Non present transactions

Hi Windy

Agreed re fuel stations, it is the automated ones that I would like Revolut to add a 2 factor authorisation for so we can use them.

As for tolls, most of the ones we tried that were unmanned wouldn’t work and Revolut confirmed that. Again it would be great if we could use them.

Over to you Revolut.

Issue with fuel stations and toll operators is that they’re offline transactions.

Nothing to do with 2-factor or security.

Surely they can’t be “offline” with no ability to know if the card is valid, not stolen, got credit on it etc or other wise any of the toll booths or fuel stations would be at huge risk of targeted fraud. These are simply transactions without an attendant aren’t they and as such Revolut decide they are too risky. So if a second factor of authentication was used then surely that would be able to satisfy Revolut that it was the card holder present and therefore authorise it?

It’s a financial system thing, rather than a Revolut-specific thing.

Revolut’s current debit cards (Regardless of whether it’s PaySafe or Wirecard.) are pre-paid. Therefore the limitation of all pre-paid debit cards is that they can’t be used with offline transactions.

Some other ‘neobanks’ that currently use pre-paid Mastercards also have this limitation.

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Thank you Capital, your input is much appreciated. But I still don’t understand how a “credit” card can be validated and a “pre-paid” card can’t be. the “pre-paid” is still Mastercard. Surely these pumps don’t wildly accept credit cards without checking they are blocked or insufficiewnt funds otherwise they would be rife for fraud.

As I understand it, Revolut choose not to allow “non present” transactions because of the increased risk of fraud. All I ask is that if we pre-authorise a transaction for say 10 minutes, can we then use our Revolut card?

I must say again, that it is a financial system thing, rather than a Revolut-specific thing.

Revolut has not decided to forbid offline transactions. It is the retailers who have.

Every single retail financial institution that issues pre-paid debit cards (From Revolut, to Monese, to Tide, …) will have this limitation.

This limitation is not imposed by Revolut, but inherent in the financial system itself.

It has nothing to do with Revolut pre-authorising or ‘not trusting you’ or preventing offline transactions due to the increased risk of fraud.

It has to do with the providers themselves (The toll booths, the petrol pumps, the in-flight stores on aeroplanes, …) deciding to reject debit cards.

TfL (if I recall correctly.) uses an offline transactions system but they accept pre-paid debit cards. The onus on accepting pre-paid debit cards is on them, and they have decided to accept pre-paid debit cards. It is not the retail financial institutions who can force them to accept it.


The reason why ‘online’ (as in, connected to the payments network, and not ‘online’ as in e-commerce.) transactions are more ‘trusted’/secure than offline transactions is because the payments terminal directly connects to the payments network and can validate the validity of the debit card, and ensure that the card has enough money.

Certain retailers have decided to accept offline transactions, for reasons of cost-cutting (Might not have been feasible to install an ‘online’ link due to low foot traffic.) or remoteness (Bandwidth might’ve been expensive back then.).

Due to the pre-paid nature of debit cards, these debit cards are normally self-standing. Historically, there has been a light-touch regulatory approach where people can buy and load money on pre-paid debit cards without submitting too much information.

Therefore, unlike a ‘full’ debit card or a credit card, where a financial institution has your contact details and documents verifying your identity (as part of the KYC/IDV process.), users of pre-paid debit cards have historically been relatively anonymous.

The risk of fraud arises where someone does a transaction with an ‘offline’ terminal but it turns out that the card has an insufficient balance. Due to the payments terminal being offline, it will only connect to the payments network and verify at certain intervals.

If the pre-paid card has insufficient balance, they would be unable to follow up on the missing amount with the bank.


The limitations of a pre-paid debit card are clear, and it is an annoyance to a users who need to conduct transactions with offline terminals whilst holidaying.

2 solutions:

-1) Obtain a Mastercard Principal Membership Licence: As an issuer, Revolut will be able to issue full debit cards.

-2) Obtain a UK banking licence: As a fully-authorised UK bank (as opposed to an eMoney institution.), they’ll be able to issue their own debit cards.

Given how the UK banking licence appears to be at the exploratory stage, #1 appears to be the closest solution (in terms of time.).

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Thank you Capital for all that information.

If that is the case it explains it a lot more. Let’s hope something can be done.

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I just discovered this issue nearly getting myself stuck in France, many many petrol stations are completely unmanned. So if you don’t have a ‘normal’ card you are potentially stuck. I do appreciate the reasoning but if a solution could be found the card would go from virtually useless even dangerous to a necessary tool for French driving holiday makers.

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Exactly.
Just a simple control on the app to pre-authorise the card for the next 15 minutes would be fab. Proves we have the card in our possession.

An app verification would do absolutely nothing. I’m portuguese, and the problem of toll booths either attended or unattended not accepting certain cards is a known issue.

An offline terminal has absolutely no connectivity so it wouldn’t know of any toggle you do in an app or any directive Revolut has.

For this specific example the cards are authorized by type. The issue with Portuguese toll booth is that pretty much every card issued in Portugal is NOT purely a Visa or Mastercard. The cards are all dual network cards. They have the Multibanco network for national use and some international network, either Visa or MasterCard for international travel.

Since Multibanco has virtually a monopoly of POS terminals and ATMs and everyone uses it since it’s more advanced (a lot more features) and cheaper for banks and retailers (lower fees), support for Visa or MasterCard is iffy at best, Revolut or anything else.

I encounter the same problems with a Deutsche Bank card that is Visa Debit and doesn’t have Multibanco support, a rarity around here

The problem with this is that there is no connection between the app and the card. So if Revolut would want to offer “offline PIN support” and protect the accounts against credit fraud (spending more money than the account holds), a “pre-authorization” via app that blocks a certain amount for offline card spending sounds clever. And indeed, the chip of a card can keep record of limits and the last couple of payments. But this data on the chip is updated while a card is used at an online POS or ATM. Similar to how the system allows to change a PIN via app. But since there’s no way to update the data on the card itself, I don’t see how this could work.

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Hi there. Processing of credit or debit cards is a very complex topic as mentioned earlier in this thread.

First at all there is the issuer of the card. Regardless of Revolut is acual a principal member of Mastercard and Visacard or not lets assume Revolut is a principal member with an own EEA banking license.

In this case and under their contract with MC and Visa they could offer either debit and / or credit cards.

Secondly processesing a credit card transaction involves the

a) aquirer, a bank or financial institution that processes credit or debit card payments on behalf of a merchant.

b) processor, that handles transactions from various channels such as credit cards and debit cards for merchant acquiring banks.

Further more the merchant who operates an POS terminal has a specific contract with his aquirer in which every technical detail of processing credit cards is described. For example:

a) acceptance of Mastercard international credit and debit cards
b) acceptance of Visa international debit and credit cards
c) no AmEx acceptance at all
d) acceptance of US Discover Card only
e) acceptance of national issued Mastro and V-Pay cards
f) no Acceptance of any else issued Maestro and V-Pay Cards.

Secondly the merchant has an own floor-limit. Up to this floor-limit an offline transaction is allowed if the credit or debit cards provides offline processing and a unique floor-limit too.

Thirdly the POS terminal could handle credit or debit cards for example online only either via magstripe and / or CHIP or via CHIP only or via CHIP and magstripe both on- and offline.

So as you see it’s really a big thing. And nevertheless we didn’t talk so far about the manufacturer oft he EMV Chips. As you see here with Revolut and TFL the EMV Chip manufacturer is a potential error source for not succesful transactions as well.

Back to the main issue of this thread. Usually a debit card has to be processed online and has a floor limit of 0. So when one try to use this kind of card with an offline POS terminal one will get an message like “card not allowed”.

And as the name already shows: an offline POS terminal is not connected to the aquirer and processors and issuers network for online approval. So it’s absolut nonsense to implement a feature which „allows“ a revolut customer to process an offline transaction. – How should the terminal know it? An offline POS terminal has two sources of information only: The floor limit of the POS terminal up to which offline transaction are allowed under the rules of the POS terminal itself and the information of the credit card presented and in specific if the credit card allows offline transaction in general and the floor limit of the card itself. Only if both limits then matches an offline transaction could be processed succesfully.

The only way Revolut could allow offline transaction IMHO is to issue either credit or debit cards with an 101 servicecode and the capabillity for offline transactions and a specific floor limit of for example 100.

But as you can see by doing so Revolut has to handle a huge financial risk.

Either they will launch credit checks in future or users asking for offline credit cards or users will have to deposit a specific amount to reduce Revolut risk.

I think there are confusions. At least, I’m confused about this post.
I’m french and I was two days ago at an online automated gas station. I’ve never been to an offline one, in France. I say it’s online because as the transaction is denied, after I entered my pin code, Revolut app shows me a message instantly for the declined transaction saying :
Sorry, automated fuel dispensers are not supported. What the heck ?!?! I had enough on my card, I tried a few times and it just kept on not working, and showing the message in the app for the declined transactions.

So : doesn’t Revolut allow transactions for gas stations which are online and working with N26 for example ?
All the fuss about the risk etc is non applicable here, it’s just silly that those automated gas stations which are online, and seem to work just like any other terminal at any shop or else, which take the full limited price for the max number of liters you can take, and then reimburse the difference between the actual gas taken and the full amount.

@anon33247966 do you have insight into the situation ?

By the way, for problems with gas stations, I think this post is more relevant : Pay at Pump

Hi there. Did you try to pay inside the station?

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No, but why is it not supported when the automated gas station is online ?!

It looks like the station was offline. Your card would work if you pay inside.

Well, if it was offline how could my Revolut app instantly be informed there was a failed transaction ? :nerd_face:
The offline reason doesn’t work I think, and I still don’t get why Revolut doesn’t allow us to pay at automated online gas stations ! It’s really too bad…

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As far as I know, there are some pre-paid cards you get more or less anonymously. I think it’s also possible to buy a card that is pre-loaded with something like 100$ and you only need a valid address for this.

Thus, I think the following is going on: Offline transactions are rejected because tracing the card owner may not be possible or awfully complicated if the card has insufficient funds.

However, the Revolut card actually is connected to a customer who has been verified. So, if Revolut were to offer debit cards that are NOT pre-paid (like N26, at least their card has no ‘prepaid’ written on them), this problem would vanish…

Revolut doesn’t support the Merchant Code of Automated fuel dispensers, like at all.
That is why it tells you in the app.
It doesn’t seem to be depended on online or offline in that case.

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