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Monese Review 2019

Jul 2019 4.1 4 stars ·

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What is Monese?

Monese logo

Monese is a digital bank started in 2013, making it one of the more established digital banks. It was founded in the UK and offered the first 100% mobile current account in the country. It now also offers the possibility to open a EUR account and is continuously expanding its range of services.

If you live in the UK or the Eurozone, wish to have easy access to a current account in these currencies while also saving money when you travel then Monese is a good option for you. It is also great if you want a quick and easy way to set up a UK account without needing utility bills, proof of address or a UK credit history.

Monese review - bank card

Monese Review 2019
Monese pros and cons

Pros

  • Quick, simple setup and smooth app, excellent user experience

  • Enjoy benefits of UK bank account without proof of residence or credit history

  • Premium subscription options with extra privileges

Cons

  • Doesn't have a banking license (no deposit guarantee)

  • Monthly limits on ATM withdrawals, top-ups, spending

  • Poor customer support (if the chatbot can't answer your question, personal support is very slow)

Monese Review 2019
Monese fees

Account opening and maintenance fee

At Monese, account opening is free and maintaining your account is also free, with no monthly cost.

Card fees

Getting a Monese bank card, including delivery, is also free.

ATM fees

Withdrawing money from any ATM worldwide is free in the currency of your Monese account, within the allowance contained in your plan, which is €200/£200 per month in the basic Simple plan. Above this allowance, there is a 2% fee on ATM withdrawals.

Transfer fee

Transferring money in the same currency as your Monese account, as well as global transfers to accounts in other currencies is free.

Currency exchange fee

Monese charges a currency exchange fee for international transfers. This starts at 2% of the transaction value, with a minimum charge of €2/£2. The exact fee is shown before payment is confirmed in the app. For real-time transfers between Monese accounts, there is no currency exchange fee.

Top-up fee

Monese does not charge a fee when you top up your account using another bank card, within the monthly allowance. However, there is a 2% charge once this limit is exceeded.

Monese Review 2019
Monese vs. N26

  Monese

N26

Multicurrency account

Yes

No

ATM withdrawal fees (standard account)

€200/£200 /month free

2% after

Free in own currency*
1.7% in other currency

*depends on card type and residency

International transfer fee Free €0.5-3.0

International transfer exchange fee

2%+, minimum €2/£2 

0.35-2.00%

Compare other digital banks

Monese Review 2019
Monese account opening

Opening an account at Monese is quick and simple: it takes only a couple of minutes via your phone and receiving your physical card also takes only a few days.

Monese countries

Monese is available for residents of the 31 countries of the European Economic Area, which are AT, BE, BG, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HR, HU, IE, IS, IT, LI, LT, LU, LV, MT, NL, NO, PL, PT, RO, SE, SI, SK.

Monese currencies

Monese is available in two currencies, EUR and GBP.

Currencies in the app

Within the app you can hold money in EUR and/or GBP.

Top-up currencies

At Monese, you can top up only in the currency of your account, either EUR or GBP.

Security

As Monese is not a bank but an e-money firm, it is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which guarantees customer deposits up to £85,000. However, it is a registered agent of PrePay Technologies Limited (PPS UK), an electronic money institution authorised by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority. Unlike a bank Monese does not reinvest customer funds, which are kept safe in a segregated account that Monese can't touch. Thus Monese says 100% of customer funds are protected, even if it should go out of business.

As of October 1, 2019, a new regulated entity in Belgium called PPS EU SA will be created to handle all Eurozone accounts. These accounts will be regulated by the National Bank of Belgium and PPS EU will safeguard all funds in EU bank accounts.

Maximum balance

At Monese, there is also a maximum account balance, which is £40,000 for the UK account in every plan and €10,000 for the Eurozone account in the basic plan. In the Premium plans, the maximum balance for Eurozone accounts is €50,000 (except for France, where it remains €10,000).

Monese cards overview

Monese cards are available from Mastercard. 

Monese Premium account benefits

Monese comes with two premium tiers. The first is called Classic and it costs €4.95/£4.95 per month - the main benefit here is a higher monthly allowance for ATM withdrawals, cash top-ups and foreign currency card spending, and a lower fee for foreign currency transfers.

The higher tier, called Premium, costs €14.95/£14.95. The additional benefit here is that ATM withdrawals, cash top-ups, foreign currency card spending, and foreign currency transfers are all free and unlimited.

In both tiers, you pay just a single monthly fee, for which you can hold both GBP and EUR accounts simultaneously.

Monese top-up methods

At Monese, you can use the following top-up methods:

  • Debit card

  • Bank transfer

  • Cash (only for UK account, at Post Office and PayPoint locations)

  • Sofort service (for EUR accounts)

Monese Review 2019
Monese banking features

Monese offers a range of features similar to your high street bank:

  • You can send money to other Monese users instantly and for free. You can also send a money request to another user.

  • Your spending is categorized by the type of transaction (e.g. shopping, restaurants).

  • You can set aside savings to be stored separately (in Pots) for easier overview and management.

  • You can set monthly budgets.

  • You can set up or cancel direct debits quick and easy (UK account only, available for EUR account from Oct 2019).

  • You can set up Apple Pay or Google Pay.

  • You can also link your Monese account with other services, such as PayPal and Avios.

  • 3D Secure online payments are supported.

In other aspects, however, it lacks some features that are common for its competitors:

  • You cannot earn interest after your savings.

  • Overdrafts are not possible.

  • Smart savings are also not available, for example you cannot round up the amounts you actually spend and store the difference as savings.

  • Joint accounts are not available.

Monese Review 2019
Monese additional features

You can use Monese through your mobile app and it is also available on a desktop computer as a website for information and contact purposes. However, Monese doesn't currently offer any additional features such as loans, insurance, or investments.

Monese Review 2019
Monese customer service

You can contact Monese via:

  • Chat: We connected with a chatbot, which could not help with our issue, and response time for a personalized reply was between 8 hours and several days.

  • Phone: It took us 20 minutes to connect, but then assistance was helpful and provided relevant answers.

  • Email: We did not receive an answer to our email question even after days.

Customer service is not available 24/7.

AUTHOR

Tamás Deme
Tamás Deme
Content Editor
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