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 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:
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.
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.
A bank account on your phone, making sending money, managing your account, and keeping your money safe — easy and available at your fingertips.
A mobile current account for UK-registered businesses.
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.
Monese offers 3 personal account plans, which have the same features but differ in fees and amount limits.
Personal Account Features:
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.
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.
Business Account Features:
The app has all the available banking features you may need, divided into different tabs:
There are also lots of other handy features in the app, such as:
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.
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 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.
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.