Have you reviewed your finances and feel you could manage your money better? For example, maybe you've split your banking across different online platforms depending on the use case, such as day-to-day transactions, savings, or investments? And now perhaps you're looking for a comprehensive solution?
With that in mind, today, we’re focusing on one digital banking option: Monese. It’s a digital banking platform as well as a money transfer service. In this Monese bank review, we’ll provide the low down on who Monese is, its pros and cons, its prices, what you get for your money, its functionality, and try to answer any questions you may have too.
That’s lots to cover, so let’s get going.
Monese Review: A Brief Overview
Launched in 2015 and founded by Norris Koppel, Monese functions somewhat like a challenger bank. It's a British company that's predominantly a mobile-only banking solution. Interestingly, the first UK mobile app alternative to traditional banks. Fast forward to today, and it now has over two million customers across 31 countries, with 70% of its deposits coming from salaries.
Customers can choose to open a personal or business account. Still, business accounts are only available in GBP and to UK companies registered at UK Companies House.
However, for the purposes of this review, we’ll look predominantly at Monese's personal banking options. But we'll touch briefly on its business banking account too.
There are two kinds of personal accounts, either what Monese refers to as an Instant Account or a Joint Account. There’s also a savings option on these accounts called Pots, where you can put money aside to save for a particular goal. These Monese accounts can be in GBP, EUR, or RON (Romanian New Leu).
On top of that, if you want to transfer money overseas, Monese also provides this service.
Monese Review: Pros and Cons
First, let's start with Monese's advantages:
- It’s easy to set up your account.
- The app is intuitive (iOS and Android)
- You can open a UK account without proof of residency or a credit check.
- Premium account holders enjoy benefits such as £50 per day for 30 days if you’re in the hospital.
- You get a Monese debit card with free delivery (that enables contactless payments)
- You get access to virtual payment options, including Google Pay / Apple Pay and a virtual bank card.
- Monese offers customer support in 14 languages.
- Monese doesn’t have a banking license, so there’s no deposit guarantee.
- With the Starter account, you're charged £1.50 per withdrawal. With the Classic account, you can withdraw up to £500 per month for free, extending to £1,500 a month with the Premium account.
- Customer support can be (reportedly) slow.
Monese Review: Monese Fees and Products
Now you have a quick overview of Monese's pros and cons, let’s dive into its prices and what you get with each type of account:
As we've already hinted, there are three levels of Personal accounts (these act somewhat like current accounts).
- Starter: £0 a month
- Classic: £5.95 monthly fee
- Premium: £14.95 a month
But if you pay upfront for a year, you'll benefit from a 30% discount on these prices.
Let's take a look at each account in turn:
Here you get:
- A free, instant account in GBP, Euros, or RON
- Free bank transfers to other Monese accountholders
- You can send and receive money for free in your currency.
- It's free to set up direct debits and recurring payments.
- You're charged a 2.5% fee on international transfers and an added 1% at weekends.
- Should you wish to take out a loan, Monese can connect you with the best loan provider for your situation.
- For an extra £7.95 a month, you get access to Monese's ‘credit builder,' features that enable you to build your credit history and improve your credit rating.
- A standard debit card with free delivery (there's a £9.90 fee to replace a lost or stolen card)
- 2% if you use your Monese card abroad
- You can make purchases using Google Pay and Apple Pay.
- A virtual Debit card
- ATM cash withdrawals, with a £1.50 transaction fee
- Avios and PayPal integrations
- A free joint personal account with another Monese user, with a debit card each
- Money pots where spare change on transactions is automatically rounded up to help you save
- Access to interest-bearing savings accounts with Raisin bank's savings products
- You can access your Monese account via the mobile app or desktop.
- Access to multilingual customer support in 14 languages
This account gives you all the above features, with some differences:
- International money transfer fees start at 0.5%
- You can claim up to £1,200 in accident, sickness, or involuntary unemployment protection insurance
- You'll receive £30 per day for hospital stays of up to 30 days
- Purchase protection covers up to £1,000 per claim and £2,500 per year on purchases made in the last 90 days
- A holographic-edged debit card with free delivery (a replacement card costs £4.95)
- It's free to use your Monese card overseas
- You can withdraw up to £500 a month for free
This account offers all the above features and:
- Free international money transfers
- Up to £1,800 in accident, sickness, or involuntary unemployment protection insurance
- You'll receive £50 per day for hospital stays of up to 30 days
- Purchase protection covers up to £4,000 per claim, and £10,000 per year on purchases made in the last 180 days
- A free premium card
- A free replacement card
- You can withdraw up to £1,500 a month for free
- Priority customer support
Other Monese Features
We’ve briefly touched upon Monese Pots, so let’s dig a little deeper into that – and one or two other Monese features:
Pots and Other Savings Features
Personal and business account holders can put money aside across ten separate Monese money pots. For example, imagine you want to save for a holiday or a specific item; you can:
- Put money whenever you like into your Pot
- Set up recurring payments
- Round up transactions so Monese will send the difference to your pots.
In addition, Monese has partnered with Raisin, one of Europe’s most successful fintech companies. Raisin connects you with a choice of banks that offer deposit-protected savings accounts with competitive interest rates.
However, where other money-making options are concerned, your choices are somewhat limited. For example, you can’t use Monese to deal in cryptocurrencies or any gambling scenario.
Invite and Earn
You can refer up to 15 friends to Monese, and if they open an account, you can earn £30 per friend (up to £450). You receive the first £20 when your friend orders their card and the remaining £10 once they spend £500 in card transactions or transfer that amount outside the EEA (European economic area) or EU.
You can transfer money via your mobile using the UK Faster Payments Network with no fees. You can also set up direct debits and recurring payments via the mobile app. Monese will tell you if you don’t have enough money to cover these expenses.
Monese will ping you a notification when your payments go through. This includes international transactions.
Typically the fees for international money transfers are lower than traditional banks.
Monese partners with PayPal and Avios (a frequent flier reward points scheme). In the former case, you can link your Monese account with your PayPal account to track your transactions and balance within the Monese app. So, you can see your PayPal balance in your Monese account in any of its three currencies. You can also add Monese to your PayPal wallet and make Monese your chosen payment option within PayPal.
As for Avios, you can link your Avios points account with Monese to track your points within the Monese app. Or, you can connect your British Airways Executive or Vueling Club account to view your Avios points in the Monese app.
At the time of writing, new Monese business accounts are on hold while the company works “on some changes in the background, which means we can’t onboard new business customers right now.”
However, you can still sign up by downloading the app, and Monese will notify you when things are back up and running.
You can have a Monese business account with a UK-registered business and UK ID. In fact, if you already have a Personal account with Monese, you can manage both that and your Monese business account via the Monese app.
The Monese business account costs £9.95 a month, and for that, you'll receive:
- A free Monese Classic personal account – or for an extra £9.95 a month, you can upgrade to a Premium Personal Account.
- A free contactless Monese Mastercard, plus a free first-time replacement card. After that, a replacement card will set you back £4.95
- A 0.5% charge per foreign transaction spend
- Free and instant foreign currency transfers between Monese accounts
- Six free ATM withdrawals a month and £1 per withdrawal after that
- Cash top-ups at Post Office and PayPoint locations costing £1 for each Post Office transaction and 2.5% per PayPoint transaction, with a minimum £1 fee
Plus, features that are similar/same as the Monese personal accounts, namely:
- Multilingual customer support
- Up to ten Monese pots so you can put money aside for your business
- Using the Faster Payments network, you can send and receive money for free from the other UK accounts.
- Secure account authentication features such as Face ID and fingerprint ID.
- You can set up direct debits and recurring payments for free.
Monese Review: FAQs
This Monese bank review wouldn't be complete without the answers to a few frequently asked questions:
How Long Does Monese Take to Verify An Account?
First, you download the app. There’s no proof of address check, no credit check, and no documents needed to sign up. You can be up and running within a matter of minutes. You don’t need an appointment, no phone call, and there's no minimum deposit.
But, although you don’t need to provide documents with proof of address (just a photo of government-issued ID documents like a passport or ID card) and a short video of yourself, you'll still need to verify your UK address so Monese can send you your physical card. You can do this by giving Monese access to your geolocation while using the Monese app.
Is Monese Safe?
Monese is secured using biometric login and authentication protocols such as 3D secure. You can log in to your Monese app using Face ID, Touch ID, or a fingerprint scanner. Monese also has strong multi-factor encryption to keep your money and transactions safe and secure.
Is Monese a Real Bank?
Although often referred to as a bank, technically, it’s not a bank. Unfortunately, this means your money isn't protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
However, if Monese becomes insolvent, your money is safeguarded under the UK Electronic Money Regulations 2011 or EU Electronic Money Directive. These are designed to protect money held in electronic accounts.
What is Monese's Address in London, UK?
Monese's UK registered office is 2 Tallis Street, London, EC4Y OAB, United Kingdom.
What is Monese's UK Contact Number?
It's +44 1706 304 001. You can also reach Monese via [email protected].
Monese Review: Are You Ready To Sign Up?
So, there you have it – that's our Monese review. Hopefully, you now have all the information you need to decide if Monese is for you or not. It’s ideal if you want an almost instant account set up via an easy-to-use mobile app.
However, where it falls flat is that there are very few options for businesses, i.e., if you’re not a UK-based company, it’s not for you, and while we like the simplicity of Monese's money Pots, it feels somewhat limited for serious savers.
The fee structure for Monese's personal accounts is clear. But, if you want to make the most out of your personal account, it’s probably better to go for one of the higher-priced ones.
Overall, Monese is a straightforward banking option that’s easy to use and accessible. Are you thinking of downloading Monese from the app store? Or are you considering an alternative online banking service like Revolut? Whatever you decide, tell us about it in the comments box below. Speak soon!