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Bank Accounts Last update: Apr 18, 2024

Monese Review: The Good, The Bad, and The Money-Savvy

Monese the Online App for EU and UK Residents

Starting from

£0

Best for

  • Easy-to-Use Interface
  • Free Plan (with Limitations)
Photo of Josep Garcia

Written by

Josep Garcia

Josep Garcia

Upcashwise Advisor

I'm Josep Garcia, originally from Barcelona. I launched my own website in 2016, focusing on personal finance, which has been live since 2018. Since then, I've continuously produced online content related to personal finances, covering topics like banking and investment products, and also creating videos on these subjects. In 2023, I decided to deepen my expertise in finance and obtained my EFPA (#37363) certification in financial advisement.

Photo of Josep Garcia

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Monese operates as a digital bank catering to users in the EU and UK, boasting 2+ million users since it came out in 2015. The platform offers a free plan with some additional fees and paid subscription options that grant additional perks such as accident insurance and purchase protection.

Josep Garcia, financial expert at Upcashwise.com

I occasionally use Monese, though with some reservations, as I’ll detail below. For this review, I’ve tested Monese’s app, explored their pricing, and thoroughly analysed customer feedback. That’s why I’m sharing my honest experience with Monese and comparing it with alternatives like Revolut and Wise.

Josep GarciaEFPA Financial Advisor

Let’s begin and delve into a comprehensive Monese review.

Monese Review Summary

Monese is a user-friendly digital bank with a well-designed interface that simplifies banking tasks. The convenience of opening an account 100% online is a significant advantage, and they offer an optional joint account feature for added flexibility. While their free plan is an option, it’s important to be aware of the extra charges it may entail, such as fees for inactivity or using the card abroad. Additionally, Monese does allow cash deposits, though there may be associated charges.

Monese Josep Garcia Account to Review
Monese Josep Garcia Account to Review

However, in comparison to some competitors like Wise or Revolut, Monese has limitations in terms of currency options and doesn’t offer interest on deposited money. Furthermore, Monese charges more fees for services that others provide for free, which can be a drawback. Another notable downside is the absence of investment options within the platform.

Monese Pros & Cons

Pros

Well-Designed

Monese comes with a user-friendly interface that simplifies banking tasks, making it easy for users to navigate and manage their finances. Monese platform features are more limited on computers.

Support

It provides support through chat, phone, and email in multiple languages, ensuring users have access to assistance when needed.

Joint Account

Sharing a Monese joint account lets two users manage money together, each having a separate card for convenience.

Free Option

Monese’s free plan offers valuable services, but keep in mind additional fees for transfers and international card use.

Insurances

Paid Monese plans come with various protections, such as sickness and accident insurance, as well as purchase protection. Only for UK users.

Cons

Additional Fees

The Simple plan has fees like inactivity, card shipping, virtual debit card, and cash top-ups. Paid plans reduce many of these charges.

Limited Currencies

Monese supports 19 currencies. It only provides local bank details for EU, UK, and RO residents.

Available Countries

Monese is only available in 30 countries, limiting access for potential users in regions where it’s not offered.

No Investments

Unlike other digital banks, Monese lacks the option for users to invest in stocks, ETFs, or similar financial instruments.

Saving Options

Monese doesn’t provide interest on deposited funds either, alternative platforms like Wise or Revolut offer much more.

ATMs

Using ATMs with Monese’s Simple plan comes with a fee, while paid plans offer fee-free allowances for ATM withdrawals.

My Experience with Monese

I’ve had the opportunity to test Monese thoroughly, although I don’t use it often. While it’s not my primary choice for daily transactions or international payments due to associated fees for free users, I’ve still explored its features for the sake of this blog and use it sporadically.

Allow me to share a glimpse of my personal Monese account, ensuring that my insights are grounded in first-hand experience.

  • Monese offers a free plan that savvy users can benefit from, depending on usage.
  • I’m particularly fond of their sleek design and intuitive interface. The in-app provided explanations are useful.
  • It’s surprising and impressive that Monese offers multilingual support and allows contact via phone, chat, and email, though response times are not the shortest.
  • The availability of a joint account, not commonly offered by all platforms, is a pleasing feature.
  • Their budgeting app is fairly good, though I seldom use it.

But, of course, let’s not overlook the aspects of Monese that occasionally raise eyebrows.

  • I’m constantly on edge with Monese due to its many fees, it’s hard to relax, fearing unexpected charges as they have many additional fees for free users.
  • The inactivity fee for not using your account irks me; it just doesn’t sit right.
  • Charging 2% for international card usage for free users baffles me, many digital banks don’t do this. Additionally, withdrawing cash incurs a fee.
  • Being an e-money institution, not a bank, Monese has limitations, including no overdrafts, credit cards, or fund scheme protection.
  • Using Monese, I’m constantly aware of the limited currency options available for adding, converting, and holding.
  • It’s strange not earning interest on my balance, almost every other bank provides this benefit.
  • If I’d consider Monese for my main banking needs, I’d have to look elsewhere to invest. In contrast, Revolut smartly integrates investment options within the same app.

Monese's Features in Detail

Criteria

Comment

Available Countries

3.5

Monese is available in select locations, specifically in the UK and other EU countries. Monese has strict regulations in every country where it operates, including being an e-money institution in the UK under the FCA and the National Bank of Belgium.

Regulation

4.5

Monese adheres to regulations in each country it operates, acting as an e-money institution in the UK under the FCA, and in Belgium under the National Bank of Belgium.

Available Currencies

3.5

Hold EUR, GBP, and RON in your accounts, but note: not all options are available to everyone. For instance, an EU-based account limits you to holding GBP and RON. There are 19 currencies available.

Account Fundings

4

Fund your Monese account for free via bank transfer. Debit card deposits incur a 1% fee, waived for paid plans. Cash deposits at Post Office/PayPoint have fees for free plans, allowance-free for paid members.

Account Management Fees

The basic account is free of management fees but offers limited features. Paid plans range from Monese Classic (£0 a month) to Monese Premium (£14,95 a month).

Currency Exchange Fees

Sure, each time you convert money from one currency to another, you’ll have to face a fee.

Transfer Fees

Monese applies a commission for international transfers, starting at a minimum fee of £2. Each plan comes with different fee levels. Even local transfers, like a GBP transfer in the UK, incur on fees on the free plan.

Deposit Fees ?

No fees when you add money via bank transfer. Card and other instant deposit methods do come with a fee.

Card Fees

The Simple plan includes a card shipping fee (£4,95), and even virtual cards have a small fee. Foreign currency card transactions incur fees for free users, too. Paid plans offer these services for free.

Withdrawal Fees

Free users face a 2% withdrawal fee at ATMs, while Classic and Premium plans include a monthly allowance without fees.

Mobile Payments

5

Pay with Monese using your phone or smartwatch, whether you use Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Direct Debits

You can set up direct debits and even recurring payments with your Monese account.

Budgetings

4.0

Monese includes a budgeting app that helps you categorise your expenses and monitor your spending. You can set budget goals and receive alerts.

Overdraft

Monese currently does not offer overdraft options.

Savings

2.5

Monese allows you to create Pots to save for future expenses, such as trips, although no interest is earned on these savings.

Investments

0

Monese does not offer investment features.

Support ?

4

You can contact Monese via email (support@monese.com), chat, and phone. However, be prepared for potential wait times.

Overall Rating ?

3.8

Monese is a decent and user-friendly online bank, though it does incur more fees compared to competitors like Wise or Revolut. Additionally, it supports fewer local accounts and currencies than others. Definitely, it’s not my most frequently used account.

What Is Included in Each of the Monese Plans?

Navigating Monese’s pricing and plans can be complex, with various fees that might be difficult to understand at first glance. The next paragraphs aim to simplify the breakdown, helping you choose the right option by carefully analysing the tricky fees associated with each plan.

Fee Simple Classic Premium
Monthly fee £0 £0 £14,95
Physical card $4.95 Free Free
Virtual debit card $0.30 Free Free
Card usage abroad 2% Free Free
ATM withdraws 2% $500 free a month $1,000 free a month
Account funding by card 1% Free Free
International transfer 2% 0.5% Free
Outbound transfers $1 Free Free
Direct debits Included Included Included
Accident, illness, involuntary joblessness protection. No Max. £1,500 Max. £2,100
Hospitalisation No Max. £40 a day for 30 days Max. £60 a day for 30 days
Purchase protection No Max. £1,000 a claim Max. £2,500 a year Max. £5,000 a claim Max. £10,000 a year
Priority support No No Yes

Monese offers three main plans: Simple, Classic, and Premium, each catering to different needs.

Monese plans
Monese plans
  • The Simple plan is free and suits those looking for basic banking without a monthly fee, but watch out for transaction and service charges.
  • The Classic plan, priced at £0 monthly, reduces fees and enhances allowances for withdrawals and card top-ups. This plan includes a complimentary physical card and provides various insurance coverages, such as for accidents, sickness, and purchase protection, catering to those seeking extra security and benefits in their banking experience.
  • The Premium plan, priced at £14,95/month, provides the most comprehensive service with the lowest fees, highest allowances, better insurance coverage and VIP support, ideal for heavy users seeking maximum benefits.

Monese Accounts & Features

Monese, an e-money institution, provides a flexible alternative to traditional banks, primarily for UK and EU residents, by offering local accounts. While it doesn’t allow for credit cards or overdrafts due to its nature, it does offer a quick way to open your account.

This section explores Monese accounts and features in depth, highlighting how they can serve your financial needs without the traditional banking framework.

Monese Accounts

This online bank offers three types of accounts: pound, euro, and Romanian leu. However, you must be a resident of the respective country to open any of these accounts. This means an Irish user cannot open a UK or Romanian bank account with Monese.

Monese bank account
Monese bank account

Additionally, you can only hold currencies that match your bank account types. However, you can receive and send international payments in 19 currencies.

This limited flexibility is surprising, especially compared to Revolut and Wise, with Wise offering multiple local accounts. It seems Monese is somewhat behind its competitors in this regard.

Monese Joint Account

The Monese Joint Account offers a way for two people to manage their finances together. It’s designed for both ease of use and simplicity, providing each person with their own debit card for transactions. Users can set common goals, like a holiday fund or saving up for a deposit.

Monese Joint Account
Monese Joint Account

However, it’s important to consider that, as with any joint financial product, both parties share responsibility for the account’s management and usage. This arrangement can be beneficial for managing shared expenses but requires clear communication and trust between the account holders.

Monese Business Account

With Monese, you can open a Business Account; however, it isn’t free, as a monthly fee is required. If you get the account for your business, Monese will include a Personal Classic paid plan for free, nice add-on.

Monese Business Account
Monese Business Account

Unfortunately, this bank account for businesses offered by Monese is missing several key features and may only be suitable for very small businesses, such as sole proprietors. It lacks a user system to grant access to other company members and only provides one card.

Additionally, the account comes with its limitations, such as allowing only 6 free withdrawals per month, incurring a currency conversion fee, and requiring payment for cash top-ups.

In my opinion, the free Business accounts offered by Wise and Revolut are better options than Monese’s paid account

Monese Cards

When opening an account with Monese, there are two options for getting a card.

You can opt for a physical card, which comes with a one-time shipping fee of £4,95 for free users, while paid users receive it at no cost.

The other alternative is to obtain a virtual debit card through a few clicks within Monese’s app. Surprisingly, this option also includes a fee, unlike other similar services.

You can then link this virtual card to your phone for payments using Apple Pay or Google Pay. Please be aware that using your card with the free plan can come with unexpected fees. Here’s a summary:

  • You’ll need to pay a fee of £4,95 if you’d like to replace your physical card.
  • There is a fee for withdrawing money from ATMs (2%).
  • Adding money to your account by card also comes with a fee.
  • Similarly, a 2% fee is applied when using your card abroad.

Final Thoughts: Does Monese Measure Up?

Diving deep into Monese, I’m met with mixed feelings. Its user-friendly interface shines and its support is decent, yet the myriad of fees and limited currencies challenge its value.

Compared to giants like Revolut and Wise, Monese’s limitations in investments and savings are noticeable. Additionally, its limited account types and currencies make it hard to compete with other options.

The Classic and Premium plans offer some relief with improved terms and insurances, yet alternatives may offer better value. Regrettably, I believe there are more competitive options available.

Thank you for reading my Monese review, I hope you found it useful. If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Monese Alternatives

Revolut

Best for All-In One Money App

4.5

Wise

Transparent & Affordable

4.4

Monese FAQs

Monese is a reputable digital banking platform designed to simplify your financial life. It offers a wide range of banking services and is particularly renowned for its user-friendly approach, making it an excellent choice for individuals seeking a convenient and accessible banking solution. With Monese, you can open a bank account quickly and easily, manage your finances effortlessly through their intuitive mobile app, and enjoy various features tailored to meet your financial needs. It comes with a free plan, but it’s quite limited when compared to other digital banks.

Monese is headquartered in the United Kingdom. It operates as a digital financial services provider, offering banking services primarily through its mobile app, catering to a wide user base across various European countries.