9 Must Knows Before Sign Up
Monese lets you open a EUR or GBP current account in minutes with zero credit checks and without a traditional proof of address. This makes Monese particularly attractive to travellers and digital nomads who need a fully functional current account up and running without jumping through hoops.
The truth is, it may not be for everyone, but in a few minutes you will know if it is right for you (including negative reviews below)!
- Easily sign up for a full service-account without a physical address or credit checks
- Great transparency on fees
- Integrates with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal for contactless payments
- Breaking: Monese was understood to be seeking funds in early 2020 – Given current financial markets this raises concerns about long term viability.
- Currently only available in the UK and Eurozone
- You can only access your Monese account from a single smart phone
Also see: Best Cards
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
- How Does it Work (or not)
- How to Sign Up (Mobile or Desktop?)
- Monese Fees and Plans
- International Transfers with Monese? (plus alternatives)
- Traveling with Monese
- Apple/Google/PayPal Integration?!
- Should you Open a Monese Account for Business?
- Real Reviews (inc negative ones)
- How Safe is Monese?
Here is the best video for those who want a general idea of how it works, but Monese has made some significant improvements since this video.
With a Monese account you can do most things that you would with a standard high street bank account such as make payments, receive payments, set up direct debits and recurring payments (for rent and utility bills, etc.), and enable fast bank transfers.
However, Monese is fully app-based and your account can only be accessed from a single registered mobile phone (though complicated, the account can be re-registered to a new phone in case you’re upgrading your phone or need to replace a lost phone) which has advantage and disadvantages.
Monese current accounts come with dedicated account numbers as well as sorting codes, which makes it easy for you to get paid directly into your Monese account if you’re travelling and working in the EEA.
Monese also lets you transfer money across borders at the inter-bank rate with a reasonably low currency exchange fee. Plus, the contactless debit card linked to your Monese card is great for paying for goods both in the EEA as well as when you’re travelling, with low fees on foreign transactions and ATM withdrawals. You can also make contactless payments with your Monese debit card, typically within a 25-30 EUR/GBP limit.
Topping up options for Monese are solid. In the UK, you can load up your Monese card with cash tops from any post office or pay point locations across the country (over 40,000). UK bank transfers, IBAN transfers, as well as instant debit card top ups are also viable options. Debit card top ups are typically free and cash top ups are cheaper than bank transfers and IBAN transfers.
In the Eurozone, you can top up your Monese card with a debit card (for free), IBAN transfers, and SEPA payments to your individual IBAN number.
Wherever you’re located, your top up fees and top up limits will vary according to your selected plan. It’s best if you keep these thresholds in mind to avoid any unexpected account hold ups.
Apart from these standard (but elevated) banking features, Monese also helps you avoid overspending with advanced spend tracking on the app as well as integrates with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal for easy payments. More about this in a moment.
Virtual cards and joint accounts have also been recently added.
Signing up for Monese is different depending on if you are on a Mobile device or Computer.
You can open a Monese account if you’re at least 18 years old and live in the European Economic Area (EEA), that is, in the UK, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
Here’s a step by step process to register for a Monese account:
- Click on the links above for Mobile or Desktop options
- The following details: Name, address (for shipping the card not for verification), and an ID proof (your photo and a scanned copy of your national ID or passport)
- Go through the quick verification process (no credit checks)
- Download the Monese Android or iOs app
- Select a plan on the app (Simple/Free plan, Classic plan, or Premium Plan)
- The contact less debit card powered by MasterCard will be delivered free to your registered address within 7-10 days.
- Once you activate the card, you’re free to transfer money and make purchases
- You can also create a secondary GBP or EUR account at no extra charge
Monese offers a free plan and two paid plans, each with a range of benefits.
Here’s a quick break down of the plans to pick one that aligns best with your requirements.
3.1 The Simple Plan at £0/€0 per month
The Simple plan is a basic Monese current account that comes with special allowances for foreign transactions at a low fee. However, you will pay more for currency transfers. Essentially, the Simple Plan is ideal for moderate travelling, receiving your salary, or paying your bills.
- Free ATM withdrawals and cash top-ups of up to £200/€200 per month, but a 2% fee is applicable after that
- Free foreign currency spending of £2,000/€2,000 per month, with a 2% fee applicable over this limit
- Free foreign currency transfers to other Monese accounts, with a 2% fee when initiating transfers to non-Monese accounts (must transfer at least £2/€2)
3.2 The Classic Plan at £5.95/€5.95 per month
The Classic plan reduces your foreign currency transaction fees and is perfect for folks who send money abroad or travel abroad often.
- Free ATM withdrawals and cash top-ups of up to £800/€800 per month, but a 2% fee is applicable after that
- Free foreign currency spending of £8,000/€8,000 per month, with a 2% fee applicable over this limit
- Free foreign currency transfers to other Monese accounts, with a 0.5% starting fee when initiating transfers to non-Monese accounts (must transfer at least £2/€2)
3.2 The Premium Plan at 14.95/€14.95 per month
The Monese Premium Plan is perfect for those who want ultimate flexibility from their digital current account. With an affordable fee of 14.95/€14.95 per month, you’ll enjoy free currency transfers, card top ups, and ATM withdrawals anywhere in the world.
Unlike high-street banks, Monese doesn’t rip you off when you transfer money internationally. With a Monese current account you can transfer money to 30 countries in 19 currencies at the inter-bank (or mid-market) rate. Monese keeps the foreign exchange fee low, between 0.5-2%, depending on your subscription plan. However, if you’d like to save big time on your foreign currency transfers, the Premium Plan is your best bet.
International transfers with Monese are typically fulfilled within 24 hours.
If money transfer is your main focus or if you simply plan on sending money quite regularly, a dedicated service may be a better option.
If the currencies and countries you want to work with are not covered by Monese, there are alternatives that could be a better option.
The Monese debit card is powered by MasterCard (like most), which makes it a great option (accepted everywhere) while you save on your foreign transactions.
When you travel with the Monese contactless prepaid debit card, you don’t have to pay exorbitant foreign transaction fees or ATM withdrawal fees, provided you remain within the limits outlined by your plan.
Lastly, if you lose the card, you can simply deactivate it till you receive a replacement card (or find it at the bottom of your bag in which case you can simply unlock it 🙂 ).
Your Monese debit card can be integrated with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal for contactless payments, which can make using a Monese card very 2020. Although contactless limits are applicable in each EEA country, it is usually between €20-€30 in Europe. With the Monese debit card, you can make contactless purchases up to £30 in the UK and up to €25 in the Eurozone.
The Monese card can be integrated with Google Pay in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.
Apple Pay can be integrated with Monese in the UK, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. You can also add your Monese account to your Apple Pay wallet for contactless payments from your phone.
You can also integrate Monese with PayPal at no extra charge. However, you can only link your PayPal account with Monese if you have a UK, French, Italian, Spanish or German address and at least £1/€1 in your Monese account.
Figuring out the best bank for overseas payments and staying on top of those exchange rates can be tricky while you’re working hard to get your business off the ground. So, if you routinely hire remote workers and disburse wages in various foreign currency, a Monese can help save lots of $$ in the long run.
Moreover, Monese offers quick sign up options even for business accounts, along with some cool perks like invoices and expense reports, low currency transfer fees, a premium business debit card along with a personal card (the best way to keep your personal and business expenses separate), and efficient categorization of transactions.
Currently, the Monese business account is only available to UK-registered businesses at a flat monthly fee of £9.95 per month.
If you are outside of the UK or simply want to compare check out Revolut V TransferWise for business.
For a relatively new service, Monese enjoys a great TrustPilot rating of 4.5 with over 13000 reviews.
However, to offer a balanced review, we always dig deep and went through over 100 TrustPilot reviews, paying particular attention to the “Poor” and “Bad” reviews. We noticed that Monese seems to have dropped the ball a few times, particularly with respect to unexpected account freezes, fund transfer delays, and customer service.
On investigating further, we noted that most unexpected account freezes were either as a result of going over cash top up limits and ATM withdrawal limits or if payments were inadvertently initiated for the following services:
- Automated Fuel Dispensers
- Dating and Escort Services including advertising services
- Quasi Cash Services
- Cryptocurrency Trading
- POI Funding Transactions
- Massage Parlours
Essentially, Monese is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and these red-flag transactions can result in your account being frozen. This is not an issue isolated to Monese and far as we can tell Monese acts in the best interest of their users.
Some users were also frustrated with fund transfer delays. We found that while Monese to Monese transactions were instant, Monese to bank transfers were fast but not instant. In such cases, knowing how quickly Monese processes different transfers may be very helpful.
Lastly, some users also complained about their customer service, stating that Monese chat bots were notorious for standard, unhelpful replies. We recommend reaching out to them via email or phone and keeping your Monese sorting code handy for quick resolution of your queries as this seems to be what works.
While Monese has a lot of great features that gives it a leg up over high street banks, particularly for location-independent folks, it makes sense to understand some of its drawbacks as well.
Overall, most Monese users love the quick account sign up feature, the user friendly app, and the flexibility of operating a dual GBP and EUR account.
Like most financial providers in the UK, Monese is regulated by the FCA and upholds their strict standards in terms of security. In the EU, Monese is regulated through and therefore the National Bank of Belgium (Via an entity called PPS EU SA (located in Belgium).
Sure it can be hard to trust a new financial institute with your money. But looks like Monese is pretty serious about their users’ money.
Apart from the single-device access which prevents fraudsters from getting their hands on your money, Monese has developed a series of multifactor encryption and authentication methods (including 3D Secure, Face ID biometric recognition and Touch ID) to keep their systems protected.
Moreover, when you initiated Monese transfers, they are held in a network of stable European accounts before reaching the destination accounts. But most importantly, Monese has ring fenced customer funds, which means they don’t reinvest or touch your money once transferred to your account. This ensures your assets are safeguarded (in theory) even if Monese goes under.
Monese is a great way to have control over your money if you travel extensively or work in Europe.
While most cards focus on travel, Monese is focused on being a better alternative to banks with travel ability.
True to their roots, they make sure you’re set up (easily) with a convenient method to receive wages and pay for things.
We also love their transparency of fees and as we found out from our analysis of the reviews including negative ones (above) there is ways to make the service even better if you need to use customer service.