Monese review: Fees, features and more

Zorica Lončar

If you’re a fan of digital and mobile banking, Monese could be a good option for you. This UK-based mobile money provider is particularly useful for expats, students and travellers, and those that like to manage their money on the move.

But how does Monese stack up against other money transfer providers, and what are the fees like?

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using Monese, from features to price plans. Plus, the alternative options that could potentially save you money.

Let’s start with a little background.

What is Monese?¹

Headquartered in London, Monese is a financial services company which has provided smartphone banking solutions since 2015.

It offers digital-only current accounts, all managed through a smartphone app. You can open an account whether or not you have a good credit history, regular income or even a UK address.

When you sign up for an account with Monese, you’ll get many of the same services you’d get with a traditional bank account. For example, you can spend using a linked debit card, make payments and set up direct debits.

But unlike using a bank, Monese aims to make it easy, streamlined and simple to manage your money on the move. There are no physical branches, but the app should give you everything you need to manage everyday payments.

Who can use Monese?

It’s quick and easy to open a new account with Monese. The only requirement is that you should be a resident of an EEA country. To get started, you’ll simply need to download the app and provide:²

  • Your email address
  • Your phone number
  • A passport or other accepted form of ID – the app may prompt you to record a short video of yourself with your ID.

There’s no credit check or proof of address needed.

At present, Monese is available in 31 countries across Europe³. You can open an account in the UK, then another in Europe if you’re travelling or decide to move to another EEA country. Then, you can simply switch between accounts in the app when you need to.⁴

Monese features⁵

Monese may be super simple to get to grips with, but it also offers an impressive list of features. Let’s take a look at some of the best bits about banking with Monese:

Contactless debit card

When you open an instant account with Monese, you can also order a contactless Mastercard debit card. You can use this for one-tap spending here in the UK, as well as abroad. Your card is also handy for online transactions and for ATM withdrawals anywhere in the world.

There are no hidden fees and depending on the Monese price plan you choose, some card payments and ATM withdrawals are free up to a certain limit.

Real-time spending notifications

If you want to keep on top of your spending, you can activate notifications through the Monese app. These help you keep up with incoming and outgoing payments as they happen.

Money transfers through Faster Payments

Like many UK banks, Monese uses the Faster Payments system for transfers within the UK. This means you can send and receive money almost instantly, with no fees to pay. You can easily move money between your Monese accounts, request money or pay nearby Monese-using friends near you.

Monese also offers the option to send money internationally, which we’ll cover later in this guide.

On-the-spot top-up

There are lots of ways to top-up your Monese account, all available with just a few taps in the app. You can add funds with another debit card or bank account, or send money over from another Monese account.

Money management and budgeting tools

One of the bonus features you get with a Monese instant account is a handy budgeting tool. See your spending overview, plus weekly and monthly budgeting goals, in a series of colourful, fun graphs. It’s easy to see what you’ve spent and where you’re up to.

Customer service in 14 languages

If you need help using the app or managing your account, Monese has multilingual support staff on hand to help. The app and accompanying customer service is currently available in - English, German, French, Spanish, Brazilian and European Portuguese, Italian, Turkish, Polish, Czech, Estonian, Lithuanian Romanian and Bulgarian.

Integration with PayPal and Avios

If you’d like all of your money and accounts in one place, you can link your Monese instant account with both Avios and PayPal. This means all your transactions, total balance, activity and points in one place.

Apple Pay and Google Pay⁶

You can use Monese with both Apple Pay and Google Pay, making it the ultimate mobile wallet.

Monese fees and plans⁷

One of the attractive things about Monese is that it has a free plan available. But bear in mind that there are limitations with the free plan, so you could be charged for certain transactions.

Monese pricing is also flexible, which means that you’re not tied into a particular plan. If it doesn’t work for you, you can simply switch to a different plan.

Here are your options:

Simple plan - £0 monthly fee

There’s no fee to pay with this plan – you simply need to open a Monese instant account and you can start sending and receiving money for free. But there are limits on ATM withdrawals, overseas card payments and money transfers. These include:

  • Free overseas card payments up to £2,000 a month – 2% fee above this limit
  • Free ATM withdrawals up to £200 a month – 2% above this limit
  • Free foreign currency transfers between Monese accounts only – 2% fee for all other international transfers.

You’ll also get a free contactless debit card with your account, but will have to shell out a £4.95 delivery fee.

Classic plan - £5.95 monthly fee

For just under a fiver a month, you’ll get increased spending and withdrawal limits across all categories:

  • Free overseas card payments up to £9,000 a month – 2% fee above this limit
  • Free ATM withdrawals up to £900 a month – 2% above this limit
  • Free foreign currency transfers between Monese accounts only – 0.5% fee for all other international transfers.

If you go for a Classic instant account with Monese, you’ll get a free debit card and won’t have to pay the delivery charge.

Premium plan - £14.95 monthly fee

With the most expensive Monese plan available, you’ll get unlimited ATM withdrawals, overseas card payments and foreign currency transfers with a Premium account.

Also included is a free debit Mastercard with no delivery charge applied.

Business plan - £9.95⁸

As well as its personal accounts, Monese also offers a dedicated plan for owners of UK-registered businesses. For a flat fee of £9.95 a month, you’ll get all the features of the Classic plan for personal customers. Plus, additional services just for businesses:

  • Create business invoices
  • Linked Contactless business debit Mastercard
  • Top-up with cash at a Post Office or PayPoint branch.

You can manage both personal and business accounts from the same app, switching between them when you need to.

Are there any limits?

The plan you choose will determine how much you can withdraw and spend abroad using your Monese account. But there are a few other limits to know about. For example:

  • The maximum you can have in your Monese account is £40,000
  • The maximum you can withdraw from an ATM is £300 per day, regardless of which plan you have.⁹
  • The maximum you can top up your account with each day is £500 per day via the Post Office or PayPoint.¹⁰

International transfers with Monese¹¹

One of the main draws of Monese is that it offers international transfers with no hidden fees. From the app, you can send money worldwide in 19 currencies. Monese promises competitive exchange rates and no hidden fees, although there are still some fees to pay depending what plan you’re on.

How safe is Monese?

Although it isn’t officially a bank, Monese is registered with and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This gives your money protection, although it won’t be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme that most banks use.¹²

But in terms of app security, Monese is right on it. Your account is protected by biometric login, which automatically signs you out after a certain period of inactivity. Additional protections include authentication protocols such as 3D secure, and user ID verification processes during sign up.¹³

Is there a better alternative?

Monese is a decent option for sending money internationally, but it’s not always the cheapest. If you’re on a Simple or Classic plan, you’ll pay flat fees of 2% on every overseas transaction¹⁴, which can make it quite pricey – especially for larger transfers.

If you regularly send money overseas, Wise could be a cheaper alternative. Open a free multi-currency account and you can send money worldwide for tiny, transparent fees and the real exchange rate.
To see how Wise stacks up against Monese, let’s use the example of sending £1,000 in GBP to a friend in France. Send it with Wise and your recipient will receive €1,121.78. The fee is just £3.75 and the real, mid-market exchange rate is used as always.¹⁵

Send the same £1,000 using the free Simple plan with Monese, and your friend in France will only receive €1103.19. While your plan is free, you’ll pay a £20 fee to send money overseas.¹⁶

But what if you have a Premium plan? Your friend will receive a healthy €1125.68, but you’ll still be paying account fees of £14.95 a month for the privilege.¹⁶ When you tot it up, it means your transfer is more expensive overall.

There are no monthly fees to pay with Wise, and you can also get a debit card for contactless spending and ATM withdrawals worldwide.

From the one account, which can be managed on the move using the handy Wise app, you can manage 55+ currencies at once. Convert your money in seconds for a low fee and as always, the real, mid-market exchange rate.

So far, so good. But there’s more. One thing that Wise offers that many others don’t is the option to access your own local bank account details.

When you open an account, you’ll get local bank details to use to get paid in the local currency in different countries. This means you can swerve currency conversion fees altogether.

Join Wise for free

So, that’s pretty much it – everything you need to know about Monese, from account features to price plans, fees and limits.

We’ve also looked at international transfers, which are certainly better value than banks with Monese but not necessarily the cheapest you can get. If you rely on international payments to run your business or to send home, a solution like Wise could save you money.

Sources used:

  1. Finder - Monese review

  2. Monese - how can I open Monese account

  3. Monese - instant account

  4. Finder - Monese review

  5. Monese - features

  6. Monese - features

  7. Monese - pricing

  8. Monese - business

  9. Finder - Monese review

  10. Finder - top up limits

  11. Monese - instant account

  12. Finder - Monese review

  13. Monese - instant account

  14. Monese - pricing

  15. Wise

  16. Monese - money transfers

Sources checked on 25-January 2021.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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