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If you’re looking for an easy online account to hold and manage your money, you may have heard of both Monese¹ and Wise².
Monese launched in 2015 in the UK, and is a mobile app alternative to a bank account.
Wise (originally Wise) has been around since 2011, and also offers online and in-app accounts, as well as low cost international payments which use the real mid-market exchange rate.
This full Monese vs Wise guide covers everything there is to know about both providers, to help you pick which is best for you.
We’ll move into a detailed look at Wise vs Monese on some key features next — first let’s get an overview.
First, the most important question — can you get an account with either Monese or Wise? The answer to this will depend on where you live — here’s what you need to know.
Monese is a UK based company, which currently offers accounts to residents in the UK and most European countries³.
You can’t open a Monese account if you’re a US resident — but if you’re a US citizen living in Europe, this may be a good match for your needs.
Wise is available in most countries around the world, excluding a short list of locations where you can’t open or use an account⁴.
You can open a Wise account if you’re a US resident — or indeed if you’re a US citizen living in most European countries.
Digital accounts, which are often offered primarily through a provider app, can come with much lower fees than using a traditional bank account.
However, the fees you’ll pay do vary quite widely between providers, which means it’s well worth comparing a few to see which might suit you best. Here’s a look at the key costs and fees involved with opening and operating an account: Wise vs Monese.
As we mentioned, Monese isn’t available in the US at the moment. To look at the costs of a Monese account we’ll take the fees in British pounds, and show both the GBP charge, and the approximate USD cost you need to know about.
The final fee you’ll pay in USD will vary based on the live exchange rate, so you’ll want to compare the costs yourself before you choose an account.
Monese fees may vary based on your location — check account terms and conditions for your region carefully.
|Open account||No fee|
|Account maintenance fees|
|Get a linked debit card||No fee|
|Foreign transaction fee for card spending|
|Add funds to your account in cash|
|Open account||No fee for personal accounts|
|Account maintenance fees||No fee|
|International transfers||From 0.41% currency exchange + low transfer fees based on destination and payment method|
|Get a linked debit card||9 USD|
|Foreign transaction fee for card spending|
|Add funds to your account in cash||Not available|
While Wise and Monese do both offer online and in-app multi-currency account services, they’re quite different, with each provider having its own focus and set of features.
Let’s move on in the Monese vs Transferwise debate and see how the features on offer from each match up.
|Local account details available||GBP, EUR and RON||USD, GBP, EUR, RON, PLN, AUD, NZD, SGD, HUF, TRY, CAD|
|Currencies available to hold and exchange||GBP, EUR and RON||50+ currencies, based on your location|
|Add funds methods||Cash, card or bank transfer⁶||Apple Pay, card or bank transfer|
|Debit card||Physical and virtual cards available||Physical and virtual cards available|
|International transfers||Available in 19 currencies||Available in 50+ currencies, based on your location|
|Recurring payments and direct debits||Available||Available|
|Earn interest||Access savings products through Monese hub||Not available|
|Complimentary insurance||Based on plan type||Not available|
|Multi-lingual support||Available — priority given to Premium account holders||Available|
No matter how you intend to use your account, you’ll want to know your money is safe. Here’s how both Wise and Monese protect customers and their money.
Monese is a UK based company, and is regulated by the FCA there⁷. Monese also offers services in partnership with an organization called PPS which is overseen by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB), to cover its EU operations.
In the US, Wise is registered with FinCEN and holds its own license to do business in most states⁸. In other states, Wise offers services through Community Federal Savings Bank. Wise is also regulated by authorities around the globe.
Both Monese and Wise offer a linked debit card — but which is better? Here’s what you should know.
Monese offers free debit cards to all account holders. The exact card you get depends on the account plan you pick:
- Standard plan: standard card
- Classic plan: holographic card
- Premium plan: premium card
There may be a fee to pay when you make withdrawals from an ATM, based on the account type you select:
- Starter account: 1.5 GBP fee per withdrawal (about 1.7 USD)
- Classic account: 500 GBP/month fee free (about 570 USD)
- Premium account: 1,500 GBP/month fee free (about 1,700 USD)
Foreign transaction fees for international card spending vary based on the plan you hold:
- Starter account: 2% fee
- Classic account: No fee
- Premium account: No fee
There’s a 9 USD one time fee to get a Wise debit card.
You can use your card in 174 countries — if you’re based in the US, you’ll also be able to make international cash withdrawals, subject to the following fees:
- 2 withdrawals, up to 100 USD/month free
- 1.5 USD + 2% after that
There’s no foreign transaction fee to pay when you use your Wise card to spend currencies you hold in your account.
If you need to switch between currencies within the Wise account you can do that from 0.41% — or you can just leave the card’s auto convert feature to do it for you, with the lowest possible fee every time¹⁰.
|Sending/Receiving||Depending on where you are, you can send in 19 currencies|
Receive payments with local bank details for up to 10 major currencies
Send in 50+ currencies
|Receiving||3 currencies (GBP, EUR, RON)||11 currencies (USD, GBP, EUR, RON, PLN, AUD, NZD, SGD, HUF, TRY, CAD)|
Accounts are offered in GBP, EUR and RON
Which currencies are available depends on where you live
|Hold 50+ currencies|
Hopefully nothing will go wrong with your account — and both Monese and Wise offer an easy self service experience through their apps, which makes it simple to manage your money on the go. However, it’s also good to know how to get help if you ever need it.
Monese has multi-lingual support for customers, with priority support on offer for Premium account holders. Get help with in-app chat or by sending an email⁹.
The easiest way to get account support is to log in online or in the app, where you’ll find your full range of contact and support options. You may want to start an in-app chat for example, or send an email, depending on the specific issue. Support is offered in 15 languages.
We’re drawing to the end of our Wise vs Monese showdown — so which wins for you? If you’re still not sure, check out this summary of key pros and cons to help you decide.
Whether Monese or Wise is best for you might come down to where in the world you are, and how you expect to use your account. Both providers offer convenient, safe and easy ways to manage your money on the go, with handy apps and linked debit card options.
Monese isn’t available if you’re in the US — but can be a good bet if you’re in Europe and need an account with low or no monthly fees to hold GBP or EUR, and access some extra banking and insurance services. If you’re US based, or if you travel more widely, Wise may suit you better, with a more flexible account that covers 50+ currencies and can be opened from most countries around the world.
- Monese - Available countries
- Wise - Supported countries
- Monese - Pricing
- Monese - Add money
- Monese - Regulation
- Wise - Regulation
- Monese - Contact
Sources checked on 09.25.2022
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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