Faster Refunds


I have been using Starling for quite some time now, however it often takes longer for them to process a refund compared to the likes of other “challenger banks” such as Monzo.

For instance, if an online retailer informs me that they will process a refund for a transaction, I can immediately see it reflect on my Monzo account where as Starling takes around 2-4 days :money_with_wings:


I have found the refund times no different personally.

A refund from PrimeNow took 3 days with Barclays, it took 3 days with Starling.

A refund from Argos took 6 days with Barclays and it took 6 days with Starling.

A refund from TFL took 3 days with Barclays and it took 3 days with Starling.

I’m sure there can be differences, but from my experience its the same no matter what bank.


I wonder if there’s the same kind of authorisation/presentment process with refunds as there are with purchases and that maybe Monzo are trusting the merchant at the first step whereas others are waiting until they actually get the funds back?


The original poster compared Starling to other challenger Banks. You’ve compared them to other legacy banks.

This, perhaps, explains the difference.


Monzo state its normal for refunds to take 3-5 days, so its not bank dependant which was my point.

No bank can speed up the refund time, a refund only appears once authorised by the merchant, not by the bank.


Indeed, that may well be well what Monzo says. The experience of the original poster, however, is different when they say:

My own experience of refunds on Monzo, along with the original poster, is that they appear on the same day.


I did a ‘withdrawal’ from my National Lottery account which is done as a refund quite late afternoon yesterday and it appeared in my account 08:09 this morning which I think is pretty quick!


I don’t work in the banking industry any longer so maybe someone from the Starling team would be best placed to answer this, however from a previous life working at a finance company that accepted card payments, there is a difference between a “refund” and a “reversal”.

  • A reversal is basically a cancellation in whole, or in part, of the original transaction (authorisation) on the same day. The ability of a reversal to be processed depends a lot on the software that sits behind an online retailer, or the point-of-sale equipment in use and the skill of the checkout operator in-store. Typically you’ll see a reversal if you’ve elected to draw cash from an ATM, but it fails to dispense the cash (or you press ‘cancel’), which abandons the transaction and releases the authorisation hold. This happens in real time.

  • But a refund is processed entirely as an overnight ‘batch’ process and takes place during the settlement process of the merchant’s acquiring bank, hence it takes a few days to be reflected on your account. There is no direct correlation between the original debit transaction (the charge) and the subsequent credit transaction (the refund).

So in the above thread, if the retailer reversed (in whole or in part) a transaction that reversal should appear on your account immediately due to the wonders of instant notifications. But a true ‘refund’ will take a few days just because of the way card settlement processes work.


As long as the money is back in my account, the banking industry can call them whatever the hell it likes. :wink:

Thanks, Rob :+1:


From Monzo CA FAQ


I agree with this thread. I’ve used prepaid Mastercards where the refund notification comes through immediately and the funds become available within hours. This is what I was expecting from Starling too.