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2 min read 05.05.2022 136
Ese Precious
Ese Precious
Fintech writer at AskWallet.io
Alternatives to Monzo

Alternatives to Monzo

Monzo is an online-only bank that claims to be loaded with everything you need for banking, such that it can replace your existing bank account with just an app. It was founded in London, the United Kingdom, in 2015. Monzo is a UK-licensed digital bank with the capacity to manage your entire financial life from your smartphone – no branches. With its app and cards, you can save, spend, and manage your money domestically and internationally, without stress, and at very low fees. It is also crypto-friendly.

Despite its wide-ranging and amazing functions, this European neobank might not be the best for your digital banking needs. Hence, in this article, we offer you the best alternatives to Monzo around the world.

Top Monzo Alternative Banks and Apps

Monzo was among the first app-based UK challenger banks. However, it was until April 2017 that it received a full banking licence in the UK, thus, allowing it to provide regular current accounts to UK residents. Today, you can use Monzo wherever Mastercard is accepted. The number of UK and non-UK residents having accounts with Monzo totals over 5 million as of 2022, with the majority of them based in the UK. We will now show you the best alternatives to Monzo in the UK and the USA.

Monzo alternatives in the UK

Revolut

Revolut is a digital bank and mobile app with Mastercard and Visa cards for everything that relates to banking, money transfers, online and in-store payments, and investing. It is a very good alternative to Monzo in the UK. It allows you to receive, transfer, and spend money abroad for free in many currencies. With Revolut, you can earn money by saving in pots called “vaults”,investing in stocks, managing a good budget, buying cryptocurrency, converting crypto to cash,  and doing a lot more using a Standard (free), Premium, or Metal account.  For more information, you can find an honest review of Revolut, as well as how it compares with Wise and Monese on our website.

Starling Bank

Like most Monzo alternatives available to UK residents, Starling Bank offers a free personal current account that can be created and managed through a mobile app. Starling Bank cards can be used free of charge anywhere Mastercard is supported, including hundreds of thousands of ATMs. It sends you notifications about payments made to and from your account. Also, it can assist you in analysing your expenses and following a personal budget. Eligible users can get overdrafts. In addition, it supports the deposit of cash via any UK Post Office, as well as in-app cheque deposits through its cheque imaging feature.  

Monese

Monese is similar to Monzo in many ways, including in terms of fees, limits, and services. Also, they both issue Mastercard cards as official partners with the FinTech giant. Nonetheless, Monese is a better alternative to Monzo if you want to have a bank with a multi-currency account on your mobile phone. Monzo offers only a British pound (GBP) account and a single-currency card, which means that you cannot convert your balance into another currency. But with Monese, you can hold the euro (EUR) and the Romanian leu (RON) in addition to GBP in one account which comes with a multi-currency card.

Curve

Another alternative to Monzo is Curve. It is not a bank but an innovative card aggregator. This app allows you to link all your existing Mastercard and Visa debit and credit cards in one place. In that way, you can make convenient payments with any of them directly via the app or through its card. When you are about to make a payment with your Curve card, you can use the Curve app to pick which of your accounts the money is to be deducted from. Curve makes spending abroad more profitable because you get to use just one card (instead of many) without paying any transaction fees. Besides, whenever you are with your card but without your phone (which has the app), Curve will revert by default to the previously used card when paying for a purchase. The "Go back in time" option in the app allows you to modify this default setting. Moreover, earning cashback is possible when you use Curve to transact with its retail partners.

Genome

Genome is a licensed electronic money institution supervised by the Bank of Lithuania. It is an alternative to Monzo for anyone who prefers an app that can open a multi-currency account or/and process a large volume of payments. It offers dedicated personal and business IBANs, merchant accounts, money transfers (instant, EU SEPA, and SWIFT), multi-currency accounts, currency conversion, shared company accounts, physical and virtual VISA cards, API for money transactions, and much more.

Atom bank

The UK’s first mobile-app-only bank is Atom Bank. Similar to Monzo, you can get different types of savings accounts and loans through Atom bank. However, as of May 2022, Atom bank is yet to offer its customers the option of having a current account. So, it is not a good option for spending abroad; digital nomadsfreelancers, and expats should try other alternatives to Monzo. Besides, only UK residents can open accounts with Atom bank. Be prepared to close your account if you travel outside the UK and remain there for over three years. However, a good reason to choose this bank instead of Monzo could be its very competitive mortgage and savings rates.

Monzo alternatives in the USA

Revolut

Residents in the United States can open an account with Revolut as an alternative to Monzo. Its customers can spend and transfer money abroad at the current exchange rate. Revolut allows them to do this without paying any hidden fees. They can also retain and trade 28 different currencies on the app, including the euro, British pounds, and Canadian dollars. Furthermore, through direct deposit, US customers can receive their salaries up to two days in advance of their normal paydays. They can also enjoy many other services aforementioned for residents in the UK.

Wise

Wise is an alternative to Monzo in a very similar way to Monese, in terms of banking and other functionalities. USA residents who travel often and would prefer a mobile bank with a multi-currency account can open accounts with Wise. Besides, Wise is the provider of the international money transfer services offered by Monzo. For more reasons why you should create an account with Wise, read this review on our website. 

Cash App

Compared to Monzo, Cash App, which was created in 2013, offers the simplest peer-to-peer app for money transfer service. It is a financial platform that provides banking services through its bank partners. It offers cheap and competitive rates to its customers, including residents in the United States. Cash App is a good option for savings account opening, business account creation and management, investing, buying and selling cryptocurrencies, and so on.

Paysera

USA residents can use Paysera instead of Monzo so that they can enjoy e-shopping, gaming, entertainment, eating at restaurants, and making in-person retail payments via mobile Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals. Also, it provides card processing and currency exchange services. It offers a multicurrency account, which is ideal for frequent travellers. Find more information about Paysera in this overview by AskWallet.

Best for Foreign Bank Transfers

Now, if you are looking for Monzo alternatives to make international transfers, foreign bank transactions, and free/low-cost card usage within or outside Europe, here is our list of the best on the market:

Revolut

Wise

N26

Skrill

ConnectPay

OFX

Best for Effortless Saving

To anyone who would like to save money effortlessly by using an alternative to Monzo, we recommend the following:

Vivid

Gemini

Best for Real Savings Account

You can get real savings accounts from the following Monzo alternatives on the market:

Bunq

CapitalOne

Chime

First direct

Best for Staying with Your Current Bank

Creating an account with a mobile-only bank does not mean that you must abandon your previous bank accounts. There are Monzo alternatives that allow you to stay with your current bank(s) and continue using your old bank cards while enjoying the innovative services of a neobank or challenger bank. They include the following:

Starling Bank

Capitalist

Curve

Are Challengers Safe?

Neobanks are sometimes called challenger banks because they are “challenging” traditional banks by using advanced technology to render new and innovative services to millions of people in the banking industry. They have opened many customers’ eyes to new digital payment services and fostered the digital transformation in banking. 

The fact that most challenger banks do not have branches but operate totally online raises serious safety concerns in the minds of many people. For them, knowing a physical place to meet and speak with someone about their money and bank accounts makes them prefer traditional banks to neobanks. But does it mean that challenger banks are not safe? Our response to this question is no and yes. Your money is safe with any of the Monzo alternatives we have provided in this post. However, beware of other fraudulent so-called digital banks on the market. A mobile-only bank that is not licensed or regulated by any well-recognised institution is unsafe for you and your money.

Since Monzo, Atom bank, and Starling Bank have UK banking licences, account deposits of up to £85,000 are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which is the regulatory standard for registered UK banks.

Revolut and Monese are not registered as banks. Instead, they are registered as electronic money institutions with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). What does this mean with regards to the safety of your money? It means that they must retain all of their clients' money in separate accounts with regulated UK banks. By doing so, they ensure that their customers’ funds are safe even if their businesses fail.

Conclusion

Monzo is a great mobile-only bank. It was amongst the earliest app-based banks in the United Kingdom. It has many useful features for managing your savings, expenses, money transfers, and many other aspects of your financial life. But if you have found reasons to go for an alternative to Monzo, then you most likely have found one or more of them in this guide.