Transactions being reversed


I met a weird issue today. I did my weekly supermarket shop and paid using Starling.
The usual notification appeared straight away on my phone.
Then I went to the app to split the cost with my partner…

And the transaction wasn’t there.

I waited a while, then checked with Customer Service who told me that the transaction had been reversed.

So now what?
Did I get my shopping for free? (Not expecting this.)
Will I suddenly find that amount goes out of my account some day in the near future?
What if my balance has dropped too low to cover the amount in the meantime?
Do I just have to remember how much I spent and make sure I leave that much available in my account? (That’s a pain.)

Not a massive problem, but frustrating when normally this is such a good way to manage my money.


Did you get a reversal notification?


Reversals have been happening a lot recently, but a lot of them are not actually reversals, just issues with the card processor. So they normally get collected again in a couple of days.

If your balance has dropped too low and the transaction was authorised at point of sale, the retailer will still get the money, and your account will go into a minus figure.


Nope, I didn’t see a notification to tell me the transaction had been reversed.


Feels like this is exposing issues with card processors. I’m not their direct customer but mess-ups like this impact me.


I didn’t think Starling notified you of a reversal?

I thought it just… disappeared…?


This happened across multiple cards in the past few days. It’s not Starling. And if your experience is like many others, hold tight and you’ll find everything slots into place.


I concur with Graham. I have experienced it on 4 cards recently, but it is erratic and unpredictable.


Just out of curiosity, what banks were these cards with?


The UK cards were Curve and SHB, and also two foreign cards (MasterCard Debit and a Maestro) but I did not try any Visa or other scheme cards. So I am not sure if the issues impacted them at all?


Starling is my only MasterCard, and at the moment I rarely use it. My other cards are Visa, and that’s worked without any issues. Would be interesting to find out how wide these issues are though.


Yes, the immediate nature of Starling’s transaction notifications is perhaps exposing an issue with card processors that had been around for some time, just not noticeable with traditional banks that don’t update your transaction feed for several days.

That said, this is starting to reflect badly on Starling. Most users don’t use this forum and will be confused by what’s happening. Whoever is ultimately responsible for these issues needs to sort them out quickly!


Yes, this is it exactly.
Starling and Monzo and any others who do “live” transactions are exposing the issues of processors who mess up.
But most customers won’t realise that the problem isn’t with Starling / Monzo etc.

Solution required. Perhaps if processors cancel a claim for cash then they shouldn’t be able to claim it later!


I’ve had this happen a couple of times in Wetherspoons, I’ll order on their app, it authorises the transaction, but then I get a notification that the retailer has reversed the transaction. It does re-appear 2-3 days later saying the merchant has amended the amount (but the amount hasn’t changed, it’s just went from £0 back to the original amount).

I think you’re right @danmullen that card processors are now on the backfoot and are struggling to meet the demand of instant notification that the starling app provides.


At the risk of dragging up a recent sore point, the processor that Starling use have not been reliable over the past 18 months.

Monzo ditched them and made their own, and a few others have expressed their desire to follow suit.

So no, it’s not a Starling issue as such (it’s a GPS issue), but it’s still annoying.

@MIROW - Do GPS process the 4 cards you had fail?


I know they process one of them but I am not sure about the other three. I have 2 further cards which are GPS so did not even bother trying those!


I was just about to forgive you for your “slow reply”, but I see you’ve deleted it :joy:

3 whole minutes Richard! 3 whole minutes! Inexcusable!


The delay down to being on 6 communities at once plus Skype and WhatsApp…that’s about all my tiny brain can cope with!


How dare you visit other communities :smile:


This is a really good point. Maybe even gives a clue as to why more card providers don’t offer instant notifications when the technology is there and has obvious benefits.

That said, when I’ve had 4 issues with reversals, 2 times got the message a week later, 1 time 2 hours later, and the most recent nothing at all. For me it was more my regular checking of my spending, which I do more with Starling than previous banks.