Monzo review

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Monzo
We say
★★★★★
Finder expert rating
You say
★★★★★
Customer satisfaction
  • Beautifully designed app and experience
  • Foreign ATM withdrawals limited to £200 a month

Monzo is one of the biggest names among challenger banks in the UK. It’s a digital, mobile-only bank that offers a current account with a well designed app and a hot coral Mastercard.

In this review, we take a look the features of the Monzo current account and app, from spending visualisations to how Monzo handles overdrafts.

What is Monzo?

Monzo is a challenger bank that operates without branches and offers a full current account and contactless Mastercard. They replaced its previous prepaid card, which has no longer been usable since 4 April 2018.

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How does Monzo work?

Monzo works in a very similar way to any normal current account. When you apply for an account, you’ll be issued with a bright coral contactless Mastercard.

However, the account is entirely managed through the Monzo app, which is packed with cool features and much slicker than your average banking app. The card is controlled via the app: you can freeze it if it gets lost or stolen (and unfreeze it if you find it again).

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

  • Transport
  • Groceries
  • Eating Out
  • Cash
  • Shopping
  • General
  • Entertainment
  • Bills
  • Holidays
  • Expenses
  • Personal Care
  • Family

You can then visualise your spending patterns in a graph that tells you what you’re spending money on, and get spending reports after a holiday.

There is also a handy feature that allows you to split a bill with your friends. You can send them a custom link to get paid easily and quickly without having to set up a bank transfer.

monzo app iphone spending dashboard

How do I apply for a Monzo account?

UK residents aged 16 or over can apply for a Monzo account through the app, available to download at both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. You’ll need to provide your personal details and verify your identity by taking a video of yourself and a picture of your ID, but no proof of address will be required.

You can now also open a joint account with Monzo, as long as you both have a regular Monzo account already. You will both receive a new separate joint account card.

If you are 16 or 17 and want to open a Monzo account, you can access all of the same benefits that full UK current account users receive. The only difference is that certain actions are blocked, such as spending on activities that are illegal to under 18 year olds, e.g. gambling.

Signing up for an account does not involve a full credit check and therefore won’t affect your credit score.

How does the app look?

Using Monzo abroad

Monzo debit cards can be used abroad without having to notify the bank. There is no charge for card transactions and ATM withdrawals outside of the UK, or for making online payments in a foreign currency.

There is, however, a £200 fee-free withdrawal limit for overseas ATMs – a 3% charge is applied to any withdrawals that exceed £200 cumulatively during a 30 day period. Be aware that the ATM owner may charge still charge a fee!

The usage of this fee-free allowance can be monitored within the app to prevent exorbitant holiday spending. All transactions in a foreign currency are made at the current day’s Mastercard exchange rate, offering a competitive rate that responds to the live market.

Saving with Monzo

Monzo doesn’t directly do savings accounts, but it’s got a shiny new savings marketplace, which means that you can open a savings account with another provider directly from the Monzo app (Monzo refers to those as “Saving Pots”). We’ve got a full review of Monzo’s savings feature if you want to read more.

Also, if you don’t want to open a separate savings account you can set money aside in a Monzo sub-account (a “Pot”), that won’t pay any interests.

Finally, the Monzo app has a series of features that can help you with your budgeting. It automatically categorises your spending and you can activate the round-up feature. If you do it, your transactions will be automatically rounded to the nearest pound, and the spare change will be saved in a Pot. You can thus build up a reasonable amount of savings without having to think about it too much.

Monzo fees and limits

Monzo is (almost completely!) free to use both in the UK and abroad:

  • Card payments. Free in the UK and abroad.
  • UK ATM withdrawals. Free. Limits are £400 a day and £5,500 a month.
  • Foreign ATM withdrawals. Free up to £200 a month. There’s a 2% fee after that.
  • Cash deposits. You can load cash into your account at all PayPoints. It will cost £1 a transaction. You can deposit up to £300 a day and up to £1,000 every six months.

Monzo has also launched a premium offering, called Monzo Plus, that offers extra features in return for a monthly fee.

Monzo overdraft: how does it work and which are the fees?

Monzo offers an optional overdraft to its customers that you can activate in the app. Enter you address, previous addresses, salary, and Monzo will run a soft credit check on you.

If you’re accepted, Monzo will instantly set up an overdraft for you. The limit will depend on your salary and credit history. You’ll then be presented with an agreement – unlike the initial soft credit check, accepting the terms will leave a record on your credit history.

Monzo charges a daily fee of 50p whenever you’re overdrawn by more than £20. If you’re using less than £20, you won’t be charged at all. The maximum Monzo will ever charge you in a month is £15.50 (where the month has 31 days), which means that if you used the full amount of your overdraft for 90 days, the total amount to pay would be £45. There are no other fees.

Payments which exceed an arranged overdraft are simply rejected.

Is Monzo a bank?

Yes, Monzo is a bank. “Monzo Bank Ltd” is authorised in the UK bythe Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Is Monzo safe?

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is an independent statutory fund set up to safeguard consumer finances in the event of a bank being unable to meet its payment demands. Monzo has full FSCS protection which provides compensation for the loss of up to £85,000 – as is the standard for UK bank accounts.

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Looking for something similar to Monzo? Check out our guide on Monzo alternatives.

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What is a Monzo Golden Ticket?

A ‘Golden Ticket’ is Monzo’s name for its refer a friend system. Basically, it’s a link an existing customer can send to a friend inviting them to join Monzo.

Existing users get the Golden Ticket in their app, then copy and send the link by email, text, or messaging services like Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger.

Golden Tickets are supposed to make joining Monzo quick and easy. However, they’re not as essential as they used to be.

These days anyone can join Monzo in a matter of minutes. Monzo introduced Golden Tickets when it had a waiting list to join, so existing customers could help their friends jump the queue.

Pros and cons of Monzo

Pros

  • Full UK current account – you can do all the standard stuff, such as receiving your salary or setting up direct debits.
  • Apply quickly from the app without proof of address – you won’t be credit-checked unless you apply for an overdraft.
  • Slick app that has a lot of cool features, including instant notifications and spending categorisation.
  • Spend abroad with no fees at the Mastercard exchange rate.
  • You can open a savings account directly from the app with one of the providers Monzo has a partnership with.
  • It allows you to deposit cash into the account.
  • Fully FCA-licensed and FSCS-protected.

Cons

  • No bank branches is less ideal for those who prefer face-to-face customer service.
  • Monzo doesn’t offer many financial products except for its current account. If you’d like a wider range of products, you may want to consider a traditional bank.
  • 3% charge for overseas ATM withdrawals (over £200)- other digital bank accounts (e.g. Starling) have no such charges.

Compare Monzo against its competitors

Updated September 17th, 2019
Name Product Fees and charges Delivery speed
Free
Between 3-5 working days
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
Free with finder.com, otherwise card delivery is £4.99
Up to 9 working days
App-based current account with loads of extra features. (e.g. Real time transactions, payment categorisation, save spare change, free international money transfers, buy cryptocurrency)
N26
Free
5-7 working days
App-based bank account that can be used on the go in any EU country. All about the ease of sending and saving money.
None
Between 3-5 business days
A multi-currency mobile banking app that aims to be ‘built around you’. Use it to open a fully functional current account instantly, straight from your phone, all supported by a feature-rich mobile app

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Starling
Starling

What is it?

Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
N26
N26

What is it?

App-based bank account that can be used on the go in any EU country. All about the ease of sending and saving money.
Revolut (Standard)
Revolut (Standard)

What is it?

App-based current account with loads of extra features. (e.g. Real time transactions, payment categorisation, save spare change, free international money transfers, buy cryptocurrency)
Monese (Starter)
Monese (Starter)

What is it?

A multi-currency mobile banking app that aims to be ‘built around you’. Use it to open a fully functional current account instantly, straight from your phone, all supported by a feature-rich mobile app
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50 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    EmApril 13, 2019

    Hi,
    Looking at this- my partner currently has an ‘optimum’ prepaid card (we’re trying desperately to budget) that I load a certain amount of money on a week for him. Is there any way a Monzo card has this facility or some sort of ‘lock’ to not allow access to any money other than that given for the week?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaApril 15, 2019Staff

      Hi Em,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      Monzo offers the Pots feature. It allows you to set money aside within your main Monzo account. You have the option to set up multiple Pots for different purposes, and on the Account tab, you will see an overview of all your money.

      The Pots feature allows you to stick to your savings goals since it locks your Pots until a date you choose and you won’t be able to take money out till then.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  2. Default Gravatar
    EdriaMarch 29, 2019

    I transfer some money into a friend’s Monzo account 2 days ago and the account was frozen after. How can I get refund?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 30, 2019Staff

      Hi Edria,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      I’m afraid that your Monzo account-holder friend needs to get in touch with Monzo regarding this matter. You may also seek assistance from your bank if they may assist you on reversing the transaction.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  3. Default Gravatar
    MalikMarch 27, 2019

    The Monzo bank account check the credit scores for Overdraft

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoMarch 28, 2019Staff

      Hi Malik,

      Thanks for getting in touch! All banks don’t disclose which credit bureau they report to – sorry for the inconvenience. Hope this clarifies!

      Best,
      Nikki

  4. Default Gravatar
    DeeMarch 26, 2019

    Do you have to pay a monthly subscription to use your monzo bank account?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 29, 2019Staff

      Hi Dee,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      No subscription fee to use Monzo. All UK cash withdrawals and payments are free of charge.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  5. Default Gravatar
    JordanFebruary 25, 2019

    Does Monzo accept customers if they have bad credit history?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      CharisseFebruary 26, 2019Staff

      Hi Jordan,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder.

      Yes, as you do not need to pass a credit scoring application to be accepted for Monzo current account.

      To open a Monzo account, they only run a soft check which leaves a fingerprint but does not affect your credit score. They will run a hard check if you opt to take an overdraft.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  6. Default Gravatar
    JacDecember 7, 2018

    I am 18 years of age and I am travelling to Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong on a 5-week trip. What foreign currency card would be best for me.
    Regards.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 12, 2018Staff

      Hi Jac,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      While we can’t suggest a specific card that would be best for you, you may go to this page instead. It’s our guide on how you can find the right travel card. On the same page, you’ll see a comparison table to help you explore your options. Use our table to compare prepaid travel cards based on fees. Click on the “Go to site” green button to learn more.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful trip!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  7. Default Gravatar
    OjoNovember 3, 2018

    Why does it take Monzo more than a week to fix the technical error on my account and why do I have to wait 2-3 days before I get a reply on help I need?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezNovember 5, 2018Staff

      Hello Ojo,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Every company has their own timeframe in fixing errors and this is depending on how big the issue is. All you need to do is to keep contacting Monzo in their given timeframe to get an update. I know how frustrating it can be but they’re the only one who can update you of the fixing of the error on your account.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  8. Default Gravatar
    KarenOctober 10, 2018

    Hello, I am looking to take out a Monzo debit card for everyday use, direct debits etc. Could you tell me if your cards can be used at fuel pump machines with card purchases where there is no kiosk available?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezOctober 12, 2018Staff

      Hello Karen,

      Thank you for your comment.

      According to Monzo Community reviews, yes, Monzo debit cards can be used in Pay at Pump Fuel Machines (varies per merchant).

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  9. Default Gravatar
    MimiOctober 6, 2018

    Can I get my UK benefits paid into this acoount such as tax credits and child benefit?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezOctober 8, 2018Staff

      Hello Mimi,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Upon checking, yes, you can get your tax credits and child benefit paid into your Monzo account. You just need to give them your Monzo sort code and account number.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  10. Default Gravatar
    RafalOctober 5, 2018

    Do I have to have main account to link with monzo card or is not necessery ?
    Also how can I put money on my account if I have a cash…

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      CharisseOctober 5, 2018Staff

      Hi Rafal,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      You don’t have to link a bank account with your Monzo card because when you open an account with Monzo, you will have a full UK current account which will allow you to receive salary; open overdraft; make direct debit payments and bank transfer.

      Here are the ways on how you can put money to your Monzo account:

      1. Transfer funds from your other account to your Monzo account.
      2. Set up a standing order to add money on a regular basis, from your other account to your Monzo account.
      3. Get your salary paid straight in to your Monzo account.

      You can read full details about how Monzo works by visiting their website.

      I hope this information helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

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