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Monzo review

This product is no longer available in the US.

Compare similar checking accounts and find the best option for you.

Monzo fees and limits

So far, Monzo‘s reported that it will forgo many fees associated with more traditional banks, including for overdrafts and ATM withdrawals in the US.

Withdrawals from ATMs outside of the US are free up to $200 a month, when you’ll start paying a fee equal to 3% of your transaction until the new month turns over.

If we hear of any additional fees as the service launches, we’ll update this review.

How do I apply for a Monzo account?

As of January 2020, Monzo is not yet available in the US. You can join a waitlist on the app’s site until it rolls out the details of its launch Stateside.

What is Monzo?

Monzo is a well-loved digital bank launched in 2017 in the UK. Focused on young professionals, it advertises the ability to access your money through a smartly designed smartphone app without the need for physical branches⁠. Help is available through the app’s chat feature, by phone or by email.

How does Monzo work?

In the UK, Monzo works a lot like a regular checking account. Each account comes with a bright coral Monzo Mastercard. The card is controlled via the app, which allows for person-to-person payments and instant notifications after transactions.

To help you see where your money goes each month, transactions are broken down into 12 categories:

  • Transportation
  • Groceries
  • Eating out
  • Cash
  • Shopping
  • General
  • Entertainment
  • Bills
  • Holidays
  • Expenses
  • Personal care
  • Family

Using Monzo abroad

Monzo claims that it doesn’t mark up the exchange rate or charge fees to use your card abroad. But you’ll pay a fee equal to 3% of your withdrawal when you take out more than $200 each month from a foreign ATM.

If you lose your card while traveling, freeze its use through the app. Simply defrost your card if it turns up safe.

Is Monzo safe?

Monzo announced in June 2019 that it plans to partner with Sutton Bank to offer its services, forgoing lending until it’s approved for a US banking charter. That partnership will extend FDIC protections on your account for deposits of up to $250,000.

Expect technological safeguards like PINs, secure payments and fraud detection.

Pros and cons of Monzo

Pros

  • Fully digital bank backed by a solid reputation in the UK.
  • Divide your account into “pots” to more easily manage and save money.
  • Instantly move money between friends without a third-party app.
  • Competitive foreign exchange rates with no fees.

Cons

  • No in-person support or local branches.
  • 3% charge for overseas ATM withdrawals that exceed $200 a month.

Until then, look into other digital banking accounts to weigh benefits and drawbacks against your spending habits.

Compare Monzo against its competitors

1 - 14 of 14
Name Product APY Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee Offer
NorthOne Business Banking
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Bonus
NorthOne Business Banking
N/A
$50
withdraw cash at any Cirrus branded ATM location (+1,000,000 locations accross the U.S + 2m worldwide), including MoneyPass ATMs
$0
Waive your $10 monthly fee for the first month when you sign up and open an account. After your first month, you'll pay a monthly fee of $10. Offer valid until April 26, 2023.
Chime Checking account
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime Checking account
N/A
$0
60,000+ fee-free ATMs
$2.50
Get rid of fees with this financial app offering consumer-friendly accounts. Chime can also help you save easily and access your paycheck faster.
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
Finder Rating: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
5.00% on balances of $0 to $10,000
3.00% on balances of $0 to $10,000
$10
55,000+ free Allpoint ATMs worldwide
$0
Deposits are fossil fuel-free and insured by the FDIC. Enjoy a spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards.
Lili
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Lili
1.00%
$0
32,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
$2.50
Small business owners and freelancers get paid up to two days early and can automatically set aside money for taxes with the Lili digital banking account.
Citi Priority Checking
Finder Rating: 3.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Citi Priority Checking
N/A
$30,000
70,000+ fee-free ATMs in the U.S.
$2.50
Earn up to $2,000 when you open an eligible account and complete required activities.
Secure online banking and access to cash with one of the largest networks of fee-free ATMs in the US.
Varo
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Varo
N/A
$0
55,000 AllPoint ATMs around the world for free
$2.50
Earn $30 bonuses every time a friend signs up for an account and deposits at least $20 in one transaction
No monthly fees. No foreign transaction fees. No fees at 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs.
Upgrade Rewards Checking
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Upgrade Rewards Checking
N/A
$0
Upgrade will rebate ATM fees charged by another institution up to five times a month when you meet certain conditions.
$0
Earn up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses, with a limit of up to $500 a year, plus 1% on other purchases
Juno
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Juno
2.15% on balances of $0 to $100,000
$0
More than 85,000 ATMs nationwide
$0
Metal checking is free for the first 6 months
Basic users earn up to 5% cashback and a 1.2% yearly bonus rate on balances up to $5,000 while Metal plan users earn a 2.15% bonus on balances up to $100,000 with this high-yield checking account.
First Citizens Bank Free Checking
N/A
$50
1,100+ First Citizens Bank ATMs
$2.50
First Citizens Bank Free Checking stands out for its built-in finance tracking tool, Manage My Money. Available to residents in NC, SC, TN, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, KS, MD, MO, NM, OK, OR, TX, VA, WA, WV, and WI.
Yotta
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Yotta
N/A
$0
over 55,000 free ATMs across the US
$0
When a friend signs up using your invite code, they get 100 tickets into next week's contest. Once they make their first deposit, you also get either 100 free tickets or potentially more if you have reached Silver, Gold, or Platinum status.
Increase your chances of winning up to $10 million in cash prizes every time you spend $10 with your Yotta debit card and for every $25 in your checking account.
Digit
Finder Rating: 3.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Digit
0.10% on balances of $0+
$0
Varies based on connected bank accounts
Digit savings is a microsavings app that helps you avoid overdrafts and passively set aside cash for short-term goals.
Cheese Rewards Checking
Finder Rating: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
Cheese Rewards Checking
3.00%
$0
over 33,000 MoneyPass ATMs
$0
The Cheese Rewards Checking account is a digital bank account and social cause platform designed for Asian-Americans and immigrants in the US.
Revolut
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Revolut
0.07% on balances of +
0.05% on balances of to
$0
55,000+ surcharge-free in-network ATMs nationwide
$0
Just make one qualifying transaction of $1.00 or more with your Revolut card during the promotion period. The bonus will then be credited automatically.
Revolut is a global fintech that offers FDIC-insured deposit accounts, 10 free international transfers a month and, on its Premium plan, commission-free crypto trades up to $200,000 per month. Crypto deposits aren't FDIC insured.
Quontic Pay Ring
Quontic Pay Ring
N/A
$0
No access to ATMs
Quontic debit card evolved to a ring, contactless purchases with a simple tap of your hand.
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Image source: Supplied, photographer: Monzo

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Review by


Charlie Barton is a publisher at Finder. He specialises in banking and investments products, including banking apps, current accounts, share-dealing platforms and stocks and shares ISAs. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics, and in his spare time enjoys long walks on the beach.

Expert review

Monzo is a bank built for people looking to manage and control their money from anywhere. Because it’s fully app-based, there’s no waiting in lines or calling customer service when you lose your card ⁠— but there’s also no in-person help. And we won’t know all the details of this service until it fully launches in the US.

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