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Monese Review: Is it safe? How does it work? What are the rates?

Is Monese the best option for sending money abroad? Compare your options to make sure you get the best exchange rate and lowest fees for your transfer.

    Our independent review of Monese

    Last updated November 23, 2018
    Written by Laurent Oberholzer

    Monese is a financial services provider in the United Kingdom that provides instant UK bank accounts. They provide this service through a mobile app that lets people open a bank account in the UK, even without a UK address. So it’s particularly interesting for digital nomads who want to open a UK bank account and other location-independent global citizens who for one reason or another need to open a UK bank account without a physical UK address. The Monese account can be used as your main current banking account. It offers all the services you would expect like online access, payments, budgeting, account transfers, direct debits, etc.

    Monese provides a currency transfer service that lets you send money internationally with no hidden fees. They provide the same rates as the base rate, although you will need to pay a service fee of between 0.5% and 2% if you do not have a premium account, which costs £14.95 a month. You will need a Monese UK current account if you want to make international money transfers. Most transfers are completed by the end of the next working day.

    Monese also provides business accounts that feature instant account opening, a premium business debit card, invoices and expense reports, transaction categorization and competitive currency transfer rates.

    Monese contactless debit card

    Monese also provides a dedicated, prepaid debit card that you can use around the world to pay for goods and services. The debit card offers international payments at Monese’s wholesale exchange rates, which is the same as the interbank base rate.

    The card is accepted in over 200 countries around the world by merchants that take Mastercard. There is no foreign transaction fee. You will need to top up the card to use it and can do that from your bank account, at a post office or PayPoint (a system for paying bills in United Kingdom, Ireland and Romania).

    • Transfer money to over 25 countries in eight currencies.
    • Currency exchange services at the base, interbank rate (also known as the mid-market or standard exchange rate, which is the mid-point between the buying and the selling prices of the two currencies).
    • Prepaid, contactless Monese debit card for domestic and foreign transactions


    What we like about Monese

    • Monese offers UK banking services and accounts, even without a UK address

    • They provide the same exchange rates as the Interbank exchange rate

    • You can transfer money from the UK to over 25 other countries

    What we dislike about Monese

    • You will need a Monese UK current account before you can transfer money internationally

    • Monese either charges a monthly subscription or ongoing, individual fees for using its services

    • Currency exchange fees run from free to 2% of the exchanged amount, depending on the subscription

    • You can only send pounds sterling to other countries

    Fees & Exchange Rates

    Monese provides the same rate as the baseline, Interbank rate that banks use to transfer money. They estimate that customers could save an average of 88% by using Monese to send money abroad. Note that Monese charges currency exchange fees as follows:

    • Starter account subscription of £0 a month: 2% currency exchange fee
    • Plus account subscription of £4.95 a month: 0.5% currency exchange fee
    • Premium account subscription of £14.95 a month: No currency exchange fee
    Country from
    United Kingdom
    Country to
    Select a country
    You send

    Credibility & Security

    Monese is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and uses best practices to protect your money and secure your personal information. Transfers made to Monese current accounts are stored in a network of stable European banks. Customer funds are also ring fenced; in other words, they are safeguarded if the company should go into financial distress and will never be reinvested by Monese.

    Monese adheres closely to the latest standards in financial security, applying modern tools and techniques to protect their systems 24/7. They have developed breakthrough technologies and processes to protect accounts against unauthorised access.

    Accounts can only be accessed from a single mobile device - preventing the possibility of anyone else from gaining control of accounts from another location. They use secure, multifactor authentication to verify identities.

    Monese Ltd is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (900010) for the issuing of electronic money and payment instruments.

    Authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority 
    No. : 900188

    Customer satisfaction

    Monese has excellent reviews on Trustpilot with a satisfaction score of 9.2 (out of 10). Almost 5,000 people have left reviews, and we provide a summary of positive and negative comments below.


    • An excellent alternative to a traditional UK bank account
    • Opening an account was very fast, simple and effective
    • Effective customer service that answers questions and resolves issues


    • A few customers reported issues with Monese blocking their accounts
    • Some customers said that Monese did not give them access to their funds

    How Monese works

    Monese’s currency exchange process works as follows:

    • Download the mobile app and sign in.
    • Register an account with Monese—they will need your name, address, contact details and proof of identification (a photo of you plus a scan of your passport or national ID).
    • Go through the verification process.
    • Decide the currencies that you want to exchange money between.
    • Use the Monese mobile app to transfer money to your beneficiary.
    • Fund your transfer.
    • Monese converts the money and sends it to the recipient.

    • Monese iOS and Android mobile applications

      Monese provides all of its current account and money transfer services via its mobile app. This app provides several key features to users:

      • Fast bank transfers to domestic or international accounts
      • Instabalance, for real-time account balance updates
      • Balance graph to track and manage spending habits
      • Overdraft protection to prevent overspending

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