I have had a lot of issues with Barclays over the years, especially where card payments are declined for no good reason (and where they allow fraudulent ones that are so obvious to anyone that it is fraud, against Barclays, it is unbelievable).
So I am very wary of using Barclays for anything, and hence have Monzo and Starling accounts. Both are great at letting you know what happens in real time on mobile apps and recommended to most of my friends. For most people both work well, but I have to say I would now recommend Monzo.
But, it seems, neither can do the job of a "proper" bank, in my view.
I am booking a cruise with my (rich) friends. As I have blogged before we take turns for holidays, and between us we are doing another cruise. The total comes to more than £10k between us. I'll no doubt post pictures and videos at the time (next month). I know that is a lot of money.
So, paying over £10k on my Barclays card - risky - it could bounce, decline, fail, go wrong in so many ways, and I am wary. As I say, it is a lot of money. To be honest the most likely is they allow the cruise and then block my card without telling me and make my life difficult when I want to buy a coffee.
But I have my shiny new Starling Bank card, and I asked them, back in December, if there are any spending limits using the card. I was advised of top up, and ATM usage limits and told that otherwise there was no limit. I asked at the time as we were sorting a rather expensive car for my son, and wanted to ensure it worked. Sadly Tesla don't take debit cards (WTF?) so was not the issue. Seems it would have been if they did!
I have spent the last 6 months thinking my Starling card had no spending limit, so I decided the safest tactic for this cruise was move the money to Starling, and then pay on card. They declined it! UNLIKE Monzo they do not log or show they declined it on the app. I had to ask on the chat thing. They declined as they have a £10k limit. It seems that previously they LIED TO ME about the limits, or lack thereof.
Now I find they can do nothing to fix this, and I cannot even send the money BACK to my Barclays account to try paying with the Barclays debit card as sending money out has the same limit! Before you ask, yes, I tried to resolve this with them before making a blog post and putting on twitter - had they resolved it, e.g. "I'll temporarily allow a higher level, try now", then I would have been impressed and not cross at all.
This is starting to be show stopping for use of Starling, and I will go back to Monzo for some stuff and Barclays for other. It really seems that these "challenger" banks are just playing around and not "proper" banks at all. Shame.
Anyway, the money, carefully collected together, is held to ransom almost, in my Starling account, and I do not want to lose the cruise booking over this. So I decide, that is OK, I can borrow from my mortgage reserve for a few days. I am not above using my mortgage reserve for a holiday, that is what these things are for. What do I find?, well Barclays have broken the mortgage contract (IMHO) and reduced my reserve with no notice to only £1k available. What the hell? If we manage to get this cruise sorted it will be a miracle. So I'm threatening to sue Barclays now over that...
Seriously, do no "proper" banks exist?
P.S. I could not send the money back to another account (well not all of it) as they stated there was a £10k “in any 24 hours” limit. However, experimenting, you can simply send more than one payment in a row. So yet more misinformation.
What would help is:-
- Clearly stating actual limits in the app like Monzo do,
- Ensuring staff understand and can explain them correctly.
- Allowing customers to change them to suit their spending, ie £10k is way too high for a lot of people who would be happier with a much lower limit
- Allow time limited pre-advice of large payment via app with face/finger security, and password, and PIN or whatever.
- Please have the app show when a card is declined, and the reason, like Monzo do!
- Maybe even a link/button to "enabled this transaction if you would like to try again in next hour" restricting to exact amount and merchant to exceed a limit...