Pay at Pump Card Decline


Visa still has some major UK contracts for example with Barclays, Worldpay and RBS Group. However Worldpay lost over 20 million in rebates so when that comes up for renewal they will be looking at clawing back some of the loses and if Mastercard offer something then Worldpay will move to them. Once they have gone, that will be the final nail in Visas coffin in the UK, but a few years for that to happen and Visa will probably do everything to keep Worldpay. Worldpay and Visa have been battling regarding fees since the rebate was dropped, Worldpay even went to the Competition and Markets Authority regarding fees. Although the equivalent of Mastercard send in the UK is run by Worldpay for Visa. To put it into context Worldpay process around 40% of all UK card transactions.


So I’ve had both issues with Pay at Pump and unfortunately suffered from the reoccurring theme of bad customer support.

The scenario:

  1. Arrive at Morrisons Pay at Pump
  2. Insert my Joint Starling Card
  3. Card is declined by Starling with Push Notification
  4. Insert my Personal Starling Card into the same Pump at the same Filling Station
  5. Card is authorised £1 and I can fill up my car

(Decline message doesn’t distinguish between accounts)

  • Both accounts have over £100 of available balance
  • The Joint Account has a greater Available Balance than the Personal Account

I reported this a week and a half ago and so far I’ve heard nothing useful from Starling. Excuses so far have been:

  • MasterCard rules (we know this is a Starling thing implemented incorrectly)
  • Insuffient available balance (see above)
  • GPS Outage


Can this get some attention please @StarlingSupport @LoganAllan @patrick


Just wanted to add to this thread that I’ve just used my card at Asda Pay at Pump without any issues.

Hopefully your incident is just a one off @Chalky. Hope they get it sorted for you!


Exactly the same happened to me at Asda using the joint account. The reason given eventually by email support was: to prevent unintentional overdrafts. As far as I am concerned it was Strike 1.


Sorry to hear of the experience in this case @Chalky This process was introduced by Starling after a number of UK retailers failed to comply with new EU MasterCard policy, designed to guard against fraudulent practises. We are always looking to improve our security processes so that we provide a high level of protection whilst the impact on our customers is minimised. The security rules can be triggered by a number of variables but we are unfortunately unable to disclose these for obvious reasons. We are however looking to refine these rules as well as the way we notify and communicate so that impact on our customers is reduced further.


I’m sorry but this isn’t at all good enough. Currently no retailers are doing the £100 pre-auth and immediate refund thing and there’s absolutely no reason for one card to be repeatably blocked and one not

The fact that you’ve taken this long to come up with that excuse is pretty poor.

You’ve also completely skipped over the poor customer service bit.


Also, the MasterCard rules have got nothing to do with fraudulent practices and all to do with preventing ‘bill shock’ for those people who have difficulty managing their finances.

No other bank implements this policy and they certainly don’t do it in a haphazard manner like Starling are.


Enormously frustrating that this happens.

I was literally about to push the button on a full switch to Starling after a faultless week using it everywhere, both UK and in multilple European countries. Then I was declined at a tesco pay at pump in the middle of the night when the kiosk was closed.

I’m sorry, but that is not acceptable and made me abandon my switch plans. I am not going to have as my main bank one that lacks basic functionality to make payments.

I hope this gets fixed soon, and then I can move forward with a switch again.


I don’t really understand why this is a ‘thing’ at Starling and not elsewhere.

For example, if I have £0.00 but a £1,000 overdraft - which Starling obviously knows, why is it unable to pre-authorise the transaction for a mere £99? Or for £1 which is what retailers are generally continuing to request.

The same is true of any value; Starling KNOWS how much is in your account, my account or Jim’s account over there. So it can make a judgement on whether the customer can afford the fuel.

I can get that if Jim only has £4.50 in his account and no overdraft, that Starling might decline that. But when Bob has £2,000 in his account and a £1,000 overdraft…declined to “guard against fraudulent practises”? It doesn’t make sense. The customer can obviously afford it too, so bill shock is out of the window.

Though is it really Starling’s duty to police the retailers?

The rules are for retailers are they not? The onus has not been placed on banks to police or enforce this, merely release the funds ASAP.

A second mechanism exists in any case, one where the retailer can check the available funds the customer has, allowing fuel to be dispensed to that amount and not more. It seems Starling doesn’t allow for this either, yet this is a totally bona fide mechanism.


It IS a thing elsewhere. It’s either more of a thing with Starling, or as i suspect just more visible because of the nature of this forum.


I think a combination of the two - but I also think there is some ambiguity with how Starling are enforcing the ‘new’ rules from Mastercard and Visa. Almost like a flip of the coin.

(I get the rules aren’t that new)

Starling have said

(This is the post being referred to)

So Starling have undoubtedly taken it upon themselves to police the retailers. Which is fine and dandy, IF they were policing them the same and policing them to the new rules, but they aren’t.

In this thread we have people who are saying they have available funds and are being declined.
Or are being declined on one account and not another, despite both accounts having more than enough money.
Or who aren’t being declined, whereas others are.

We also have a few people blaming Mastercard and other blaming Starling. The rules have undoubtedly changed, but in some instances Starling isn’t allowing either the new £99 or the old £1 pre-authorisations to go through, in other instances it is…

I think we can all agree that Mastercard and Visa both require want a lot more than £1 to be pre-authorised now. Whereas we have one user who has posted a screenshot of the transaction going through with an old £1 pre-authorisation.

  • If a retailer follows the new rules, the transaction may or may not be declined.
  • If a retailer doesn’t follow the new rules, the transaction may or may not be declined.
  • If a customer has available funds, the transaction may or may not be declined.
  • If a personal account is declined, the joint account might or might not be declined and vice versa.

It just doesn’t seem to be adding up. Starling have said they “have found some retailers are not complying to this, which is why we have had to make a change in some instances” - but they are still allowing the old rules to apply sometimes, and the new rules to not apply sometimes.

Are Starling enforcing the new Mastercard/Visa rules or aren’t they?



The pre-authorisation charge is down to a retailer to put through, its Starling that is refusing the charge, not the retailer.

Whether or not it’s Mastercard rules, which it is, it’s still down to the retailer to enforce the rules under their merchant agreement, its not down to the bank to force retailers to comply with rules. Mastercard have a policy in place where they can force retailers to comply with the rules, Mastercard have chosen not to use its own procedures to enforce its new rules.

The fact Mastercard are not bothered enough to use its own procedures to force retailers to follow its rules says it all really.


Mine have been going through at £1.