7 Things You Need to Know – Only One Winner!
Monzo is a UK-based challenger bank offering full service current accounts and robust local money transfer capabilities.
Wise (formerly TransferWise), on the other hand, is an international money transfer giant that offers some banking features when you sign up for their Borderless Account.
To put it simply, Monzo and TransferWise offer fundamentally different services but with some overlaps like a prepaid MasterCard which is great for travel. That’s the root of all confusion, isn’t it?
We totally get it. 🙂
That’s why we uncover what exactly makes each service unique and attractive to their users so you can pick one that lines up with YOUR specific needs.
To help, we award a winner in each of the 7 important categories. (See
Let’s dive in!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
- Who Can get One?
- Detailed Account Features
- Cards and Fees
- Money Transfer
- Reviews (inc. Negative Ones)
- Safety & Security
- Customer Service and Support
Monzo is a completely digital bank that offers full-service current accounts to UK residents. With Monzo (review) you can easily set up direct debits to pay your bills, receive your salary, and manage your money efficiently with their cool budgeting features.
You can access Monzo both via their mobile app and from a web app during emergencies. Monzo also offers a prepaid Mastercard debit card that can be used to pay for goods and services anywhere in the world. The card also lets you make free ATM withdrawals in the UK and while traveling abroad (limits apply).
TransferWise is an international money transfer big wig who offer local and international currency transfers to 60+ countries around the world. They’re known for their low and transparent fee structure and are available in 50+ countries worldwide.
Here is why you might choose TransferWise over Monzo:
TransferWise Borderless is an extension of their currency transfer service that equips you with some banking features. These include a multi-currency account (so that you can hold, transfer, and convert multiple currencies) and international bank details in most major currencies (GBP, USD, AUD, CAD, NZD), and the ability to pay and get paid like a local.
The Borderless account (review) also comes with a prepaid Mastercard debit card that can be used for ATM withdrawals and to pay for goods and services while travelling.
TransferWise Borderless card (review) is available in the UK, US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
|Monzo is only available to UK citizens above 16 years of age.|
The best thing about Monzo is that you don’t need an address proof to sign up for an account.
|TransferWise is available in 59 countries and lets you send money to 60 countries world wide.|
But the TransferWise Borderless card is available in the UK, US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
TransferWise and TransferWise Borderless are available in almost all countries around the world. This gives you immense flexibility to pay (friends, family, or contractors), get paid (personal or business payments), and hold money in multiple currencies no matter where you are.
However, you will need an address proof at the sign-up stage to make sure you’re creating an account from an area TransferWise services.
Check the full list of currencies supported by TransferWise Borderless here.
Monzo offers a full service current accounts (and even joint accounts) that can go up against any high street bank in the UK. So if you’re looking to jump ship to a digital bank, manage your personal and business finances efficiently, and travel hassle-free with a Mastercard debit card, you can’t go wrong with Monzo. The only catch is – you have to be a UK resident.
However, if you’re planning to stick with your high street bank account but looking for a lot of flexibility when it comes to international fund transfers and paying for goods and services while traveling, TransferWise is a great choice.
As you can you see, both the cards are pretty similar in how they operate and what they offer.
If you’re in the UK, the Monzo card will serve you well whether you need to pay for your daily expenses at home or while traveling.
The TransferWise card can get a bit expensive with the foreign exchange fee, but it’s much more affordable than making online payments and withdrawing money abroad from your high street bank debit card.
|There are 5 ways to transfer money with Monzo:|
Things to note:
|TransferWise supports both local and international payments with a low, transparent fee structure.|
With TransferWise you can only send money to another bank account. But this is convenient because your recipient has instant access to the funds once the transfer is complete.
You can both send and receive money (local and international payments) with TransferWise.
Currently, TransferWise supports transfers in 40+ currencies worldwide.
Monzo is a great option for sending money and receiving money in the UK. Monzo to Monzo transfers are instant and free and direct payments to UK bank accounts are also fast and cheap. But Monzo isn’t ideal if you need to move money across borders or receive international payments. In fact, you’ll end up paying double for international transfers since Monzo banks on TransferWise for these.
Since TransferWise is primarily a currency transfer company, they support transfers between a large number of countries and currencies. The Borderless account also helps you get paid like a local while traveling abroad.
TransferWise doesn’t offer free or instant transfers in any location, but most transfers are typically completed within the same day (or 2-4 days at most).
|Monzo is rated 4.5/5 on Trustpilot with over 7,500 reviews.80% of Monzo users had an “Excellent” experience while 5% had a “Good” experience banking with Monzo.|
Most people love the easy to use app, the quick sign up process, and the fast Monzo to Monzo transfers.
However, we were concerned about the 12% of users who had a “Bad” experience with the service due to unexpected account freezes.
As a regulated bank, Monzo routinely audits user accounts to prevent theft, fraud, or other illegal activities. They may also freeze your account if they feel your Monzo account is under threat.
In most cases, users were allowed back into the account after resetting their password.
But we realize it can be frustrating if you’re stranded with no access to your funds.
That’s why we recommend splitting your funds between your regular bank accountyou’re your Monzo account.
Check out our full review of Monzo.
|TransferWise scores 4.6/5 on Trustpilot with over 86,000 reviews.86% of users had an “Excellent” experience and 8% had a “good” experience transferring money with them.|
Most users turn to TransferWise time and again for their transparent fee structure, affordable rates, and easy-to-use interface.
However, 3% of users had a “bad” experience with the service.
We narrowed the top causes of dissatisfaction down to transfer delays and unexpected account suspensions.
But here’s the good news: TransferWise is super responsive to user requests and strives to solve their issues quickly and efficiently.
In our experience, both Monzo and TransferWise have always delivered on their promises. Depending on your unique needs, you can’t go wrong with either because they’re both committed to creating truly user-centric products and services.
|Monzo is a registered bank in the UK, which means your money is safeguarded by the same security and regulatory protocols employed by the high street banks.Plus, if Monzo shuts down, you have guaranteed fund protection of up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) which you can check.|
Also, Monzo verifies all purchases in the app and via text messages to double check that the payments have indeed been authorized by you.
|TransferWise is a registered and regulated financial services provider in all the major countries it services.For example, it’s regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in Australia, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) in Canada, etc.|
Morever, TransferWise verifies all user accounts and audits transfers to prevent theft, fraud, or money laundering. Plus, they have industry-leading encryption protocols to make sure your account and transfers are completely secure.
However, since TransferWise is not a bank, your funds are not protected under a government guarantee.
That’s why we recommend transferring funds to your multi-currency wallet shortly before initiating a transfer to lock in the exchange rate.
Both Monzo and TransferWise are registered and regulated financial institutions who strive to protect your data and your money with robust security protocols. Also, kudos to Monzo for going the extra mile with the FSCS protection guarantee for their users.
Rest assured, you’ll have a smooth and secure experience of holding and transferring money with either service.
|Monzo has a thriving Q&A forum and a fairly comprehensive help section on their website.Existing Monzo users can reach out to Monzo’s customer service via the chat option in the app.|
But it’s a little difficult to get hold of their customer service team via phone since they don’t list the number on their website. This can be quite disheartening for users who need to speak to a human during an emergency.
We’ve noticed that this is a common problem for most challenger banks since their operations are fully digital and they keep costs low by working with a remote customer service team.
|You can reach TransferWise via phone, email or live chat (this may be unavailable depending on their work load).They also have an extensive FAQs section and country-specific guides to help you with your transfers.|
Finally, TransferWise has a reputation of rising to the occasion and helping their users swiftly and efficiently in case of emergencies.
TransferWise works hard to create a great user experience by publishing comprehensive online guides and by ensuring their customer service team is easy to reach.
If Monzo wants to retain the loyalty of their existing customers and onboard new customers with ease, they need to improve the customer support aspect of their business.
Here’s how the scorecard looks: 2 wins for Wise (was TransferWise), 1 for Monzo, and 4 ties.
TransferWise is the winner if you have to choose.
But now that you have read this, you will know their core functions are quite different.
Monzo is a fully digital challenger bank whose banking capabilities are stronger. So if you’re a UK resident, and are looking for a worthy challenger bank you can’t go wrong with Monzo.
TransferWise is primarily a money transfer service with some very useful banking features (such as holding money for transfers, paying folks, and receiving payments).
So which service is best for you ultimately comes down to your specific needs.