Monese: Review

Read our in-depth Monese bank review, explore all the features and get pricing details

28th December, 2022


General Information: Monese

Monese is neobank based in London, UK that positions itself as an 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. Monese has an ambitious goal of making it easier to sort out your personal finances when relocating to the United Kingdom. Does the challenger digital-first bank live up to the expectations? Read our detailed review below and find out more about Monese pricing, features available, pros and cons of banking with Monese.

Monese logo

Monese: Quick Facts

Active Since 2015
Headquarters London, UK
Total Users 2'000'000+
Website monese.com
Personal Banking Free plan available
Business Banking From €9.95 p/m
Sign-up Bonus -
Shared Accounts Available

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 competitors such as bunq or Revolut. 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.

Looking to compare best business banking offers on the market? Monese's bank accounts for companies are also featured in our selection of in-depth "one-on-one" comparisons. Find the list of comparisons of Monese bank accounts by going to 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:

🇦🇹

Austria

🇧🇪

Belgium

🇨🇾

Cyprus

🇪🇪

Estonia

🇫🇮

Finland

🇫🇷

France

🇩🇪

Germany

🇬🇷

Greece

🇮🇪

Ireland

🇮🇹

Italy

🇱🇻

Latvia

🇱🇹

Lithuania

🇱🇺

Luxembourg

🇲🇹

Malta

🇳🇱

Netherlands

🇵🇹

Portugal

🇸🇰

Slovakia

🇸🇮

Slovenia

🇪🇸

Spain

🇬🇧

UK

Neobanks like Monese frequently feature bank cards that look great.

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. Interested? We'll dive into the differences of these plans below.

Simple

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.

Classic

€5.95 per month

Classic is the mid-tier plan offered by Monese. It comes at a price point of €5.95 per month, which is lower than the usual €7.99 monthly price tag usually seen with mid-tier subscriptions from other digital banks from the UK like Revolut. 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.

Banking for individuals on mobile.

Premium

€14.95 per month

Premium is the top-tier banking plan from Monese. With everything you get from Simple and Classic included, this plan gives you an even bigger allowance of free cash withdrawals and top-ups, as well as a higher limit for transactions and transfers in foreign currency. This plan is well worth it for those who are heavy cash users and these who frequently do transactions in foreign currencies.

Monese: Plan Comparison Table

Monese logo
Simple Classic Premium
Price, per month £ 0.00 £ 5.95 £ 14.95
Commitment Cancel monthly Cancel monthly Cancel monthly
Website monese.com
Accounts
IBANs BE, GB BE, GB BE, GB
Sub-accounts included 1 1 1
Shared accounts Free joint account Free joint account
Child accounts
Mobile Payments
Apple Pay ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Google Pay ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Samsung Pay
Other methods - - -
Cards
Cards available Mastercard Mastercard Mastercard
Cards included 1 1 1
Maestro/VPay
Debit cards ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Credit cards
Virtual cards ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Extra card fee - - -
Replacement fee £ 4.95 £ 4.95 £ 4.95
Free replacements - - -
Metal card
Wooden cards
Payment Methods
iDeal
SOFORT ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Bancontact
Various Fees
SWIFT (receive) N/A N/A N/A
Foreign exchange fee 2.00% 2.00% 1.50%
Currency fee-free limit - - -
ATM Withdrawals
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%
Interest Rate
Current accounts 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Savings accounts
Transaction & Deposit Limits
Deposit limit £ 50,000 £ 50,000 £ 50,000
Deposit Protection Up to £85'000
Monthly spend limit - - -
Other financial products
Overdraft
Investments in-app
Crypto trading
Cheques
Cashback
Insurance Accident, medical Accident, medical Accident, medical
Lounge access
Transaction categorization ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Purchase protection UK only UK only UK only
Round-up savings ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Budgeting features ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Deals & Discounts ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Other benefits Credit builder Free foreign spending Priority Support
Learn more
Go to monese.com
A variety of cards in multiple colors is available for Monese users.

Monese: Pros & Cons

Advantages

  • Plus sign
    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.
  • Plus sign
    Multi-currency options: Doesn't matter if you're in the Eurozone or the UK, you can bank like a local all over Europe.
  • Plus sign
    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.
  • Plus sign
    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.
  • Plus sign
    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.

Downsides

  • Minus sign
    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.
  • Minus sign
    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.
  • Minus sign
    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.
Monese also has stylish black bank cards.

Unique Benefits of Monese

Having a personal bank account at Monese offers a number of unique benefits. First, Monese makes it easy to open an account, with a simple online application process that allows you to get up and running in just a few minutes. Additionally, Monese offers a range of banking services, including the ability to make payments, transfer money, and access ATMs, all from the convenience of your smartphone. Monese also has a strong focus on security, with features such as bank-grade encryption to protect your financial information. Finally, Monese offers competitive fees and exchange rates, making it a cost-effective choice for managing your money. However, beyond all of this, 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.

Credit Builder

UK only

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.

Insurance

UK only

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.

Joint Accounts

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 benefits of having an extra rose-tinted card and up to 10 standalone saving "pots" available for any use cases you desire. You can then enable rounding up your purchases to contribute spare change to a dedicated savings account, making saving up for that dream vacation or a down payment on a card that much easier. 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.

New card design from Monese looks fresh and exciting.

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 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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Nurture your financial health.

Monese Alternatives

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 get familiar with our curated list of bank accounts from top EU neobanks and check out our "Best Digital Bank for Personal Banking in 2022" awards.

Monese bank also supports PayPal.

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?


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