Is Monese a winner of the battle of fees and plans or not?
What is Monese?
From your Monese Account, you can manage everything- app, cards, direct debits, payments (by bank transfer or to another Monese account), purchases (online/offline), funds transfers, currency conversion, cash withdrawals, and more.
Monese offers various banking functions and wants to appeal to those for whom cost is the main criterion in choosing a payment service. UK-based users have a slight advantage over other customers when it comes to top-up options. It is also a good service for those who travel regularly. Its MasterCard-based debit card is also useful for low-cost ATM withdrawals worldwide and comes with useful contactless payment options.
The neobank has more than two million customers, and its services are available in 31 countries. Monese mainly targets foreigners or expatriates, but only UK and EEA residents can open an account currently. It is possible to open a GBP account without a UK address, but there is no indication whether people outside the EEA zone are welcomed. You can view the list of supported currencies if you want to send money internationally.
Depending on your location, you can select between three types of personal accounts: simple, classic, premium, and business account. Apart from the instant accounts that don’t require any credit check, address verification, or extra documentation, users can also open a joint account that lets them share their bills, expenses, etc with another Monese account holder. If you want to save money, check out the Monese savings accounts that let you put aside funds in a savings pot and earn interest too.
Monese has also partnered with Raisin to offer various savings products. Users can also open a UK business account which is not a separate account. First, a user must open a personal account, and then add a business account. Follow this link to know more about the pricing and features associated with this account.
Your contactless MasterCard can be used as a virtual card, in-store, online, and for ATM withdrawals. It also supports Apple Pay and Google Pay.
It can also function as a travel money card and gives access to your funds worldwide. If you are using a paid Monese plan, you can spend quite a large amount abroad without additional charges. For instance, the Classic plan lets you spend up to 8000 GBP overseas without any commission (the free plan has a spending limit of 2000 GBP without any commission). There is no limit on spending abroad without paying any charges for premium plan subscribers.
Frequent travellers should upgrade the free subscription to avoid paying the 2% transaction fees. You can also withdraw funds via ATMs and shop without worrying about any hidden charges.
Other Monese services
Monese has teamed up with lenders via the Monevo platform to offer personal loans. Unfortunately, the details are scattered in the FAQ section, you can view here.
Monese has also integrated Avios within the app to let users view their Avios balance within the Monese app, collect and track their Avios points (whenever they shop at selected stores).
Your Monese account supports Paypal. You can manage your PayPal balance from Monese, and also link the Monese card to the PayPal wallet. Select Monese as your preferred payment method to buy goods or services or send funds to PayPal users (buyers/sellers) too.
Unfortunately, I had a hard time finding a succinct price list on the Monese website. I wanted to compare its costs with similar services such as Revolut and N26, but the task was not easy. For instance, for its simple, classic, and premium accounts, I could only find information on the four main tariffs on the website. To obtain charges for physical cards and other operations, you have to hunt for details on the site as it is scattered in several sections. Monese has a fees and limits section that offers information on charges and restrictions on personal and business accounts for different countries, but the layout is not user-friendly. I would suggest contacting customer support if you are still confused.
Here are some limitations, you should be aware of:
- Only GBP account holders can replenish their accounts through PayPoint or Post (cash deposit).
- The maximum balance limit for any of the three accounts is 40,000 EUR at the moment.
- You can only withdraw 300 EUR per day.
- In case you want to add funds manually through Post, PayPoint, or Paysafe Cash, please go through the above link for the tariffs section for minimum and maximum ceilings.
- The card purchase limit is 4000 EUR (allowed for one transaction), and 7000 EUR in a day.
Is Monese safe?
You should know that Monese is an e-money company and not a bank. Unlike the traditional UK banks, the users’ funds are not covered by the FSCS; there is no coverage for deposits up to 85,000 GBP in case the company goes bankrupt. Monese is a registered agent of PrePay Technologies (an EMI) which is authorized by the UK’s FCA. Additionally, Monese can’t reinvest its client’s money which has to be kept safely in a segregated account.
Monese has been putting a lot of effort into making its users feel safe, but there has been a sharp increase in complaints regarding account freezing, blocking and account fraud. Users have also complained about the slower transfer speed of funds. This raises concerns about the usefulness and safety of the service.
All you need to do is to download the Monese App for iPhone or Android and complete the registration and account verification process by following the instructions.
Your Monese account can be easily closed from the app from the “Account settings.” before deleting your account, ensure that your balance is zero. Also, your Monese card will be automatically cancelled with the account closure.
To send funds, please check the list of supported currencies and locations. You need to add the recipient within the app, select the currency and its supported destination to send funds. Please remember that the currency-country pair should match, you can’t send EUR to Brazil.
These options are available to top up a GBP account:
- International funds transfer
- Transfer from a UK bank
- Debit card (instant top-up)
- A cash deposit (by visiting a Post Office or a PayPoint location)
The EUR account holders can use this link to find available options to deposit money.
- No requirement for a credit check and address verification, a good option for freelancers and travelers.
- A free Eurozone account option is available with the GBP account.
- Features for travelers, such as Travel money cards and Avios.
- Users can manage funds and budgets with ease.
- No hidden fees and minimum balance requirement.
- Allows card freezing from the app.
- Supports Apple Pay and Google Pay.
- Limits on ATM withdrawals and card purchases.
- Numerous complaints about account blocking and freezing.
- No check remittances and overdrafts.
- A charge of 2% is applied when transferring funds to a non-Monese account.
In my opinion, Monese can be a useful option for regular travellers, and those who need international money transfer services. If you travel frequently between the UK, Romania, and Europe, Monese lets you switch between EUR, GBP, and RON. It may not be a suitable option for people who want to practice online trading or are interested in investments in financial assets.
Compared to banks, Monese has a competitive fee structure, but its plans include a subscription fee or a percentage for the operation/service if you exceed the limit. I like that funds can be sent within the system free of cost, but judging by the users’ testimonials I have some doubts regarding account protection.
Then the slower response of the support team in responding to customers’ claims results in insecurity and frustration. The support is not available 24/7, and the only available options are chat and email. If you are registering Monese account, I highly recommend weighing the pros and cons before making the final decision. You should remember that if your Monese account is blocked, you will lose access to your funds.