Wise Vs Monzo

7 Things You Need to Know – Only One Winner!

Wise and Monzo are changing banking the world over. On the surface they seem similar.

Monzo Vs Wise

Both have great cards, apps and allow cheaper travel overseas and purchases on other currencies.

However, when you use both the differences soon become quite apparent.

Here’s the deal:

In the next 5 minutes, you will see how Wise and Monzo stack up in 7 key criteria.

From this, you will be able to decide which is right for you.

Let’s dive in!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

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The Big Difference

  1. Who Can get One?
  2. Detailed Account Features
  3. Cards and Fees
  4. Money Transfer
  5. Reviews (inc. Negative Ones)
  6. Safety & Security
  7. Customer Service and Support

Verdict

The Big Difference

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).

Here is why you might choose Wise over Monzo: If you are a person who does more overseas than travel.

Wise is a versatile multi currency account that lets you hold, manage, and convert between 50+ currencies. You can also get paid like a local in 10 currencies. And their card works with the account so that management of multiple currencies is both inexpensive and far easier than traditional banks.

Get the latest on Wise account and card.

Here is why you might choose Monzo over Wise: If you are a resident of the UK and want banking that is better than high street banking.

Monzo is a completely digital UK based bank (with a full banking license). Although you can only hold British Pounds, they offer 3 card levels, loans, overdrafts and even pay a small interest rate on savings. When it comes to travel Monzo uses the Mastercard exchange rate to inexpensively pay for things abroad.

Monzo Pros

Wise Pros

  • Licensed and registered challenger bank in the UK
  • Offers full-service current accounts with interest on funds stored in savings pots (See “Detailed Account Features” below)
  • Offers a Mastercard debit card for ATM withdrawals, online payments, and for payments while traveling abroad (See “Cards and Fees” below)
  • Funds protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
  • Can be accessed both via mobile app and web app (in case of emergencies)
  • Offers both personal and business accounts
  • Licensed money transfer service regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
  • Wise Multi Currency Account is available in these countries
  • Low and transparent fees for international transfers at the interbank rate
  • Offers multicurrency accounts and international bank details in major currencies (See “Detailed Account Features” below).
  • Offers a prepaid Mastercard debit card that is globally accepted for payment of goods and services (See “Cards and Fees” below)
  • Can be accessed both via mobile app and website
  • Offers both personal and business accounts

Monzo Cons

Wise Cons

  • Only available in the UK
  • You can only hold money in GBP
  • Can’t receive international transfers
  • Not real bank, therefore no interest, loans and overdrafts
  • No direct debit or money management features
  • Funds not protected by FSCS

1. Who Can Get One?

Monzo

Wise

Monzo is only available to UK citizens above 16 years of age.Wise Multi Currency Account is available in 50+ countries and lets you send money to many more.

Winner: Wise

Wise and the Wise Multi Currency Account are available in an ever growing list of countries.

Check you can get one and any limitations here.

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 Wise services.

2. Detailed Account Features

Monzo

Wise

  • Free to open and hold a a full service current account
  • Hold money in GBP
  • Easily set up direct debits to pay for bills and utilities
  • Create savings pots and earn interest on your savings
  • Get your salary credited by sharing your unique Monzo account number with your employer
  • Pay friends and family in the UK easily and fast (See “Money Transfer” below)
  • Easy budgeting and bill splitting features (split bills with friends who don’t have Monzo)
  • Offers joint accounts that you can bank efficiently with a partner or a flatmate (both need a regular Monzo account to get started)
  • Instant notifications for payments
  • Fund your account with a bank transfer, cash deposit at a PayPoint location, or cheque deposit
  • Offers pre-approved overdraft features and loans
  • Open a dedicated business account to manage your business finances (with multi user access and integration with key business apps)
  • Free to open and hold an account
  • Hold, manage, and transfer 40+ currencies with the Wise and Wise borderless multi-currency accounts.
  •  
  • Get international bank details in USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, and NZD with Wise Borderless
  • Send money directly to your recipient’s bank account.
  • Get paid like a local and transfer money like a local with the Borderless Account.
  •  

Get the latest list of currencies supported by Wise Multi Currency Account.

  • Fund your account and transfers with cash, check, or direct deposit
  • Open a dedicated business account (generate invoices, pay and get paid, integrate with business apps)

Winner: Monzo

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 have a UK address.

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, Wise is a great choice.

3. Cards and Fees

Monzo

Wise

  • Mastercard debit card that’s accepted globally
  • Zero foreign exchange fees when you use it while traveling abroad
  • Free ATM withdrawals in the European Economic Zone (no upper limit) and abroad (up to £200 per month; a 3% fee is applicable over the limit). However, some ATMs may charge a convenience fee.
  • No card delivery fee but you do need to pay a £30 card replacement fee if you lose it abroad
  • Integrates with Gpay and Apple Pay for contactless payments
  • Freeze and unfreeze card from the app
  • Only available in the UK
  • Issues a globally accepted MasterCard
  • Foreign exchange fees applicable on payments while traveling abroad (0.35%-2.85%, depending on the currency but typically at the lower end for major currencies)

Examples:

  • from EUR to USD 0.41%
  • from USD to GBP 0.45%
  • from USD to EUR 0.45%
  • from AUD to USD 0.47%

Get the exact fees you will pay with their calculator.

  • Free ATM withdrawals up to £200 per month; a 2% fee is applicable over the limit
  • Integrates with Gpay and ApplePay for contactless payments
  • Freeze and unfreeze card from the app
  • No card delivery fee or renewal fees
  • Available in the UK, US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and NewZealand
  • Winner: Tie

    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 Wise 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.

    4. Money Transfer

    Monzo

    Wise

    There are 5 ways to transfer money with Monzo:

    1. Monzo to Monzo payments to anyone in the UK (instant and free)
    2. Send money to anyone by email, text, or via social media (you don’t need their banking details – they’ll get a link to sign up for Monzo to claim their funds)
    3. Bluetooth payments with the “Nearby Friends” feature in the Monzo app
    4. You can also initiate a regular bank transfer from your Payments screen in the app (UK bank accounts only). The receiving bank may charge a convenience fee in some cases.
    5. For international transfers, Monzo partners with Wise. Currently, Monzo supports transfers from GBP to 35 currencies. Fees include Monzo’s fee (£0.5-3.0) + Wise’s % fee on the interbank exchange rate.

    Things to note:

    • There’s a £10,000 pound limit for sending money through Monzo
    • You can’t receive international payments with Monzo
    Wise supports both local and international payments with a low, transparent fee structure.

    • You can fund your transfer with a credit card, debit card, or location-specific payment methods like iDEAL or Sofort.
    • They charge a % over the interbank exchange rate, which is extremely competitive compared to their peers and high street banks (who charge 3-5% of each transfer).
    • You can check out the exact fees you’ll pay on the currency convertor widget on their home page.
    • Plus, Wise has bank details in all the areas it services so there are no unexpected deductions for you or your recipient.

    With Wise 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 Wise.

    Currently, Wise supports transfers in 40+ currencies worldwide.

    Winner: Tie

    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 uses Wise for these.

    Since Wise is primarily a currency transfer company, they support transfers between a large number of countries and currencies. The account also helps you get paid like a local while traveling abroad.

    Wise 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).

    5. Reviews (inc. Negative Ones)

    Monzo

    Wise

    Monzo is rated 4.5/5 on Trustpilot with over 19,000 reviews.

    80% of Monzo users had an “Excellent” experience while 8% had a “Good” or “Average” experience 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 some of the 12% of users who had a “Bad” experience with the service, many due to difficulty opening account, issues using credit and unexpected account freezes.

    As a regulated bank, Monzo routinely audits user accounts to prevent theft, fraud, or other illegal activities. They may also may not open or restrict your account if they feel your Monzo account is under threat.

    Check out our full review of Monzo.

    Wise scores 4.6/5 on Trustpilot with over 135,000 reviews. 85% of users had an “Excellent” experience and 9% had a “Good” or “Average” experience transferring money with them.

    Most users turn to Wise time and again for their transparent fee structure, affordable rates, and easy-to-use interface.

    However, 6% 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: Wise is super responsive to user requests and strives to solve their issues quickly and efficiently.

    Check out our full reviews of Wise Transfers and Wise Multi Currency Account.

    Winner: Tie

    In our experience, both Monzo and Wise have always delivered on their promises. Depending on your unique needs, one of these could work well because they’re both committed to creating truly user-centric products and services.

    6. Safety & Security

    Monzo

    Wise

    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.

    Wise 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, Wise 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 Wise 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.

    Winner: Tie

    Both Monzo and Wise 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.

    7. Customer Service and Support

    Monzo

    Wise

    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 Wise 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, Wise has a reputation of rising to the occasion and helping their users swiftly and efficiently in case of emergencies.

    Winner: Wise

    Wise 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.

    Verdict

    Here’s how the scorecard looks: 2 wins for Wise (was Wise), 1 for Monzo, and 4 ties.

    Wise is the winner if you have to choose.

    Get the latest on Wise account and card here.

    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 without the international extras, Monzo could be a great option.

    Wise 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.

    Happy Money!

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