Review: Monese Bank Accounts
Read our in-depth Monese bank review, explore all the features and get pricing details
General Information: Monese
Monese is mobile-first bank based in London, UK that positions itself as a modern alternative to banking "the traditional way". Founded in 2015 by Norris Koppel, who experienced numerous issues trying to open a bank account at a high street bank back when he's just moved to the UK. As such, it is fair to say Monese was created with UK expats as the target audience. This fintech has an ambitious goal of making it easier to sort out your personal finances when relocating to the United Kingdom. Does the challenger bank live up to the expectations? Read our detailed Monese review below and find out more about Monese pricing, features available, pros and cons of banking with Monese.
Monese: Key Facts
|Personal Banking||Free plan available|
|Business Banking||From €9.95 p/m|
Monese is available all across Europe and has already become a favorite of many, reporting a grand total of over 2 million users today. The innovative fintech caters to both individuals as well as business customers. For personal banking, it offers a very simple plan structure similar to what's offered by any other neobank. In this detailed Monese bank review our team of experts will evaluate this neobank so you can make an informed decision and see whether this challenger bank from London fits your needs.
Monese's bank accounts are also featured in our selection of in-depth "one-on-one" comparisons of the most popular and the best bank accounts in Europe. Read these by visiting the links below:
Looking to learn more about amazing digital banks and financial apps? Monese is featured in some of the guides and ratings previously published on our website - make sure to take a look if you're searching for a new bank account:
Monese: Countries Supported
Monese is available for citizens and residents of the following countries:
Monese: Plans Available
This London-based neobank offers a grand total of three plans for personal banking. These options are: a basic but free "Monese Simple" subscription, a solid "Monese Classic" mid-tier offering or an all-in "Monese Premium" plan. These vary greatly in the amount of features available to customers, their prices and various limits.
However, regardless of your decision, there are quite a few benefits offered to clients of all plans. For instance, you can get bank accounts in EUR, GBP and RON. And you always have instant notifications about your transactions, Apple Pay & Google pay and more. Sounds interesting? Follow along as we do a deep-dive into the differences of these plans below.
No monthly cost
Simple is Monese's no-hassle, feature-rich entry plan. You can open an account easily from your mobile device and get a digital account for your everyday banking needs. A free debit Mastercard is included, along with Apple or Google Pay, budget insights as well as multi-currency accounts in GBP, EUR and RON. You can easily transfer money abroad in 15 currencies including USD, AUD, PLN and more.
€5.95 per month
Classic is Monese's mid-tier plan that's packed with an impressive set of features - for the majority of people, it's got everything you need for day-to-day banking. It comes at an attractive price point of £5.95 per month, which is lower than the £7.99 price tag we expect from a UK-based digital bank. Classic gives you free limits for cash deposits, withdrawal and more. It's worth mentioning that with this plan you can spend in foreign currencies free of any fees.
Bank Accounts for Individuals
Read our detailed reviews of personal bank accounts available at some of the world's most popular online banks, compare the plans they offer, explore their pricing and discover all the hidden fees.
€14.95 per month
Premium is the top-tier bank account from Monese. It builds on top of the benefits enjoyed by Simple and Classic users, improving these in almost all regards. These include, but are not limited to: an even bigger allowance of free ATM withdrawals and top-ups, higher limit for transactions and transfers in currencies. This subscription is well worth it for those who are heavy cash users and these who frequently do transactions in foreign currencies.
Monese: Plan Comparison Table
|Price, per month||£ 0.00||£ 5.95||£ 14.95|
|Commitment||Cancel monthly||Cancel monthly||Cancel monthly|
|IBANs||BE, GB||BE, GB||BE, GB|
|Shared accounts||❌||Free joint account||Free joint account|
|Extra card fee||-||-||-|
|Replacement fee||£ 4.95||£ 4.95||£ 4.95|
|Foreign exchange fee||2.00%||2.00%||1.50%|
|Currency fee-free limit||-||-||-|
|Daily limit||£ 500||£ 500||£ 900|
|Free withdrawals, per month||-||-||-|
|After that, per withdrawal||£ 1.50 + 2.0%||2.0%||2.0%|
|Withdrawal fee abroad||2.0%||2.0%||2.0%|
|Transaction & Deposit Limits|
|Deposit limit||£ 50,000||£ 50,000||£ 50,000|
|Deposit Protection||Up to £85'000|
|Monthly spend limit||-||-||-|
|Other financial products|
|Insurance||Accident, medical||Accident, medical||Accident, medical|
|Purchase protection||UK only||UK only||UK only|
|Deals & Discounts||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Other benefits||Credit builder||Free foreign spending||Priority Support|
Go to monese.com
Monese: Pros & Cons
- Easy and Simple: Monese delivers a textbook experience of a digital alternative to a high street bank. You can sign up and complete verification directly in the app and start using the account straightaway.
- Multi-currency options: Doesn't matter if you're in the Eurozone or the UK, you can bank like a local all over Europe.
- Pay as you go: Unlike most mobile banks, you have access to the same variety of features no matter which plan you choose. If you don't plan to use it as your main bank account, a free "Monese Simple" account would suffice.
- Pots with interest: This is not a unique selling point, but Monese does have a very smooth integration with Raisin for you to take advantage of interests on the money you're putting away.
- Cash-friendly: Many mobile banks have more stringent fees or limitations on cash withdrawals and popups but it seems Monese wants to make it easier even if you use cash frequently.
- Slow product development: Monese delivers quality, but the pace of innovation is fairly slow compared to some other banks, so it might not be a good choice for you if you're looking for a bank filled with amazing cutting-edge features released monthly.
- Technically not a bank: Monese has an e-money license, meaning there is no deposit guarantee scheme for you to take advantage of. It does not mean that Monese is not safe, there is still a high level of regulatory oversight, frequent financial audit and a wide range of compliance controls in place, but it is important to understand the subtle legal differences.
- Limit on account balance: There is a balance limit of €50,000 that applies across all the plans available, so if you intend to hold large sums on your current account, you might want to consider an alternative.
Unique Benefits of Monese
Having a personal bank account at Monese offers a wide range of unique benefits. For starters, it's very easy to open a Monese account - a simple and very straightforward account creation process will have you up and running in under 10 minutes. Next to it, Monese offers a range of banking services that fully cover the day-to-day banking needs of most people. These include, but are not limited to: an ability to pay with your Monese card (online and in-person), execute bank transfers and withdraw cash from ATMs, all from the convenience of your smartphone.
It's also important to note that Monese invests heavily in security, featuring high-grade encryption to protect your financial information and powerful transaction monitoring algorithms designed to combat money laundering and fraud. In addition to these, Monese manages to offer very competitive exchange rates and an attractive fee structure overall, making it a cost-effective choice for managing your money. But the benefits do not stop there - next to your "bread and butter" suite of banking essentials, Monese offers a few truly exciting features that make it unique in one way or another. Let's take a look at some of these.
If you've just finished your studies and are entering the workforce or you're a foreigner who's just moved to the UK, chances are, you don't really have a credit history. This might negatively impact your chances of securing a mortgage or getting an attractive rate on your car loan. This is where Monese's "Credit Builder" comes into play - using it, you can improve your credit history for just £2.50 a month (this is synonymous to an APR of 9.10% annually). Building your credit history hassle and interest-free has never been so easy.
On top of that, starting from the 4th payment, you can now use "Monese Boost". This feature allows you to select a past card transaction up to £300 and choose to pay it in installments instead. Not only can this be useful in a pinch, but it also accelerates the rate at which you build your credit score.
A unique benefit - built-in purchase protection (we previously wrote an article on benefits like purchase protection & extended warranty and its availability at various banks) for everything you buy using a Monese card. On top of that, you get "Bills Protection", which is essentially a loss of income insurance - with it, you don't need to worry if you're temporarily unable to work due to sickness or an accident. Your recurring bills will be covered automatically.
Note: only available in the UK for users on "Classic" or "Premium" plans. The coverage depends on which plan you choose.
Available for free
A nice-to-have benefit, especially if you find yourself doing a lot of online and cross-border payments. Monese users can link their PayPal and Monese accounts to conveniently track their PayPal balance and see transactions in near real-time directly from their Monese apps. On top of this, to get easier and faster payments, it is possible to simply add your Monese card to the PayPal wallet, making subsequent payments a breeze.
Up to 10 pots
Opening a joint account with Monese is extremely easy. Once one of you finishes their onboarding and has an account ready, all they need to do is to invite the other person via the app and... That's it! You can now start saving, spending and budgeting together, with the additional benefit of having an extra rose-tinted bank card and up to 10 standalone saving "pots" you can use for any purpose.
Monese joint accounts can also be used effortless savings - you can enable rounding up your purchases to contribute spare change to a dedicated savings account. This feature makes saving up for that dream vacation that much easier (despite not being a novelty - for instance, Revolut joint accounts come with the same feature as well). Monese shared bank accounts are easy to set up and bring significant value at low cost - which is why we featured Monese in our selection of the best joint bank accounts.
Monese: Frequently Asked Questions
Is Monese reliable? Will my money be safe at Monese?
Yes, Monese is a reliable fully accredited financial institution. The company is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom. Monese is also a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), meaning that your deposits are protected up to £85,000 (or €100,000) no matter what.
Is Monese a real bank?
Monese is an e-money financial institution authorized by Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. Technically, Monese accounts are e-money accounts provided by PrePay Solutions, who is authorised and regulated by the FCA and the National Bank of Belgium (NBB). This does not mean your funds are not secure at Monese - in fact, the neobank is legally obliged to store all of customers' deposits without investing or using them in any other way. That gives Monese a slight edge over the competition in extreme market turbulence scenarios.
How long does it take to open a Monese account?
It should take no more than 10 minutes to open an account at Monese. After visiting the official website, just start your sign-up on desktop or download the app, complete the standard identity verification process and that's it! You can then start using your new Monese bank account immediately. For example, by making purchases using your virtual card.
How long does it take to get a Monese card?
You can order your Monese bank card as soon as you open an account. Your new card will be delivered to your home address, usually within 5-7 working days. Meanwhile, you are free to use the virtual card, also via Google Pay or Apple Pay.
How do I top up my Monese account?
You deposit funds into your Monese account in several ways: either via bank transfer, using a debit or credit card, by adding money via either Apple Pay or Google Pay, depositing cash at a PayPoint or simply loading your account with cash at the post office. Convenience and the abundance of options, especially when dealing with cash, is one of Monese's selling points.
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Looking for a different bank offering bank accounts that are similar to Monese? Our experts prepared a hand-picked selection of three great Monese alternatives that might better suit your needs - you can find them below! We also urge you to explore our "Best Digital Banks for Personal Banking Available Today" ranking prepared in collaboration with digital finance experts.
Europe's biggest neobank, Revolut is a pioneer of mobile-first banking. Offering a wide range of financial services and banking products, including (but not limited to!) trading stocks and crypto, Revolut is a safe option regardless of customer's country of residence.
Promising assistance in "taking control of your money with one card and one app" to its users, Curve quickly gained popularity in the UK. Unique product that consolidates all your cards and accounts in one place, while categorizing payments and providing cashback.
Summary: Is Monese worth it?
The result of our assessment: Monese no doubt has an attractive offering for expats. The plans and features available do deliver on its goal to make moving abroad in Europe more pain-free. There are quite some nice budgeting features that can give you more control over your finances using the account for your everyday needs. If you are a person who uses cash a lot, Monese becomes a very strong contender for you as it gives more options with pretty fair and low fees.
In conclusion, we at Fintech Compass strongly recommend checking out Monese, especially if you are an expat in any country within the European Economic Area. Convenience, product quality, the packaging - Monese is guaranteed to be a solid choice in case you want an easy-to-use banking product, frequently travel abroad or value having an option of swift and budget-friendly currency exchange between EUR, GBP and RON. It also works great if you're a freelancer looking to combine business expenses and your personal bank account under one roof. At the end of the day, the app is free to download and it only takes five minutes to create an account and try it out. So why not give it a chance?