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Monese vs Monzo

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Monese vs Monzo: Which offers the safest online banking? Who's the cheapest?

François Briod

Guide

Jarrod Suda

Reviewer

Jan 18, 2023
Advertiser disclosure

Monese and Monzo are two digital banking services that offer well-featured mobile apps, current accounts, debit cards and a range of other financial products designed for people on the go. They do differ in two main areas though — their coverage of supported countries and their depth of banking services like overdraft protection and interest on savings. Their fee schedules also differ quite a lot too.

Read this Monzo vs Monese bank review to see why Monzo came out as our recommended digital bank. We uncover the pros and cons of each company and show you why Monese Bank still has a lot to offer you, especially non-UK citizens and residents.

Monese
7.6
Monzo
8.3

Trust & Credibility

Background check

Background check
Background check

Duly authorised and regulated by the FCA in the United Kingdom, as well as by the relevant authorities in all the countries in which it operates.

Licensed as a bank by the PRA and FCA in the UK, and deposits are FDIC protected.

Security & reliability

Security & reliability
Security & reliability

Accounts are fully secured using segregated user accounts and HTTPS and cards are 3-D Secure.

Accounts are fully secured using segregated user accounts and HTTPS and cards are 3-D Secure.

Company size

Company size
Company size

Around 2 million customers and 250 employees all over Europe.

Over 5.5 million customers and nearly $150 million in annual revenue.

Transparent pricing

Transparent pricing
Transparent pricing

A full overview of pricing is relatively accessible and provides every fee as per the regulator-standard fee schedule.

A full overview of pricing is relatively accessible and provides every fee as per the regulator-standard fee schedule.

Monese vs Monzo: Which Can I Trust?

Monese and Monzo are both excellent financial companies headquartered in London and fully-regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They comply with high standards to segregate customer accounts from each other and to uphold cross-border best practices. Millions of customers have trusted their finances with both companies — and so can you.

Monzo scored higher on our trust and credibility category mostly because they are a larger company. Monzo serves nearly 5.5 million customers while Monese serves around 2 million. Monzo’s fee schedule was more direct and accessible than Monese’s schedule, which also impacted our scores.

Is Monese a bank?

Monese is technically licensed in the United Kingdom as an ‘Electronic Money Institution’ while Monzo has a full UK bank licence. This means that Monese cannot offer as wide a range of bank services as Monzo can. Monzo protects your deposits up to £85,000, provides overdrafts, and pays interest on savings. Monese can provide neither of these three services. 

This does not affect Monese’s safety, however. Monese is still required by law to keep your money safe and segregated from its own account, like Monzo. That means that if Monese goes out of business, your money will be unaffected and be refunded to you in full.

Is Monzo available in the USA?

According to a company announcement¹ on February 1st, 2022, Monzo is moving from its beta testing to a full public launch in the USA. Monzo’s full UK bank licence allows them to provide a wide variety of services in the UK, but the company cannot open accounts for residents and citizens in the EU/EEA.

Monese has a much wider reach than Monzo does thanks to its licence as an e-money institution. A Monese bank account operates in 14 languages and is available to residents across the UK and EU/EEA. This includes Germany, Spain, Poland, Italy, France, Norway, and several others. US residents are not eligible to open an account with Monese.

Monese

Monzo

🖊 Licensing

E-Money Institution (FCA)

Bank (FCA)

📃 FSCS-Insured

💰 Profitable

📈 Publicly Listed

Try MoneseTry Monzo
Monese
9.0
Monzo
8.4

Service & Quality

Using the mobile app

Using the mobile app
Using the mobile app

Well-designed and smooth interface with many interesting features, including finance updates and 'Savings Pots'.

Well-rated and slick user interface with many interesting features, including instant spending notifications and easy budgeting.

Managing the account

Managing the account
Managing the account

Multiple top-up methods and three foreign currencies are supported, but overdraft and interest on the standard account are not.

Overdraft, interest, and multiple top-up methods are supported, but only one currency is available (GBP).

Contacting support

Contacting support
Contacting support

FAQ, live chat, and phone support are all available on the Simple plan, although not reachable at all times.

FAQ and live chat are available on the standard plan, but phone support isn't available to all users.

Making card payments

Making card payments
Making card payments

Contactless, online payments, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and social payments are all supported.

Contactless, online payments, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and social payments are all supported.

Monese vs Monzo: Which Has the Better Account & Card?

Monese and Monzo can both replace a traditional bank account and come with a range of financial services for users. They provide you with unique bank account details (like a UK sort code), send you a debit Mastercard, and connect you with a slick mobile app. Ultimately, Monese’s multi-currency functionality helped to boost its score. 

Monese Card vs Monzo Card

The cards offered by Monese and Monzo come with identical features. They are both partners of Mastercard, have contactless functionality, and connect with Apple Pay and Google Pay. 

The main difference is that Monese’s card is technically a multi-currency card, while Monzo’s is not. Since you can hold GBP, EUR, and RON with your Monese account, the card can access those holdings whenever you swipe or tap your card in the UK, EU, or Romania, respectively.

The Account Experience

Both providers have financial services, including notifications, financial analysis and budgeting. They both offer savings “pots” and even let you earn interest on your savings. If you lose your phone or card, both providers let you block and unblock your card and get back into the app by installing it on a new device. 

Monese accounts accept direct debits in GBP, EUR, and RON, which can also be managed as joint accounts. Monese does not currently offer overdraft protection. It does not offer loans, but the app can help you get connected with a loan provider. Its Credit Builder feature allows you to build up a credit score without having to use a credit card, which is an interesting and innovative product. Instead, you pay a monthly fee to build credit. Monese does not pay interest on savings, but does have an in-app integration that gives you access to an interest-bearing savings account.

With Monzo, you can set up direct debits (only in GBP though) and joint accounts with your partner. All customers are provided a free overdraft of up to £20. After that, it cost 50p per day overdrawn. Monzo gives their customers access to a unique marketplace for interest of savings too. Monzo has partnered with other British banks to get you interest on your money, although withdrawal and deposit limits may apply. Use Monzo’s Savings Marketplace to choose the most competitive interest rates on the market.

Which Has a Multi-Currency Account?

Monese offers banking services in British pounds, euros, and Romanian leu for their current accounts. Monese also doesn’t require proof of residency, and there’s no need for a credit check, which makes them ideal if you’ve just moved to a country. 

Monzo is currently available in the UK and only offers accounts in pounds. Although they are moving from a beta phase to a public opening in the USA, no multi-currency account is currently available.

Other Bank Account Features

Monese does not provide interest on the money you save or offer an overdraft facility. Instead, you can integrate your Monese account with a savings service provider called Raisin to help you access interest on your savings.

Monzo offers savings accounts, at up to 1.20% interest and also provides an overdraft at 50 pence per day in the U.K. Monzo is a member of the “Current Account Switching Service” which makes it easy to move your existing account to them. 

Topping up Your Account

Monese lets you top up with cash in the U.K. and via a bank transfer or debit card in the U.K. and Europe. Monzo offers cash and bank transfers to topping up an account and allows you to use a cheque. 

Monese

Monzo

Card

Card Model and Design

White debit Mastercard

Red coral debit Mastercard

💳 Contactless

🔒 3D Secure

🍎 Apple Pay

💻Google Pay

🌐 Virtual Card

🧾Account Details

GBP, EUR, RON

GBP

⬆ Top-Up Methods

Bank transfer, debit card, cash

Bank transfer, cash, cheque

💱 Currencies

GBP, EUR, RON

GBP

📤Direct Debits

🪙 Interest

💸 Overdraft

👥 Joint Account

📱 Platform(s)

Mobile app, website

Mobile app, website

Try MoneseTry Monzo
Monese
6.6
Monzo
9.8

Fees & Exchange Rates

Everyday use

Everyday use
Everyday use

No everyday costs such as monthly fees and transfer fees, although exceeding the free ATM withdrawal limit will cost.

Zero everyday costs such as monthly fees, transfer fees, and local ATM withdrawal fees.

ATM withdrawals

ATM withdrawals
ATM withdrawals

No free amount, with all cash withdrawals costing €1.5/£1.5 /L5 per transaction.

Withdrawals are free but are only available up to a daily limit of £400 and a monthly limit of £5,500.

Online spending

Online spending
Online spending

Ordinary online spending comes at no cost, but a 2% applies on non-GBP, EUR, SEK, and RON transactions.

Ordinary online spending comes at no cost, neither in the default currency nor in a foreign currency.

International spending

International spending
International spending

A 2% fee applies on all non-GBP, EUR, SEK, and RON foreign currency transactions, an additional €1.5/£1.5 /L5 per cash withdrawal, and an additional 1% currency conversion on weekends.

No fees for spending abroad, although Mastercard's exchange rate can apply to foreign currency transactions.

Monese vs Monzo: How Are Their Exchange Rates and Fees?

Monese and Monzo compare very well to each other for their basic, free plans. Neither charges you to open or hold an account; both allow you to send money internationally, and both come with good mobile apps. Monese has higher fees for international money transfers, foreign transaction fees, and ATM withdrawals, making Monzo the clear winner of this category.

Overall Banking Service

Monese and Monzo offer a wide range of services under their free plans. You get a current bank account without monthly maintenance fees, a Mastercard debit card, international money transfers and a range of other services. Both services have options including notifications, direct debits, budgeting, financial planning, and multi-currency summaries.

Both services make domestic bank transfers for free. In this sense, Monese has greater coverage because you can make domestic euro or Romanian leu transfers, in addition to domestic transfers in pounds. As we will discover further, however, Monese tends to charge more than Monzo for the same services. 

International ATM Withdrawals

For international ATM withdrawals, Monzo gives you a free limit of £200 every 30 days but charges you 3.00% of the amount withdrawn after that. With Monese, you will be charged a flat £1.5 regardless if the withdrawal was done in a domestic or foreign ATM. 

Getting a Debit Card

Monzo’s red coral MasterCard is free upon sign up while Monese charges a one-time £4.95 delivery fee for its debit MasterCard. Both should take no longer than 5 working days to reach you. 

You will get a free virtual card with Monese’s free plan. If you want a virtual card with Monzo, then you will have to upgrade to their £5 per month ‘Plus’ plan.

International Money Transfers

Monese’s mobile app supports international money transfers in many currencies, but charges a very high 2.50% per transfer, regardless of the currencies. On weekends, they will charge 3.50%.

Monzo, on the other hand, has integrated its service with Wise (formerly TransferWise) to send money overseas at transparent and industry-low rates. Wise always applies the real mid-market exchange rate (also called the ‘spot rate’) on your transer. You’ll pay a fixed fee of 0.35% to 2.85% of the amount you’re transferring, depending on the currency — the rates that Wise charges for popular currencies are toward the lower end of this range. A GBP to USD transfer, for example, would cost around 0.38% with Wise.

Foreign Exchange Rates: Using Your Debit Card Overseas

If you use your Monese card in a country that does not use the currencies you hold (GBP, EUR, or RON), then you will be charged a 2.00% foreign transaction fee. Monzo does not charge any commission for FX services when you pay with your card abroad.

Monese

Monzo

Card

💷 Maintenance

£0.00

£0.00

🏧 Foreign Withdrawals

0.00% on the first €100/m, £1.50 fee thereafter

0.00% on the first €200/m, 3% thereafter

💳 Foreign Payments

0% between GBP, EUR, and RON, 2.00% for others and an additional 1% on weekends

0

💸 Int'l Transfers

2.50% for others and an additional 1% on weekends

0.35%-2.85% depending on the currency (via Wise)

🚚 Card Delivery

£4.49

£0.00

📆 Delivery Speed

3-5 working days

Up to 5 working days

Try MoneseTry Monzo
Monese
8.4
Monzo
8.5

Customer Satisfaction

Trustpilot reviews

Trustpilot reviews
Trustpilot reviews

Google Play reviews

Google Play reviews
Google Play reviews

Monese vs Monzo: What Are Customers Saying?

Monese and Monzo have been highly rated for their customer service on Trustpilot and on the Apple App Store and Google App Store by millions of users. While they are both large and popular digital banking services, Monzo takes the slight edge here. 

Monese, with a Trustpilot score of 3.9, lost out to Monzo’s score of 4.5. Both had over 15,000 four and five-star ratings on the review site. Both offer email and call-in customer support, although Monzo’s phone support is more readily accessible. Both apps offer live chat support and both websites have help centres full of FAQs and resources.

Monese

Monzo

🌍 Availability

UK, EU/EEA

UK

💬 Languages

EN, FR, ES, DE, IT, PT, BG, RO, PL, CZ, TR, LT

EN

👥 Customers

2 million

5.5 million

🔒 Trustpilot

3.9/5

4.5/5

📞 Support

Email, call center by country (hours varies)

In-app live chat, phone, and email

🗨 Support Languages

English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Czech, Turkish, Lithuanian

English

Try MoneseTry Monzo

Monese vs Monzo: The Verdict

From our Monese vs Monzo bank review, the experts at Monito recommend Monzo to any and all UK residents and citizens who want to transition from high-street banking to a modern, digital bank. Its favourable fee schedule for both domestic and international finances will streamline your day-to-day spending and holidaymaking. 

There are still several pros to Monese, which includes its multi-currency functionality. Its instant account opening is also a big plus. Since no proof of residency is required to open an account, Monese can be very useful for recent arrivals or to those who are still planning a move.

If you are not a resident of the UK or US, then Monese will be your default option here due to Monzo’s unavailability outside of those countries. Before you make your choice, you can read through our in-depth Monese bank review and Monzo bank review.

Better yet, compare Monese and Monzo to other providers by reading our rankings of the best digital banks in Europe in 2022

References Used In This Guide

1. Monzo. Public Launch in the US. 1 February 2022.

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