Unexpected Refunds



I don’t actually understand how this happened - did that particular acquirer loose a bunch of data related to those transactions, thus not presenting them in the expected time? In that case I hope their backup strategy actually works.

(Dannii) #10

How in this day and age of banking has this happened?

Seems a little odd to me. Haven’t had anything like that previously.

Better keep that £4.55 in my account :joy:


It happens from time to time. Happened to me before as well. (interestingly also at pret)

One such story made the news around Christmas:

(Dannii) #12

:roll_eyes: Hopefully we haven’t got to wait 3 months for it to be taken again lol

(Jonathon) #13

Ah explains my American Express refund this morning.

Is there any protections here, specifically for those who might not realise there was a refund, see their balance is £x and spend £y only to be charged fees when the payment goes out again?

I only know I got this refund because Monzo alerts me in real time. My parents would have zero idea given they still bank at the actual bank once a week!


No. Reminds me of this discussion:

(Jonathon) #15

It seems a little unfair really. If a transaction goes through and debited only to be credited it should be the responsibility of the merchant to work with you to get their money in a way that doesn’t detriment you.

In this case it’s not much at all. But there hasn’t been any news on this whatsoever. The only people I know who have been affected have been on Monzo (American Express, Waitrose and Pret)


Yeah, I guess I would agree with you. I fully see that it’s my responsibility to ensure I don’t double spend money, but I also agree its still a bit unfair…

(Jonathon) #17

Yes but you’re only double spending because your balance is inflated out of your control. Especially in a legacy bank where you might not know anything other than your balance.


But it is not. It is purely the initial presentment reserving the funds, it is not debited until the final instruction is received. This is just a problem with the way fintechs choose to display it in your transaction feed.

(Jonathon) #19

Sorry but in commonly accepted terms, as a regular normal customer of a bank, when I go to Pret and 99p is debited from my account, it is reasonable to assume that this has left your account and your debt with Pret is settled.

Technically yes background systems work differently, but a lot of rules and legislation is governed on what is commonly accepted or thought to have occur. In this instance I would say it’s incombant on either the bank to not return the funds (or tell you, and provide the option of ringfencing that fund if possible) or for the merchant to say “sorry, we will take this on this date” so as not to cause any financial issues.


But that’s not how it works legally either. Have you ever read what it says on those receipts? “I authorise you to take the funds from my account at some unspecified time in the future.” I’m obviously paraphrasing, but that’s what’s happening. From a legal perspective its pretty clear.

As I said, it still somewhat unfair to me that the merchant can take months to actually take the funds, but that’s the system we have…

(Jonathon) #21

It’s totally legal I understand. But while that is the letter of the law if you got into serious issues due to something and took it to court it would be easily said that the common man would assume XYZ and win the case. The law isn’t black and white in practice.

(Allie) #22

It wasn’t credited. That’s just how Monzo shows it. The authorisation hold just fell off as presentment has been delayed. I’ve got a handful of them, too.


In principle but big firms have big legal teams and will keep disputing any ruling and it will get re-judged at a higher court higher and higher up the tree. They may win and as you lose you may have to pay their costs, or you may win and perhaps have to bear your own costs. Having taken a case to the high court in the strand I would say you need to be able to lose in excess of £10,000-15,000 of legal fees if you want to fight it that far.

(Jonathon) #24

I understand what it is but this is something Monzo need to plan for given they give better access to what’s going on than legacy banks.

Fact is that I probably at the least should have a notification to say they are aware that this is happening and to check any refunds you might have received recently.

I know of one person who just thought that she got a refund. I had to tell her not to spend it. Yes, I wouldn’t have been like that but it’s a fact that people can be stupid with money and it would be useful for Monzo to let people know.

It’s a downside to the overall greatness that instant notifications have.

I would then equally argue Amex should have emailed me to say they are aware that this has happened and to prepare for it to be debited again.

To me this is all about being a responsible company and not relying on the technical letter of the law.

(Allie) #25

Debited again? It hasn’t been debited once yet. Monzo just plays pretend. I love Monzo but this is the one thing I don’t like. It won’t change because most customers love it, and Monzo is so amazing I can deal with one slightly irritating thing :slight_smile:


This is what happens when modern banks meet antiquated processes. Would we design a double entry system of authorisation and presentment now? Doubtful.

One of the things I’m most looking forward to is Monzo (and Starling, N26 and the rest) becoming big enough to influence downstream infrastructure and lead a rethink of some of this stuff…

(Dave) #27

Exactly this.

I’m not quite old enough (nearly though) to remember the times when a merchant would phone the bank to check you had enough credit to make a payment with your credit card, and maybe the bank made a note of this so they had an idea of your balance should another merchant then call up to ask the same question.

It made sense then, but it doesn’t now.


Oooh, I’d like that! We could toggle it on and off in the settings. Only joking, if they can’t manage a PIN on an app they couldn’t cope with double entry bookkeeping :wink: