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    Digital Bank

4.5

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This provider is below average. Average Rating is 4.5

Main features

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    Credit Builder
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    Insurance
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    Joint accounts
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    Travel card

Digital Bank at a Glance

Platform

Mobile + web

Price

Starting at 0

Card

Digital/Physical

smiling face icon

Cool

Multi-currency accounts in GBP, EUR and RON

Multi-currency accounts in GBP, EUR and RON

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Not cool

ATM Withdrawal Fees

ATM Withdrawal Fees

Deposit types

  • Credit/Debit card

    Credit/Debit card

  • Bank Transfer

    Bank Transfer

  • Cash (UK only)

    Cash (UK only)

Licenses or Regulations

  • FSCS

    FSCS

Main Products

  • Savings Account

    Savings Account

  • Money transfer

    Money transfer

  • Current account

    Current account

  • Budgeting tools

    Budgeting tools

Countries available

  • 30+

    30+

Monese Review 2022: See If Monese Is the Right Online Bank For You

If you’re looking for a digital bank to open an account with and you’re wondering about Monese, you’re in the right place.

The advent of digital banks has made it very time-efficient to open an account and deposit money. But the plethora of such banks have made it difficult to know which one will be the best for your needs.

That’s why we created a Monese review. To be here, you must have developed some interest to go with it. So, we will help you to at least understand things like:

  • What its background is
  • If your money will be safe with it
  • What fees are involved
  • The quality of its customer support
  • And many more

Opening a digital bank account is an easy process, but it should be done with care. Take your time to read this Monese review to determine if this bank is the one you’re looking for.

What is Monese?

Monese, incorporated in 2015, is a British digital bank that provides bank accounts and money transfer services, operating in 31 countries across the European Economic Area. It offers accounts in Euros, Pounds sterling, and Romanian leu, and its overall customer base across Europe was reported as 2 million in January 2020.

When Norris Koppel, its founder and CEO, moved to the UK, he was frustrated with the bureaucracy that opening a bank account involved. Things like local credit history, proof of address, utility bills, and more were required. But you couldn’t get any of these if you didn’t already have a bank account; a classic Catch-22.

This painful experience inspired him to provide people with a bank account that wouldn’t require a perfect credit score or multiple utility bills At the same time, he wanted to offer the users mobile access to the accounts. Thus, in September 2015, Monese launched its mobile app as a traditional bank alternative.

Pros:

  • Easy to open an account
  • User-friendly
  • Address or credit history documents are not required
  • Premium subscription options add value

Cons:

  • Replacing your card is expensive if you go with a free account
  • There are complaints regarding email customer support

Is Monese Safe?

The short answer is “yes”. Monese is safe for typical current accounts and transferring money.

Monese is authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate as an e-money corporation.

More specifically, PrePay Solutions (PPS), a prepaid cards program designer, is the company that provides Monese with e-money accounts and is also regulated by the FCA and the National Bank of Belgium (NBB). This company is, therefore, the one authorized to provide payment services and responsible for the protection of the account holders.

But let’s dive a bit deeper into the process that Monese uses to protect your money, called safeguarding. This process ensures that your money is kept separate from the funds Monese or PPS owns. More specifically, your money will be either kept in a secure account with an authorized bank or covered through an insurance policy or guarantee.

In essence, safeguarding will ensure that all clients get their money back in the extreme case where Monese files for bankruptcy. In such a scenario, an insolvency administrator will handle the process so you get your money back (but you might get slightly less as the cost of their service could be covered by deducting it from the clients’ money).

Noteworthy is also the fact that Monese won’t be lending your money to anyone.

Monese Review: Platform & Features

Monese is available through both its mobile app and website.

Let’s take a look at some standard features it has:

  • You can categorize your expenses based on the type of transaction
  • You can create monthly budgets
  • You can apply for a loan
  • You can create a Joint account
  • You can send money to Monese users for free
  • You can send a money request to a Monese user
  • You can easily manage your direct debits (setting them up and canceling them when needed)
  • You can create “Pots” (separate sub-accounts) to save money for better management
  • You can earn interest
  • You can link your account with services like Avios and Paypal
  • You can set up Google Pay or Apple Pay
  • Monese supports 3D Secure online payments

Now, let’s examine some of the bank’s distinctive features, one by one…

Monese credit builder

Monese offers a way to both improve your credit score and save money if you live in the UK without the use of a credit check or credit card. It’s called the Monese Credit Builder and it’s available for all plans.

You can essentially use the feature to save as little as £30 and as much as £100 per month for a 12-month period and the “payments” will be recorded as repayments on a zero-interest loan. At the end of this period, you will receive the full amount you saved back, with your credit score improvement reflected on all of the UK’s main credit agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).

This service costs £7.95 per month and this cost is used as a proxy for an APR charged monthly.

To access Credit Builder, simply open the app and select your GBP account, then the Explore tab. If you’re eligible you will find it there.

Note that if you miss a payment, you will be required to report your account in arrears to the credit agencies. However, Monese will close your Credit Builder and return all of your saved money to you automatically if you miss two consecutive payments so your credit history isn't damaged any further.

Regardless of Monese’s safeguard, take care to close the Credit Builder yourself if you realize you can’t keep up with the payments to not damage your credit history.

Monese Insurance

Monese also offers insurance protection to UK citizens who choose the Classic or Premium plan in case they’re unable to work or something they buy gets lost or stolen.

Specifically, if you become sick and can’t work, the Bills Protection program that the Classic plan offers will cover you for a maximum amount of up to £1,200 for bills (£1,800 in Premium).

The Purchase Protection program involves protection in case a product you buy gets lost, damaged, or stolen, in which scenario the Classic plan will cover up to £1,000 per claim and £2,500 per year, whereas the Premium will cover up to £4,000 per claim and £10,000 per year.

By the way, making an insurance claim with Monese is very simple:

  1. After you open the app, navigate to the Explore tab from the Home Screen
  2. Select either “Bills Protection” or “Purchase Protection” located under “Insurance” and then tap on “Start a claim”.
  3. Follow the steps to complete the form and submit your claim

Budgeting

With Monese, you can gain control over your finances with its budgeting tool.

First, using the app to receive your salary will provide the first step to planning your spending. Therefore, make sure you get this done right from the beginning so the app’s budgeting feature makes sense to you.

Then, you’ll be ready to set a budget for whatever remains after you subtract some basic expenses like rent, utility bills, groceries, mortgage payments, groceries, etc. Monese also has a Spending Overview feature which will better help you track your expenses by splitting them into categories.

In addition, you can set up “saving pots” for saving money towards retirement, a mortgage down payment, a car, or whatever you please.

If you want to budget your and your spouse’s money together, Monese can help you do that too. Just open a joint account and you can use the budgeting tool just like you would with a single account.

Monese Travel Money Card

If you want to travel, spending money abroad can be easier with the travel money card Monese provides.

This multi-currency card will make sure that you make any purchases fast and cheaply (regarding the exchange cost). Monese will only charge the wholesale currency exchange rate.

You will also be notified of every purchase you make abroad with your card in your app. In addition, you will be able to see how much the currency exchange costs were.

See if Monese Is a Good Fit for You

Monese Review: Plans & Pricing

Let’s now take a look at the plan Monese offers, along with the pricing for each…

Starter

This plan is the most basic of the three and the only one that is free.

But as with all plans, there are fees associated with transfers, ATM withdrawals, and others:

  • Card Fees: A delivery fee of €4.95 / £4.95 applies here. If you lose your card, the replacement costs £9.90. Also, using the card abroad in a different currency will cost you a 2% fee (of each transaction value).
  • Transfer Fees: Transferring money to different bank accounts costs a 2.5% fee (+1% fee during weekends). There are no fees if you send money to Monese users.
  • ATM fees: Withdrawing money from an ATM in the same currency costs a £1.5 fee per withdrawal
  • Top-up fees: Depositing money to your Monese account through a post office or PayPoint location costs a 3.5% fee.
  • Currency Exchange Fees: You can convert a currency at the wholesale exchange rate and Monese will charge a minimum of 2.5% fee of transaction value or at least £2.

Classic

The Classic plan costs £5.95 per month and it may be a cheaper choice than the Starter, depending on the degree you use the features associated with the charges below as they are lower:

  • Card Fees: This plan’s card replacement cost is £4.95 and there’s no charge for paying with the card abroad in a different currency.
  • Transfer fees: Transferring money to other bank accounts is charged with a 0.5% fee of the transaction value.
  • ATM fees: You can withdraw money from ATMs completely free of charge up to £500 per month. After this amount has been exceeded, you will get charged a £1.5 fee per transaction.
  • Top-up fees: Depositing money through a post office or PayPoint location is free of charge for up to £500 per month. After the limit has been exceeded, the 3.5% fee will apply.
  • Currency Exchange Fees: You can convert a currency at the wholesale exchange rate and Monese will charge a minimum of 2.5% fee of transaction value or at least £2.

Premium

Premium costs £14.95 per month and has the following privileges when it comes to costs:

  • Card Fees: There’s no cost for replacing the card, nor for paying with the card abroad in a different currency
  • Transfer fees: None.
  • ATM fees: You can withdraw money for free for up to £1,500 per month. After the limit has been exceeded, a £1.5 fee will apply.
  • Top-up fees: Depositing money to your Monese account through a post office or PayPoint location is free of charge for up to £1,500 per month. After the limit has been exceeded, a 3.5% fee will apply.

How to Open an Account with Monese

Opening a Monese account is extremely straight-forward and the process can be broken down into 3 steps:

  1. Download the Monese app from the Google Play Store, the iOS App Store, or the Huawei AppGallery (signing up via the bank’s website isn’t possible)
  2. Then, you’ll have to enter your email address, phone number, and an ID document like your passport
  3. Last, you will need to take a brief video selfie to verify your identity

Monese is true to its word and you’ll be able to get access immediately to your account after you follow the above steps.

How to Deposit and Withdraw Money with Monese

Naturally, you can simply transfer money via a bank transfer. If you live in the UK and you’re transferring pounds, you will be able to do so instantly through UK Faster Payments.

For euros, you can transfer money as a SEPA payment which will be cleared within one working day (but it may take as long as 3 working days sometimes).

Another way to transfer money to your Monese account is through Sofort (but it may not be available to you depending on the country you live in).

But, no doubt, the easiest way is to use a personal debit card. The transfer will be free and you will deposit the money instantly.

How to Send Money with Monese

Sending money with Monese is even easier than opening an account.

First of all, from the app’s Home screen, choose the Pay option on the bottom.

When you’re about to send money to someone who’s not in your Monese contacts, follow these steps:

  1. Choose “New payment” located in the lower right-hand corner
  2. From there, type the name of the person you want to send money
  3. Select the currency you want the recipient to receive the money in
  4. Provide the recipient’s account details
  5. Approve the transfer

And that’s it! Sending money to someone who’s in your Monese contacts or who has received money from your Monese account before is even simpler:

  1. Select the contact from the list of names
  2. Enter your preferred amount
  3. Choose the currency
  4. Approve the payment

Monese Customer Support

To contact Monese, there are 3 options available: Online Chat, Phone, and Email.

Although Monese gives you a variety of customer support options, there are a few complaints online regarding the customer support received when you have been blocked from your account.

Conclusion

In the world of online banks, Monese is easily differentiated through its straightforward and fast application process. On top of that, its fees are transparent and the platform is very easy to use.

If you’re looking for a way to transfer money easily, Monese is a great option since you will be set up in no time. Depositing can be done in many ways, thus making it cost-efficient for nearly everyone, depending on where they live.

We hope that going through our Monese review helped determine if this is the right bank for you.

Now, if you want to find your ideal digital bank, we suggest you use our free bank comparison tool. This will ask some of your preferences regarding a bank account and some basic information (no sign-up required) and provide you within seconds with a list of the best online banks that will be most suited for your needs.

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Find an Affordable Digital Bank That Suits Your Needs

FAQ

  • To open a Bunq account, go to their website, and enter your phone number. Then, you will be prompted to download the mobile app. Open the app and select personal account on the explore button. Enter your personal details and your residential information. Lastly, scan your ID document. Bunq will contact you once your account is ready.

  • Bunq is an European bank that is fully licensed, and all of your finds are protected by the Dutch Deposit Guarantee. Bunq is a digital bank account that is loaded with many features. You can open several bank accounts with different IBANs.

  • In order to keep your money safe, Bunq uses some advanced security measures such as two-factor authentication. Bunq has a proper banking license and makes sure that all of your money is kept safe.