Monese Review 95

Monese Mastercard
Card cost
Free withdrawals up to £/€200
Open Account
5 Min

Company Information

Monese was one of the first UK mobile (app-only ) banking services and has provided basic banking on smartphones since 2015. Monese founder Norris Koppel decided to create this service after personally facing the inability to open a bank account in The UK due to having no local credit history or utility bills in The UK, where he moved to from Estonia.

Monese offers a unique opportunity to instantly open a current account in Europe and The UK and experience fast and simple personal finance, no matter if they have a local address, credit history or fixed income. Monese is completely digital, allowing anyone in the European Economic Area to access and manage their money via the Monese mobile app. Moreover, all Monese accounts are portable across 20 European countries and if you relocate to another location your Monese account follows.

To this day, Monese has over 1 million users, and the company claims that about 3,000 people join the online bank every single day. The company was also awarded Best Challenger Bank at the European Fintech Awards. A prepaid, contactless Monese debit card is provided by Mastercard, thus accepted in over 200 countries around the world and can be used for both domestic and foreign transactions.

Monese Key Features

  • No proof of local address required.
  • App and service available in 12 languages.
  • UK domestic transfers: Monese Faster Payments Service typically takes around 2-4 hours for transfer completion and collection.
  • International transfers: Transfer money to over 25 countries in 15 currencies with no transaction fee and “interbank rate”.
  • Bills and recurring payments: Set up a direct debit for bills, utilities, and other routine payments and it will be automatically charged from your account at a set time.
  • Designated savings sub-account- Monese Pots.
  • Pay Your Contacts: Payments to friends and family from your phone’s contact list.
  • Portable across all of Europe: You move and your bank account moves with you.
  • UK extra features:
    • UK business account
    • Fast direct debits
    • Apply Pay, Google Pay & PayPal
    • Link between your Monese account and Avois- check your Avios balance, shop at selected retailers and collect Avios

How Monese works

Monese is a financial service providing anyone with instant UK current accounts via a mobile app, regardless of their address and credit history, as long as they are legal residents in Europe. Along with a Monese account comes a prepaid Mastercard debit card for worldwide payments.

There are a couple of options to top up the card:

  • Europe/UK: Via bank transfer
  • UK: Cash through Post office or PayPoint

Monese works like a traditional banking system, except faster, simpler, and more effective. Monese’s banking solution works only via mobile app, there are no branches at all.

Does Monese Fit You

Monese perfectly fits for so-called “digital nomads” and other location-independent global citizens: expatriates, foreign students, freelancers or project workers, who are constantly on the go and need to open a UK bank account without necessarily living there. The Monese account’s main purpose is to be used as a main current banking account. It offers most of the services of a classic bank you need, with the added benefit of being completely digital and manageable through your phone.

1)Personal users

A bank account on your phone, making sending money, managing your account, and keeping your money safe  — easy and available at your fingertips.

Features:

  • Open a UK current account within minutes from any place
  • Request and send money instantly in a few clicks
  • Transfer money abroad  to over 25 countries in 8 currencies with the interbank exchange rate
  • Recurring payments and direct debit
  • Spendings statistics, targets and saving plans
  • Real-time notifications

2)Business users

A mobile current account for UK-registered businesses.

Features:

  • Open in minutes, fully operational within hours
  • Fee-free domestic payments
  • Low-cost international transfers
  • Dedicated contactless business cards
  • Cash deposits
  • Account available in 10 languages*
    *English, French, German, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Polish and Czech

Onboarding

There are no Monese branches, so the account registration, authorization and funding are all remote and instant and made from within the mobile app in the eKYC standard.

All you need to do is download the app and follow instructions to open and verify your account.

You don’t need any proof of address as any classic bank requires — the verification procedure is easy and painless: you’ll need to take a portrait picture of yourself just on your smartphone camera, and take a photo of a government-issued legal ID. The app’s built-in algorithm will do the quick identity check, and once your application is confirmed,  you will get your account number and sort code.

How Much Does It Cost to Use Monese 

Monese offers 3 personal account plans, which have the same features but differ in fees and amount limits.

  1. “Simple” account subscription is free and comes with a fixed 2% currency transfer service fee (free transfers to other Monese accounts)
  2. “Classic” account costs £/€4.95 a month and only charges 0.5% currency transfer fee (free transfers to other Monese accounts)
  3. “Premium” account is £/€14.95 per month, with no fees on currency transfer.

Personal Account Features:

  • Dual currency account (GBP and/or EUR) (account number and sort code provided)
  • Quick and low cost domestic and international transfers
  • Instant transfers between Monese app users
  • Direct Debits and recurring auto payments
  • Monese debit card plus Google Pay and Apple Pay support
  • Exportable banking and payment statements
  • High-end in-app security and FCA institutional regulation
  • Customer support in 12 languages via phone, email or chat

 

monese pricing

Monese provides a currency transfer service that lets you send money internationally with no hidden transaction fees. They estimate that customers could save an average of 88% by using Monese to send money abroad. Money transfers between Monese accounts are free for all account types. All accounts include a free contactless debit card.

The “Simple” account is free, offering up to £/€200 in free ATM withdrawals and cash top-ups per month (there is a 2% fee after £/€200). Spend up to £/€2,000 in foreign currencies without a fee (2% fee after £/€2,000). Foreign currency transfers incur a 2% fee with the Simple account.

The “Classic” costs £/€4.95/month, offering up to £/€800 in free ATM withdrawals and cash top-ups per month (there is a 2% fee after £/€800). Spend up to £/€8,000 in foreign currencies without a fee (2% fee after £/€8,000). Foreign currency transfers incur a 0.5% fee with the Classic account.

The “Premium” costs £/€14.95/month, offering free ATM withdrawals and cash top-ups, no-fee foreign currency spending and free foreign currency transfers.

Post Office top-ups are being charged with a 2% fee, and have a minimum of £/€5 and a maximum of £/€500 per day deposit limits.
PayPoint top-ups will cost you another 3.5% on top of the deposited amount and have a limit of two deposits a day, £/€249 maximum each.

Another set of limits is ATM withdrawals maxed at £300 / €350 per day, as well as £/€4000 per transaction and £/€7,000 per day card payments limitation.

The Monese maximum balance per account is £40,000 or €50,000.

Business Account:

Monese offers one business plan:

Monese Business (£9.95/month), offers users a combined UK business account and a “Plus” personal account within the Monese app. Each account can be managed separately within the app and you will be sent a dedicated debit card for each account.

Monese business

Business Account Features:

  • Quick approval process – get a live account with full access within hours
  • Free local payments and transfers
  • Low-priced international transfers
  • Contactless debit card
  • Cash deposits
  • Access your business account in 10 languages

App & UX

The app has all the available banking features you may need, divided into different tabs:

  • Debit card: Lets you order and control debit card. You can activate and freeze card from this menu.
  • Support: Instant in-app messenger or email to reach the customer support, as well as an FAQ section.
  • My plan: From this menu tab you can check all the benefits and limits of your current account plan and upgrade to a higher tier if needed.
  • Direct debits: Lists all your current settings for direct charges and auto payments.
  • Add Eurozone account: You can add a Eurozone account to your UK account free of charge and switch between them any time.
  • Invite and earn: Monese offers an affiliate program like those of Uber or Airbnb: for inviting someone to join an app, both you and your invitee will get a £10 bonus once they register and top-up their account.
  • Apple Pay and Google Pay for secure contactless payments without the card.

There are also lots of other handy features in the app, such as:

  • Fast bank transfers to domestic or international accounts
  • “Instabalance”, for real-time account balance updates
  • Balance graph to track and manage spending habits
  • Overdraft protection to prevent overspending

Transfer Speed

The transfer delivery time depends on the processing times of the receiving bank. Depending on the currency you’re sending and the timezone, an international transfer can take anything between 2 and 4 business days. For SEPA payment within Europe, the transfers are usually received within the same or next working day.

How safe and secure Monese is

Monese is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK under the Electronic Money Regulations, which means that Monese current accounts funds are held and secured in established European banks and are not involved in reinvesting.

Monese follows modern security standards and applies high-tech protection against unauthorised access. For example, access to accounts are limited by single mobile device and use secure, multi-factor authentication to verify identities. The app access is also secured by built-in biometric unlock, such as face and fingerprint recognition, and backend encryption

Monese Customer Support

Monese customer support is available via an Instant in-app messenger or email to reach the customer support, as well as FAQ knowledge base within the App and on the website. Monese customer support is highly rated by the customers and supports 10 different languages.

Bottom Line

Monese is the ultimate option for travelers, foreigners and relocated individuals and works well in order to set up an account quickly and easily, even without proof of address and credit history. However, this simplified process comes at its price: there are amount limits on pretty much any operation, and the fees and charges are not the cheapest, except with the Premium plan.

For the UK residents who need a mobile bank account for convenience and not for traveling or cross-border transfers, Monese is a solid option with a handy, easy to use app and overall positive user experience.

Pros

  • You can manage both business and/or personal finances in one place
  • In-app advanced budget features
  • Competitive exchange rates for international transfers
  • App available in 10 languages
  • Monese offers UK banking services and accounts, even without a UK address
  • You can transfer money from the UK to over 25 other countries

Cons

  • You can only send currencies that match the destination country (eg. you can’t send USD to Europe)
  • Paywalls for certain privileges, extra benefits cost £4.95 per month