Best – Services, Costs and Trust
Monese and Revolut are reinventing how you manage your money while travelling or moving overseas.
They’re both app-based money management platforms that give you smart control over your budget, foreign transactions, and currency transfers minus the banks typical exorbitant fees.
But neither is a substitute for the other.
In fact, they’re both quite different.
So is it Monese or Revolut best for you?
And that is not the best bit 🙂
There are three different plans for each and in just a few minutes you will discover which one is best for you!
You can also avoid some common mistakes most uninformed users make.
Let’s get stuck in!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
- Snapshot of Monese and Revolut
- Account Availability (by location)
- Fees & Services (& What You Get)
- Currencies (Spend, Exchange and Transfer)
- Top-Ups & Transfers
- Transfer Speed
- Cards & Accounts
- Reviews (inc. Negative Reviews)
- The good stuff (and differences)
- And the Winner Is!
Monese and Revolut let you quickly open digital current accounts (complete with IBAN) that can be managed from their excellent smart phone apps.
Get the Monese app here and learn more
Get the Revolut app here and learn more
Both services came into existence in 2015 and have scaled pretty quickly: 1.3 million people are using Monese in the UK and Europe; while over 8 million users have signed up for Revolut.
They both offer excellent options for making and receiving payments, foreign exchange transactions, setting up direct deposits, money transfers, and more.
Now lets look at some of the key differences;
Broadly speaking Monese is focused on being a bank alternative especially for expats, digital nomads and working travellers who are based in the UK and Europe. Meanwhile Revolut is focused on travellers – short and long term around the world. Both are fantastic options, depending on your needs.
Of course there is much more to this story;
You can sign up for a Monese or Revolut account easily from your smart phone by downloading their dedicated app and choosing a plan that aligns with your specific needs. In fact, Monese lets you sign up for an account without proof of a physical address or credit check. This is super convenient for folks who are moving to the UK or Eurozone and need an option to manage their funds without jumping through the verification hoops of your standard high-street banks.
Revolut, on the other hand, needs you to be at least 18 years or older and a legal resident of the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, or the United States.
Monese and Revolut accounts come with a contact-less debit card (best) (powered by MasterCard or Visa) that helps you save big on international money transfers, overseas ATM withdrawals, and transactions made in foreign currencies (with limits applicable according to your chosen plan).
Again, there’s a lot more than meets the eye, as we found out from digging through thousands of TrustPilot reviews, including negative reviews (below), of both the services.
So keep reading to find out which services is best for YOU.
But before we move on to the juicy details, here’s a quick snapshot of the pros and cons of each service.
The biggest difference between Monese and Revolut is their availability.
|You can bank like a local with a Monese account in the following 20 countries (only UK and the Eurozone): UK, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain||Revolut’s popularity is largely because of their wide availability. You can sign up for Revolut if you’re a legal resident of these 36 countries: Australia, US, Canada, Singapore, Bonaire, Switzerland and the EEA countries such as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.|
That is, Revolut is available in these 17 countries where Monese is not:
Australia, US, Canada, Singapore, Bonaire, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein, Romania and Sweden
You might also like Best Travel Cards which focuses on the cards available in USA, Europe, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
For many people, choosing a card primarily comes down to two things: the cost and getting the right services.
The good thing about both Monese (click for latest fees in your country) and Revolut (click for latest fees in your country) is that they’re radically transparent about the services included in each plan.
|Monese offers both business and personal accounts, where the latter is divided into 3 tiers:|
Simple Plan – Free
The Simple plan is a basic (free) current account that includes the following:
Classic Plan – £4.95/€4.95 per month
The Classic plan includes the following:
Premium Plan – 14.95/€14.95 per month
The Monese Premium Plan is built for ultimate flexibility. By paying an affordable monthly fee, you can enjoy free currency transfers, card top ups, and ATM withdrawals anywhere in the world.
Monese Businese account – flat fee of £9.95 per month (only for UK-registered businesses)
Check out our full review for Monese.
|Revolut also offers both business (review) and personal accounts, where the latter is divided into 3 tiers.Here are the UK prices of each plan. (Click here to see the subscription prices for your location)|
Standard Plan – Free
The Standard personal Revolut plan includes the following:
Premium Plan – £6.99 per month
The Premium personal plan includes all the benefits of the Standard Plan plus the following:
Metal – £12.99 per month
Metal personal accounts include all previous benefits, plus these awesome additional features:
Revolut Business Accounts
Revolut’s business plans are as well thought out as their personal plans, with dedicated tiers for companies as well as freelancers.
There are three for tiers for companies (including a free plan), where the price primarily varies based on the number of team members who can access the account, the number of foreign and international currency transfers, as well as the amount of monthly currency transfers.
Check out the Revolut for Business (company) prices here (paid plans starting at £25 per month).
Freelancers can either opt for the Free plan or the Professional plan (£7 per month).
Overall, with a Revolut Business Account you can:
Check out our full review for Revolut.
Both Monese and Revolut support a wide variety of currencies, whether you need to spend during your travels or transfer money internationally.
|You can use your Monese MasterCard-powered debit card to pay for utilities, food, accommodation, and other travel expenditures pretty much anywhere in the world (the Monese card is accepted in 200 countries).However, you can only opt for contact-less payments with GooglePay (check list for countries you can use it) and ApplePay (check list for countries you can use it) in supported countries.|
You can also transfer money to over 30 countries in 18 currencies with your Monese current account.
Just make sure that the selected currency matches that of the destination country. This is because Monese uses peer-to-peer money transfer methods instead of traditional international transfers.
|Revolut lets you spend in 140 currencies overseas at the interbank rate, wherever MasterCard and Visa are accepted (your Revolut card can either be powered by MasterCard or Visa, depending on your country of origin).The following currencies are currently not supported by Revolut:|
Armenian Dram, Bhutan Ngultrum, Cook Dollar, Cuban Convertible Dollar, Eritrean Nafka, Faroese Krona, Guernsey Pound, Iranian Rial, Jersey Pound, Kiribati Dollar, Manx Pound, North Korean Won, Sahrawi Peseta, Saint Helena Pound, Somali Shilling, Sudan Pound, Syrian Pound, Tuvaluan Dollar, Zimbabwean Dollar
Revolut also supports currency transfers in 29 different currencies.
There are many ways to top-up your Monese or Revolut account and initiate transfers.
|Topping up your Monese Account|
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.
Apart from direct debits and contactless payments, Monese offers 3 options to transfer funds.
Monese to Bank
Monese and PayPal
You can integrate PayPal with the Monese debit card for free for international transfers, however you will need a UK, French, Italian, Spanish or German address and at least £1/€1 in your Monese account.
After the integration, you will be able to see all your PayPal currencies and transactions in the Monese app. You can also choose to spend online through PayPal and have the amount deducted from your Monese account.
Monese to Monese
Monese to Monese transfers are instant and free in the UK (unlimited transfers). Standard FX charges (according to your selected plan) are applicable for international transfers.
|Topping up your Revolut Account|
You can top up your Revolut multi-currency card easily with bank issued debit and credit cards as well as via bank transfers.
Top ups with EEA issued cards are free at the Revolut end (although your bank charge you a small fee for loading up a prepaid card).
For bank transfers to top up your card, you will need to select the currency you want to load into your card, your local account details, IBAN details, and SWIFT details.
Revolut also offers contactless payments and direct debits for payment of goods and services. Other than that, you can send money to another bank account as well as initiate Revolut to Revolut transfers.
Revolut to Bank
Transferring to a bank from the Revolut app is simple:
You will have the option of an express transfer (turbo-boost) for a small fee.
Revolut to Revolut
Transferring between Revolut accounts is instant and free:
|Monese sends out all authorized domestic payments every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, using the Faster Payments Service. Funds are usually transferred within 2-4 hours in the UK.|
SEPA payments from Eurozone accounts are usually processed on the same working day if initiated before 11 AM CET.
International payments with Monese usually take 2-3 days and can vary according to the processing time of the receiving bank as well as the currency being transferred.
|Revolut can transfer money to a UK bank account in as little as two hours, although it’s normal for transfers to take 1-2 business days. Depending on the bank, it could take as many as 3-5 business days. International transfers take 3-5 business days.|
Turbo-boost is available for transfers, and can increase the transfer speed up to five times. There is a fee for turbo-boost transfers for Standard users, but turbo-boost is free for Premium and Metal members.
Both Revolut and Monese are known for their contactless debit cards that are widely accepted globally. But Revolut’s Metal card is particularly striking for its snazzy look and the range of perks.
However, there’s a major difference between the cards issued by these two new-age financial service providers.
Even though Revolut has a European banking license, its cards function as pre-paid debit cards where as the Monese card functions as a standard bank issued debit card that’s linked to a full-service Monese current account.
Another minor difference is that Revolut’s cards are either powered by MasterCard or Visa, depending on the country where its issued, but all Monese cards are powered by MasterCard.
Here’s a quick look at the Monese app UI
And here’s another lets you peek at Revolut’s app:
This is where the unbiased reviews of actual users come in.
8.1 What Works
Monese is rated 4.4/5 on Trustpilot with over 13,000 reviews, which is considered “Excellent.” Monese users rave about the quick and easy sign up process (no credit check) and the ability to have complete control over their money on the app.
Revolut is also considered “Excellent” with a 4.5/5 Trustpilot rating after over 51,000 reviews! Customers love the app UI, the ease of managing their expenses on the app, as well as the very cool Revolut Metal card + perks.
In the scheme of things these scores are very high – so you can be sure you are in the right track!
8.2 What Doesn’t Work
We love that Monese and Revolut are making making money management super easy for digital nomads and location independent individuals.
But there’s something to be said about those “Bad” and “Poor” reviews as these can help avoid some potential pitfalls.
That’s why we went through 100s of 1-star reviews of both services to project a clear picture of how they actually hold up in the wild.
|Monese has over 13,000 reviews on Trustpilot, and only 1% of them are “Poor.” That’s a great sign!|
Here’s how the reviews break down:
|Revolut has a larger customer base and about 4 times as many reviews as Monese (about 51,000). Only about 1% of Revolut users think their service is “Poor.”|
Here’s how the reviews break down:
Let’s address the most important complaints first: unexpected account freezes on Monese. However, on investigating further, we noted that most users were locked out of their accounts after going over cash top up limits and ATM withdrawal limits or if payments were inadvertently initiated for some unsupported services (according to Monese, this is due diligence for meeting FCA regulations to prevent financial crimes).
The next thing we looked into was fund transfer delays on Monese. While Monese to Monese transfers are instant, bank transfers do take a few hours.
Similarly, you can check out how long Revolut realistically will take to dispatch and deliver their cards heading to the ‘Cards’ section of the app. You should be able to see your physical card details and the estimated time of arrival.
On the other hand, referral bonuses not reflecting in user accounts mostly occur when new users don’t follow through the recommended sign up and top-up process.
Lastly, the common (and quite frequent) cause of dissatisfaction in both Monese and Revolut users is unresponsive customer service or standard unhelpful replies from chatbots. While this may be a cost-saving necessity for these services, it remains an important area of improvement.
8.4 Money Transfers
Apart from reviews, there is no substitute for money transfer companies if money transfers are important to you. The main reasons for this is that dedicated services are far better when it comes to dealing with banks at each end in different currencies. Costs and speed can also be important issues but especially when you are dealing with larger or important transfers, the systems and service required to ensure everything runs smoothly are super important.
8.5 Not Banks
Both Revolut and Monese compete with banks but they are not technically banks which can provide other advantages like interest on accounts, overdrafts, credit cards and loans. In addition it is banks are covered by a government guarantee of up to £85,000 in the UK for example.
Australia, Canada, USA and Europe have their own similar schemes.
If you need bank like services and still want a prepaid debit card N26 (review) may be a good option if you are in the Eurozone or UK. Other countries may need a bank in addition to one of these cards.
Monese and Revolut both offer cutting edge digital banking services for location independents and travellers.
However, some features and benefits do help them stand out from their competitors and each other.
All the additional benefits beyond making and receiving payments can really make it hard to choose a card. Although, the wider availability of Revolut makes it a little easier to lean in its favour. But then again, the prospect of having a full-service current account without any credit checks or address verification can be a decider.
Other than that, the best way to choose the service that’s right for YOU is to make a clear list of your “needs” and “nice to haves.” Now that you know what is possible, it is much easier to do this.
For expats or working holiday makers who have just arrived in the UK or Europe – Monese will be a clear choice due to the easy sign up process.
That said, for Europeans or Brits – Monese might be your best choice if you are looking to reduce costs and add a lot of additional low cost awesomeness into your daily banking and travel needs.
For serious travellers or those simply looking for a great prepaid debit card Revolut is a great choice. Those in Australia, US, Canada and Singapore have an excellent choice in Revolut.
And, don’t forget to consider the negative reviews (above) too as this can seriously save you some unwanted stress in the future.