What is Monese?
Monese was founded back in 2015 by an Estonian fellow named Norris Koppel. When Norris moved from Estonia to the UK he was frustrated at the fact he couldn’t easily setup a bank account due to not having any credit history or utility bills in the UK.
This is one problem faced by many people who do not have any loans or credit card or those who have recently moved to a new area, making it impossible to receive salary or pay bills. Koppel noticed that he was not the only one facing this problem and decided to set up his own 100% mobile current account. His aim was to make the process of setting up a bank account easier for everyone else. Monese was born!
Monese gives anyone in the Europe and the UK the opportunity to instantly (almost) open EUR and GBP bank accounts though the Monese app, even if you don’t have a local address, credit history or a salary. The beauty of Monese is in it’s design as it’s very intuitive and easy to use. If you move from one place to another, no problem, just update your location in the Monese app and you’re good to go!
Monese bank has almost 1 million customers now processing more than 3 billion transactions a year. Koppel’s bank has also been recognized as the best challenger bank at the European Fintech Awards and received huge funding from the European Commission for research and innovation.
How does Monese work?
Monese is a bank on your smartphone, simple as that. You do all your banking via the app. All the bank side of things happen in their systems and back office, meaning they can offer you a cheap and efficient banking system. Monese comes with a Debit MasterCard, so you can pay however way you wish, card, phone, face, watch, it’s all covered!
It has the normal things you expect from a bank and some nice perks like push notifications when you pay for something or receive money. Budgeting and Analytics also come standard as do cheap international transfers, they only charge you the interbank rate.
Anyone living within European Economic Area (EEA) can open an account with Monese bank. The account can be opened either by downloading the app on your smartphone or by using a link sent to your mobile through the Monese website.
Since there are no high-street branches, you don’t need to trudge into town to get your bank account opened. All you need is to go online, get the app, and follow step-by-step instructions. Unlike mainstream banks, you won’t be required to provide a local proof of address or have a good credit history. You will just be asked to take a selfie through your smartphone’s camera and attach an ID document such as a passport issued by any country so as to pass Monese’s money laundering checks. Your identity will then be verified and you will receive your account number and sort code within minutes.
Here, the process is far easier and faster than a mainstream bank where you are required to book an in branch appointment and then wait for your card to arrive through the post. With Monese, you can send and receive bill payments easily but for that, you will need to order your contactless MasterCard debit card through the app.
Monese users will then be required to wait for their card to be delivered which can take three to five business days or up to fourteen internationally. Once you receive your card, you can set up the card through the app by using a four-digit activation code.
The debit card functions in the same way as any other debit card with which you can shop online, make in-store purchases, make ATM withdrawals anywhere in the world, and use contactless payments. You can even change personal information, make top-ups, and access bank statements through the app at any time of the day.
The Monese app also supports Google Pay and Apple Pay which lets you make contactless payments with your smartphone.
What account types does Monese offer?
Monese bank currently offers three types of personal bank accounts – simple, classic, and premium. No matter what the account type is, there is a maximum balance of £40,000 for all UK-based accounts. You can also switch between bank accounts at any time.
Those opting for an account in the Eurozone will notice a €10,000 maximum balance for all types of accounts in France and a maximum of €50,000 for plus and premium accounts in other countries.
Simple Account (£0 per month) – The simple account is free to open and there is absolutely no fee for using the contactless debit card. With this account, you have to pay £1 fee for ATM cash withdrawals, a 2 percent foreign currency exchange fee, a 0.35 percent fee for instant top ups, a 2 percent fee for post office cash top-ups, and a 3.5 per cent fee for PayPoint top-ups.
Their ‘Simple’ plan will includes a free card, 200GBP in free ATM withdrawals, 2000GBP in foreign currency spending
Classic Account (£4.95 / €5.95 per month)– This account offers six free ATM cash withdrawals per month. The classic account lowers foreign exchange fees to 0.5 percent and cash top-ups to £1 at the post office and 2.5 percent for PayPoint.
The ‘Classic’ plan gives you 800GBP in free ATM withdrawals each month and 8000GBP in foreign currency spending each month.
Premium Account (£14.95 / €14.95 per month) – This account is the most ‘premium’ but has no fees for currency exchange and both cash and instant top-ups. It also offers unlimited ATM cash withdrawals for free.
This account includes a free card, unlimited ATM withdrawals, and foreign currency spending.
Limits and restrictions
There are certain limitations that come with a Monese bank account. The first one is that you cannot hold more than £40,000 in your account. In case you want to manually top up your bank account, there is a minimum deposit of £5 at a post office with a maximum of £500 per day. If you are using PayPoint to top-up, there is no minimum but a maximum limit of £249 per transaction and £500 per day.
You can top up your account with a maximum of £500 per day, £2,500 per week, and £5,000 per month. In case you are topping up your Monese bank account with a debit card, there is a minimum of £10 and a maximum of £300. Along with this, the maximum card purchase limit is £4,000 per transaction and a total of £7,000 per day. You can withdraw upto £300 per day.
Monese for Business
Monese offers an account for UK registered business. It is quick to open, is contactless, and supports 14 languages. The account costs £9.95 per month in which customers can enjoy the features of a UK business account and a plus personal account combined within the Monese app. The business and personal account can also be separated with free dedicated debit cards and customers can manage both seamlessly from one place.
Customers can sign up in minutes and avail full access within a few hours. With the business account, customers get free local payments. You also get low-priced international transfers and a contactless business card. Customers can add cash to their account at over 40,000 locations across the United Kingdom. The account is accessible in ten languages so that language is never a barrier between great banking and you.
If you need a bank account for your business fast, look to Monese as their business offerings are FAR cheaper than anything else we have seen from Revolut or N26. They charge you only 9.95GBP a month for a business plan, which comes with all the usuals like a debit card, free local payments and cheap international currency transfers. It’s a great choice for your business.
Is International Money Transfer Possible?
Monese makes it very easy for its clients to convert their funds using the interbank rate for quick international money transfers at a very low cost. As Monese charges its clients the same wholesale exchange rate used by banks, customers save as much as 88 percent when they send money abroad through the Monese application.
Customers can send money to Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Denmark, Latvia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Slovakia, Sweden, or the United States through a transfer.
Monese is currently available to citizens of the following countries:-
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Monese is currently available in the US and we are waiting for information about when they might launch.
What features does Monese have?
There are certain important features of Monese bank account that a customer should be well acquainted with before placing their trust in it.
- With Monese, a customer can have a multi-currency account (dollars and euros)
- You get free cash withdrawals (upto a certain amount each month which depends on the plan you choose)
- You get the benefit of a Mastercard prepaid contactless debit card
- You can see your exact balance when you open the app
- One of the major benefits is that customers can track their spending
- You get immediate spending notifications
- You can transfer money abroad in 8 different currencies at the interbank rate
- You can top-up your account in a post office or PayPoint
- Remotely lock the card if lost or stolen
- Request money
- Send money instantly in a few taps
- Secure login, including fingerprint authorization (“Touch ID”)
- Apple & Google Pay
- Spending analytics with automatic categorization
- Set/modify your daily payment and withdrawal limits within the App
How Monese helps you budget
Monese provides its clients some features to help them with budgeting. Since there is 24×7 access to your account via the app, you can always keep a close eye on your account. There is also an interesting and convenient feature called ‘Instabalance’ that displays a real-time view of the balance of your account in your smartphone’s notifications tray. Because of this, you can see at a glance how much you can spend.
You also find a balance graph for a visual representation within the application to let you know how you spend money. This helps the customers to track spending goals and analyse the time of month when they are likely to spend more.
Who is Monese for?
Monese Bank is a great option for anyone who is tech-savvy, residing in the EU/UK and would prefer to avail all the banking services from the comfort of their homes without having the necessity of going to a physical branch. It is also the best option for people who do not have a proof of residency and credit history.
Who isn't Monese for?
Unfortunately Monese isn’t yet available to people living outside the EU/UK. As it is not a traditional bank, Monese does not provide all the services of a bank. For instance, if you want to put your savings in a separate account and earn interest on it, then Monese is not the most appropriate option as it does not offer this facility. Also, for those who just can’t put trust into a bank without any actual physical branches, Monese isn’t good.
We have had positive experiences with Monese support via the mobile app and via e-mail and both times the responses were prompt. There is no phone support but email and chat works great.
Safety and security
Monese takes safety and security very seriously and has top notch systems in place to ensure the safety of your money. For starters to access the app you need a special pin code and once inside they have the usual card locking feature and the ability to report your card lost or stolen and request a new one.
The most important part of Monese review is whether the bank is safe or not and should people have faith in it. Well, unlike mainstream banks, your money obviously isn’t covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which has the capacity to cover £85,000 of savings if a customer goes bust.
However, Monese bank is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It is a registered agent of electronic money institution Prepay Technologies which follows Electronic Money Regulations. Under these rules, it must separately protect and store 100% of customer funds by keeping them separate from their own finances.
As we like to do, we had a look over TrustPilot to see what other folks thought of Monese and you can be sure you’ll be in happy company if you choose a Monese account. Out of 13,518 people they gave Monese an ‘Excellent’ 4.4 stars.
Monese is an all round solid digital bank that comes packaged in a very slick and nice to use application. The design and branding makes interactive with it a charm. It excels in daily banking within the EU/UK and is also suited for digital nomads, but if you are planning on doing a lot of travel outside the EU/UK you may wish to look at Revolut.
Monese is best suited for day to day banking and is ideal to receive your wage, pay your bills, managed your finances with it’s budgeting app etc. It’s not amazing for travel outside the EU as you can’t load foreign currency onto your card outside of Euros and GBPs.
It is a great option for people who require basic banking with the option of a debit card. Also, the app is designed well and is easy to use. However, Monese lacks some features of mainstream banks such as overdraft facility, and paying interest on savings. For all those who are looking for a basic bank account which is easy to setup via the mobile app, Monese bank is highly recommended for them.
Starting off with their free account is a no risk proposition as you get to try the app for free and they’ll even give you a free card! So why don’t you go ahead and and give Monese a go today!