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Monese enables users to create a convenient online money account and issue international money transfers. The company is based in the United Kingdom. They were one of the firsts purely mobile-based “current account” providers.
With Monese account, you can receive your salary, shop online, make purchases at stores, and withdraw cash from ATMs just like you would do with your regular bank account. The most significant feature is that you can open the UK account without having a UK address, which enables foreigners and work immigrants financially.
It’s important to remember that the platform operates solely on your mobile phone, and you don’t need to visit their branch or local facility and stand in queues to fill out any documents. Just download the Android or iOS app, and you are ready to go.
There are three types of accounts and price plans, which you can set up at Monese. “Starter” is the basic free account, which allows you to send and exchange money. There will be additional fees added up when exchanging money or adding balance to the account.
“Plus” account costs 4.95 euro per month and grants you free ATM withdrawals and better exchange rates. They explain that: “This package is best for active users who plan to use Monese as their main account or use cash and international transfers frequently.”
“Premium” account costs 14.95 euros monthly and eliminates all of the additional fees. This is a package best for people who make a lot of international transactions and exchange money a lot, as get the best rates and no conversion fees. There are also free and unlimited cash top-ups.
With all of the accounts, you can use their special plastic card to pay conveniently in all stores and online.
With the basic account, you get 2% fee when exchanging the funds. There could also be some hidden markup of the rate. Therefore, the expenses might add up quickly. However, it’s worth noting that when you purchase the “Premium” account type, there are no additional fees when exchanging money. You can also use ATMs in different countries and exchange and withdraw funds there when you are abroad without additional costs.
It’s important to remember that Monese UK account maximum balance is 40,000 GBP. The rest of the limits are connected with methods of top-ups. For example, PayPoint topups have a limit of 249 GBP per transaction and 500 GBP per day. You also can't withdraw more than 300 GBP. With your plastic card, the payments are limited to 4000 GBP per transaction and 7000 GBP per day.
It’s an interesting comparison because Monese, in a way, acts as a small bank for the user. You get your own card, account number, and can receive and send money or spend it in stores. However, Monese service seems to be much cheaper than offers from popular banks. But you need to be careful because the platform operates solely on your mobile phone.
In order to use Monese, you need to download their mobile app and create an account.
Visit Google Play if you are on Android or AppStore if you have an Apple device and download the Monese app. You can also type your phone number on their website, and you will get SMS with the details on how to set up your account.
Monese is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Electronic Money Regulations and is an official and legal provider of online financial services. The users' money is held in separate accounts, which means the funds are not mixed with the company’s finances and are always protected and withdrawable.
Moreover, your account can only be accessed from a single mobile device, which means no one can hack into your account. If you happen to lose your phone, the money is still protected with a 5 digit password, which you need to type every time you enter the app. You also get a notification about every transaction and use case. Therefore, you can easily track any unusual activity.
Monese seems to be perceived positively among mobile users. The app has a rating of 4.5/5.0 stars in the Google Play store, and everyone is praising the platform for being easy to use. There haven’t been any notable scandals or public issues with the company. Some of the users reported that they have frozen their accounts without giving a reason and are taking long to release the funds, but the majority of opinions found online are positive.
In general, Monese reviews are quite positive:
“I just moved from abroad last month, and I used Monese since they didn't require a UK address. Easy setup, and you get an account in your home currency and a UK one, between which you can move money around freely. Very handy for deposits, renting, etc. [...]” ~ awesome_mccoolname on Reddit
“I recommend Monese - absolutely 5 stars, application is easy to use, opening an account is really fast, it was only 5 minutes. My card arrived also fast, now I use my new account and my new card! Thank you Monese!” ~ Barbara on Trustpilot
There doesn’t seem to be many problems when it comes to the app, customer support, or transfers. The majority of complaints focus on the costs of services, especially the number of hidden fees and additional charges.
“Too many charges for almost everything.” ~ one of the customers on Trustpilot
“I feel unsure about using this account as I'm not sure what charges will be made or charged! I was very surprised that I had to pay over £4 for my card for what is normally a free service from most banks! [...]” ~ Joseph on Trustpilot
They have call centers established in multiple countries. Therefore, you can most likely call your local branch of Monese. They support languages like English, Spanish, French, German, or Portugal, just to name a few. All of the numbers are transparently provided in the contact section on the website. You can also reach them via email or visit the help section, where you can find answers to most of the basic questions and tutorials on how to use the app.
Their mobile app is undoubtedly a convenient method to handle your money abroad. They allow you to set up a UK account, which you might need to pay a rent or get your salary, without needing UK address, which could be required when opening a regular bank account. The charges and fees are quite complicated, and it may be hard to calculate the final costs, but the three different pricing plans seem to be reasonable. You can open the type of account that you need. The app is ranked high by the users, and the majority of reviews found online is positive. Therefore, the service seems to be reliable.
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