Unable to top up using debit card


For the past two years, I’ve topped up using ‘Top Up using a Debit Card’ in app every day. Aside from one occasion abroad where I had to call Santander to verify the payment, this has never been an issue.

I haven’t been able to use this feature for a week. I get to the Authenticating Payment stage and receive an Authentication Successful message from Santander. I press confirm. Usually at this point I see the circle loading bar and then my top up goes through. For the past week, instead of the loading screen I get the following pop up: “Sorry, the top up failed because your card was declined by your bank. Please contact your bank for more information and to fix this issue.”

I’ve had four calls with Santander and they are adamant this is a fault from Monzo’s side. They say Monzo are processing the payment as if there’s a physical card reader there (instead of as a digital payment), and when a magnetic strip can’t be recognised the payment is cancelled.

Monzo are adamant it’s Santander blocking the payment. I chatted to a number of Monzo support staff over the past week, and they raised it with a specialist in the payments team, and they’re still telling me it’s being blocked by Santander. They didn’t mention anything about the processing issue Santander believe is the case, so I’m not sure how thoroughly this was investigated. The last message I received said to contact Santander again, and if there’s still no luck to top up using bank transfer only. These usually aren’t as instant as topping up via debit card so it’s not ideal.

None of my other mates who bank with Santander and use Monzo are experiencing this.

Both Santander and Monzo are equally adamant it couldn’t possibly be them.

Has anyone had a similar issue, and what was the solution?


Just thinking out of the box here, bit of a revolutionary idea, but have you tried sending a faster payments bank transfer?


Bank transfer should be instant, give it a go


Are you topping up via Apple Pay? I had the same problem twice before- for two different reasons.

One is that some legacy banks block top ups to Monzo for “security” :roll_eyes: it happened to a couple of people before but I think it should have been resolved now? I use Santander and after the first instance of marking it as not fraud it didn’t occur again. Have you checked your post to see if they’ve sent you any post about a potential fraudulent transaction? I had a deposit payment blocked for two weeks because I didn’t realise this happened and the other party insisted they didn’t get it. If they’ve identified the top up as potentially fraudulent you might have to clear it with them. :woman_shrugging:t2:

The second occasion was because I topped up via Apple Pay in small amounts really frequently in the past. Basically after a large volume of top ups, Apple Pay will just refuse to work and they’ll try to run a fix to reset it. I don’t think it’s limited to Monzo.

I would recommend using bank transfers though, they’re pretty much always instant (I get the notification asap!) and now that the app has touch ID login it only takes a few taps to transfer amounts.

I know it may sound trivial but I had this issue during the prepaid days and that was because the card I was using to top up had expired and I didn’t realise :man_facepalming:

Double check to make sure that’s not the case…?

Hey Molly!

I’ve had a dig into this and all of our logs do say that it’s Santander blocking the transaction from happening, so unfortunately there’s only so much we can do.

I would suggest giving Santander another call and speak to someone else.

We haven’t changed anything in the way that we process top-ups - so that explanation they’ve given you doesn’t make a whole lot of sense!

Was thinking about this some…

Would it be worth asking Santander to issue you with a new card and therefore card number - this seems like similar behaviour expected when a card is reported lost/stolen and blocked (although that’s obviously not the case in your situation).

To be fair I think you could be better using a bank transfer and using pots to release funds to yourself every day. You could use IFTTT to automate this also. While I don’t know your full financial situation, it does seem like it would be worth a try.