillingness to explore it further. Maybe I’m just reading it wrong, if so I apologise.

Timing is an issue but like in one suggestion (if virtual cards were linked to a pot) then timing wouldn’t be an issue at all. Sure if the money isn’t there in the pot the payment might fail but the same could be said for the current setup, if the money isn’t available in the main account the payment will fail.

It’s clearly not my area either but in the spirit of the topic I think it’s good to discuss the solutions rather than the current limitations each time an idea is put forward.


Bunq lets you have two accounts on one card, with a different PIN for each. You can assign one account as a backup if the account you use does not have enough funds. Lots of things are possible with outside the box thinking.