Monese review: are they safe and legit?
If you’re thinking of opening a Monese account, this review is for you.
Monese was launched in the UK in 2015, offering a low cost, flexible and secure multi-currency account you can manage from your smartphone.
Monese isn’t a bank, but offers convenient alternatives to the traditional banking system if you’re looking to transact in pounds, euros or Romanian lei.
We’ll walk through what features Monese offers, the fees, perks and how to get set up.
The verdict - a great option for spending in Pounds, Euros and Romanian leu
On the whole, Monese is a very solid option if you need an account that works in the UK and in Europe.
Here’s the topline:
- Monese mobile money accounts are easy to open, all you need is an ID document and your phone
- You’ll get bank account details including a UK sort code and account number, plus EUR account details (SWIFT code and IBAN number) to get paid easily
- Great as a travel money card and for international money transfers
- Choose a paid account or stick with the free account which covers all the basics if you’ll only be making a small number of transactions per month
- You’ll get mid-market exchange rates for transfers between GBP, EUR and RON balances during the week with a 1% fee for weekend exchange - this can beat the rates offered by banks by a significant margin
- Spending with your card in GBP, EUR, RON and SEK can be good value, but there’s an extra 2% fee for spending in all other currencies
However, there are some drawbacks.
- Monese ATM withdrawal rates aren’t necessarily the best on the market, £1.5 per withdrawal at home and abroad
- If you need to send payments to accounts held with banks or providers other than Monese you may be better off with an alternative like Wise or Starling, as a currency exchange fee of at least 2.5% (+ weekend out-of-hours fees) will apply
Keep reading our review of Monese or learn more about Monese on their website.
Who are Monese and what do they offer?
Monese is a financial technology company which offers personal and business accounts and services to millions of people based across 31 countries.
You can open an instant account for yourself or as a joint account with a partner, access tools to build credit and access insurance services.
Is Monese safe and legit?
Yes, Monese is safe and legitimate.
Monese isn’t a bank, but it is registered as a business in the UK and regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), just like your bank will be.
Monese also has the licences it needs to offer services elsewhere in Europe, so you know your money will be safe no matter what currency you hold.
Safeguarding: what is it and why do Monese do it?
As part of its legal duties, Monese safeguards customer funds which means they’re always held separately to its operating capital in trusted third-party bank accounts or high-quality assets.
Monese also uses industry standard automatic and manual tools to protect accounts, prevent fraud and keep customers safe, including:
- Full account verification processes
- Secure biometric login for the app
- Track and get notified of transactions, instantly on your phone
- 3D secure for online payments
- A virtual card you can manage from your phone
Check out the Monese terms and conditions to learn more about how they keep customer deposits safe.
Monese personal account review
Monese offers personal accounts to customers in the EEA and the UK, with options including individual and joint accounts. We’ll look through the details next, so you can weigh up if a Monese personal account might fit your needs.
- Multi currency debit card with GBP and EUR debit account details as standard, plus RON details for Romanian citizens
- Spend anywhere Mastercard is accepted for free in EUR, GBP, RON and SEK - or in a broad choice of alternative currencies subject to currency conversion fees
- Make international bank transfers to non-Monese bank accounts (currency conversion fees apply)
- One free tier and two paid tiers so you can pick the account features you need
- Top up account in cash at 40,000 Post Office and PayPoint locations across the UK
How much does the personal account cost?
Monese offers three ‘tiers’ of personal accounts, each of which have their own features and fees:
- Starter Account: No monthly fee
- Classic Account: £5.95 per month
- Premium Account: £14.95 per month
If you’d like a plan with no ongoing fees, you can pick the Starter Account - or upgrade to a paid tier to unlock extra perks such as international spending with no fees and free insurance.
You can compare the benefits and costs of each tier on Monese's website.
What are the fees?
The plan fees and limits which apply to your Monese account may vary depending on the account tier you choose, but to give an illustration, let’s look at the transaction fees that apply to the Standard Plan:
|Monese Standard Plan account fees|
|Debit card fee||£4.95 delivery fee for first card|
£4.95 fee for any replacement card, plus delivery fees
|Top up account||Top up by debit card for free|
3.5% (£3 minimum) cash top up
|Monese to Monese transfers||Send to a Monese account for free (currency exchange fees may apply)|
|Transfers to and from other banks||Send 50 transfers a month with no fee - £0.2 after that (currency exchange fees may apply)|
|Currency exchange fees for transfers||Transfers between Monese accounts - no fee during the week, 1% fee at weekends|
Other transfers - fees from 2.5% + additional 1% fee at weekends
|Card spending||Spend in GBP, EUR, RON and SEK with the Mastercard exchange rate|
All other currencies incur a 2% foreign transaction fee
|Card withdrawals||£1.5 for all withdrawals|
If you’re withdrawing in a currency aside from GBP. EUR, RON and SEK, there’s also a 2% currency exchange fee, with a minimum fee of £2 per withdrawals
What are the perks of a Monese account?
Even with the free Monese account you benefit from some great perks:
- Collect, spend and manage your Avios points from within your Monese app
- Add money from a UK debit card for free
- Top up your GBP balance with cash at 40,000 Post Office and Paypoint locations (fees apply)
It’s good to know that fees apply if you want to top up in cash - costs are 3.5% of the top up amount for the Standard plan, or if you exceed your plan fee free amount on one of the paid account tiers.
What are the benefits of the paid tiers?
If you’ll be transacting regularly with your Monese account you may decide it's worthwhile upgrading to a paid tier.
Paid plans unlock extra benefits and can come with higher levels of fee-free transactions.
|Classic account (£5.95 per month)||Premium account (£14.95 per month)|
Learn more about the paid tiers on Monese's website.
Monese business account review
At the time of writing, Monese are not accepting new business account sign ups. Once accounts are available again, here’s what you can expect:
- Fees from £9.95 per month
- International transfers to 30 countries
- Create invoices instantly and request payments through the app
- Spend with your linked card, to keep your personal and business finances separate
Keep an eye on communications from Monese for when Business account sign-ups open again.