The downside to the immediacy of Starling, Monzo etc


In general I’m really liking using Starling, so overall this is a thumbs up.

The one thing that has caught me out a little, and continues to do so a little, is this whole grey area when a transaction is “pending”.

I guess its the nature of the beast, but as an example I attempted to make a one-off payment to my energy supplier on Saturday to clear the debit in advance of switching to another supplier and while the transaction failed on the suppliers website (for reasons I do not know) it of course came through instantly on Starling and has been listed and deducted from my balance since Saturday.

I’m told this will likely bounce back in a few days, but it’s slightly disconcerting!

Another example, I needed to download a title register from HM land registry, which cost £6 but failed to click on the download button after paying and it seems that if you don’t do this then you have to run the whole search again. Of course, the £6 showed immediately on my Starling balance, but I’m told that because I didn’t download it then this will bounce back in due course as HM LR will not request the payment.

I’m getting used to these quirks, I guess this has all been going on behind the scenes and you’d never know under with a traditional bank account as it would all sort itself out by the time you got your statement, but I can certainly see people getting confused.

My feedback would be to highlight pending transactions in a different colour - maybe even grey them out slightly so you can tell at a glance which are confirmed payments and which aren’t yet confirmed.


I had what looked like a failed payment to Halifax that appeared as pending for a few days. (It failed at the 3D Secure stage.) CS told me it would bounce back, though a few days later the payment completed and Halifax confirmed receipt!


Unfortunately this is players like Starling and Monzo trying to be progressive. They hide your money that to them, appears to be spent/allocated, which is totally reasonable, but the system is let down by merchants.

The failure is on the merchants side, if they have 0 intention of ever collecting that money, they should reverse the authorisation. If they do not, it’s just lazy programming. They have no reason not to tell the bank the authorisation is no longer needed.

Starling and Monzo are playing on a legacy battlefield. Change will only come when more banks act like Starling/Monzo and enough users then complain to crappy merchants to follow the Visa/MasterCard spec properly.


Yeah, understood.

Another suggestion would be the option of a notification when a payment moves from “pending” to “confirmed”. I can see we get notification of the reversals, but nothing for when it is confirmed.


Barclays actually show pending transactions first in its own section headed pending, so there is no confusion about what is pending and what is not.


I would like to see:

  1. pending transactions shown as greyed out or some other visual way of showing they are not confirmed
  2. the option to set notifications on or off for pending transactions
  3. the option to set notifications on or off for transactions that move from pending to confirmed