The problem with taking pending out of balance (John Lewis' fault, to be fair)


The thing is, though, that Monzo’s overdraft fee isn’t interest. Thus they could probably get away with charging it before presentment.

(Thomas Guthrie) #22

For anyone that doesn’t have access to the overdraft, this is in the credit agreement:

When you make payments, Monzo immediately deducts the money from your account, but overdraft charges are only calculated on transactions that have been settled with Mastercard (which may be a couple of days after the transaction was made).

Pre-ordering authorising the full amount months in advance

That’s good to know! Thanks. (though it is, to my mind, terribly confusing, as that balance isn’t displayed anywhere.)

Its also interesting, because it shows that (despite saying elsewhere that with monzo you only ever have one balance) under the hood they do exactly the same as all other banks and have two separate balances (“available” and “actual”), and have just decided to not show the actual balance to users. I guess that shouldn’t be a huge surprise, since it’s really how things work, but interesting nonetheless :slight_smile:

(Allie) #24

Thank you!


I want to read and reply to this in more depth later (I just woke up :speak_no_evil:) but after establishing a few facts we would reverse an authorisation. We would make it clear that the merchant can still collect if they haven’t registered it as a decline. And the next steps if that happens.

I have no experience on whether any other banks do this.

(Allie) #26

Definitely, I even acknowledged in the comments after that Monzo does reverse these - your customer service is amazing.

I just thought it was a good example of why it can be problematic. Because I used my Amex, it never touched my balance at all (though my available credit did drop).

Also, yes, I know the money is still tied up from spending either way - just can you imagine the shock if you used Monzo for something like this and didn’t understand the process and suddenly found your account the better part of a thousand pounds short because of extremely bad merchant processes (don’t get me wrong, John Lewis did a terrible job of almost every part of this interaction, it was really bad)?

Just my views. I love the Monzo product and how awesome all of you are in almost everything! The lack of separation of pending/posted balances is one of my only pet peeves about a product I’m raving about to friends and anyone who will listen all the time!

(Simon) #27

I have had this with Monzo although with a relatively small amount.

I’d left my phone at home and paid contactless for about £20. Everything seemed fine but when checking my phone I had 2 identical transactions. I thought the merchant double charged me so contacted Monzo and got it reversed immediately.

For me this is perfect, pending transactions also state they’re pending and this way I know how much I can actually spend right now.

I could see a “Finalised Balance” field somewhere, maybe under the account tab along with “total Balance”, could be of use though

(Allie) #28

That is actually a really good idea as a compromise view!

(Peter Roberts) #29

Doh, now I remember reading that :exploding_head:


You mean, like most other banks do? “available balance” vs “balance”? :stuck_out_tongue:

(Simon) #31

Please don’t do this like other banks do. I like it the way Monzo displays it. If you display this figure it should be hidden in the account tab or even one level deeper. Somewhere where I need to explicitly look for it and there’s no way to confuse it with the balance


I wonder if we could light grey pending and black presented in the feed :thinking:

I have no idea how feasible that is :speak_no_evil:

(Allie) #33

Ooh, I like that.


Bit more of a Monzo approach than splitting out all your types of balances I think.

(Jack) #36

I like this. I know it states pending when you click on it


Like for foreign currency transactions? If it’s already in place, as it’s used for those… can’t imagine it being too difficult to extend it for all unpresented transactions.


(Allie) #38

Good point, it would make a lot of sense. Let the 99% who want it removed from their balance keep that, but make them grey and put ‘pending transaction subject to change’ on it clearly.

(Tony Hoyle) #39

Writing stuff like that just confuses matters. For 99.99% of transactions you buy something, the money disappears from your account… whether it’s ‘pending’ is an internal technical detail. Making it a slightly different colour might work for those that really want that.

I’m in two minds about refunds. The current system accurately reflects exactly what is happening… some retailers need to start losing custom over their behaviour, frankly, and highlighting it is a good thing. OTOH those are also more or less a detail. You only really care if the money doesn’t subsequently go out, so a company that lets a pending transaction drop then immediately reinstates it should probably be hidden from the timeline.

(Allie) #40

What about situations like what John Lewis did to me? Deciding my (protected by 3-D Secure and of no risk to them) initial transaction was potentially fraud, abandoning it, and running a new (telephone, no protection for them) authorisation?

Is it still just an ‘internal technical detail’? The Monzo way would make someone who doesn’t know the internal workings think they were actually charged twice.

(Tony Hoyle) #41

You have been charged twice. The money is gone from your account. Presumably one of those charges will be (automatically) refunded but John Lewis could have expedited that and chose not to, because they didn’t care and they normally get away with it.

For a lot of people losing that much money unexpectedly could cause serious problems like rent or mortgage being unable to be paid. And in legacy banks that’d happen without any warning. Suddenly they’d be in financial mire through no fault of their own. Monzo pins the blame firmly on John Lewis, as it should do.