Monzo_iPhone_card

Monzo review December 2018

Meet the poster child of digital banking.

Founded in 2015, Monzo (previously Mondo) is one of the most prolific players in the rise of digital banking, using mobile app technology to streamline your personal finance experience.

Here we take a look at all of the features of the Monzo card and app, from spending visualisations to how it handles overdrafts.

What is Monzo?

Billing itself as a bank “built for the way you live today”, Monzo operates without branches, and has recently launched a full current account and contactless Mastercard to replace its previous prepaid card (which has no longer been usable since the 4th April 2018).

Digital banking deals

N26 N26
New!

Get N26 the new bank you'll love to use

Ends

Revolut Revolut
Free card!

Free card worth £5 on Revolut card

Ends

Starling Starling
Award winner

Starling voted best British bank & current account

Ends

Monese Monese
Exclusive

Get £10 when you load £50 onto Monese card

Ends

How does Monzo work?

If you apply for an account, you’ll be issued with a bright coral contactless Mastercard.

The card is controlled via the app, which offers instant notifications when transactions are made.

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

How do I apply for a Monzo account?

UK residents aged 16 or over can apply for a Monzo account, either online via the website or through the app, available to download at both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store (though sadly not the Microsoft Store for Windows phones).

New applications are for a full UK current account and debit card; meaning that while the Mastercards that were issued previously could only be loaded from other bank accounts, Monzo customers will now receive an account number and sort code, enabling them to receive salary payments and bank transfers directly.

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 point of sale transactions (such as spending in shops and hotels) outside of the UK. Similarly, there is no charge for making online payments in a foreign currency.

There is 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.

Monzo fees and limits

  • Overdrafts: Monzo offers an optional overdraft to its customers. This can be activated from the app and is approved on the basis of a full credit check (as opposed to the “soft” credit check required to open the account).
  • If you’re request for an overdraft is accepted, there is also a fee-free £20 buffer, after which there is a 50p charge for each day the account is overdrawn. A sliding scale within the app allows the overdraft limit to be set (returning it to £0 cancels the overdraft) and you will be notified if a payment leaves you overdrawn.
  • Payments which exceed an arranged overdraft, or exceed the amount you have in your account are simply rejected.
  • All UK cash withdrawals and payments are free of charge.
  • The daily ATM withdrawal limit is £400 within the UK, with a monthly limit of £5,500.

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.

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

  • No credit check.
  • Full UK Current Account – Can receive salary, make direct debit payments and bank transfers, open overdraft.
  • Instant notifications for transactions means you no longer have to wait like with normal banks
  • Pots – Savings can be placed in to pots for particular purposes, which then won’t appear in the available balance and so won’t be used accidentally.
  • Monzo.me- used to send and request money to and from those without a Monzo bank account.
  • Ability to freeze account if the Mastercard is lost – then unfreeze if it’s found.
  • Competitive Mastercard exchange rate and no overseas transaction fees.
  • Get 1% interest on any savings pot over £1,000. Such a feature is a rarity for a challenger bank like this.

Cons

  • No bank branches is less ideal for those who prefer face-to-face customer service.
  • 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 December 11th, 2018
Name Product Fees and charges Delivery speed
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.
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)
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)
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

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated December 11th, 2018
Name Product Foreign ATM withdrawals ATM withdrawal limit Foreign transactions fee Card cost Delivery speed
N26
ATM fees differ depending on country
€2 after exceeding free withdrawal limit
No fees
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.
No ATM fees
£200 per month. Anything more is charged at 2% of value of withdrawal.
No fees
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)
No ATM fees
£300 per day. Maximum of 6 withdrawals per day.
No fees
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)
€1 per withdrawal
£300 per day
2% on card spend and ATM usage
Card delivery is free
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

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated December 11th, 2018
Name Product Fees and charges Interest Savings goals
N26
Free
up to 1.48%
n26 'Spaces' feature lets the user open sub-accounts to stash your money away
App-based bank account that can be used on the go in any EU country. All about the ease of sending and saving money.
Free with finder.com, otherwise card delivery is £4.99
No interest
Set budgets in the app
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)
Free
0.5% AER up to £2,000, 0.25% over £2,000 to £85,000
Create up to 10 different spending goals and protect money from daily spending
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)
None
No interest
Not a feature
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

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated December 11th, 2018
Name Product Direct debits UK ATMs Payments Freeze your card CASS
N26
Yes
Free
Use MoneyBeam to transfer money instantly. Is partnered with Transferwise so can send money to 16 countries.
Yes: touch of a button in app
No
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 currently only supports direct debits with the Euro IBAN account
Free up to £200 a month
Easy UK payments and can transfer money between 23 countries
Yes: touch of a button in app
No
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)
Yes
Free
Pay via bank transfer. Can't pay into paypal currently.
Yes: touch of a button in app
Yes
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)
Yes - can cancel with touch of a button too
£1 per withdrawal
Pay via bank transfer, easier to send to another Monese account.
Report lost/stolen in app to be sent replacement
No
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

Compare up to 4 providers

FAQs

Back to top
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)
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)
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

Charlie Barton

Charlie Barton is a Publisher at finder. He'll write about pretty much anything. He loves banking apps, sending money overseas, and enjoys long walks on the beach.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

38 Responses

  1. 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?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynNovember 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

  2. 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?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynOctober 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

  3. Default Gravatar
    MimiOctober 6, 2018

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

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynOctober 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

  4. 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…

    • finder 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

  5. Default Gravatar
    ImmaOctober 4, 2018

    I am trying to figure out what is better for me Monzo or Revolut ?!? Both don’t pay fees and both are free ?

    • finder Customer Care
      CharisseOctober 5, 2018Staff

      Hi Imma,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      I understand that it could be difficult to choose between the two of the biggest “challenger banks” as both offer different features and benefits.

      To help you decide which one is right for you, check out this Revolut vs. Monzo page to see our side by side comparison on these two; including their rates and fees.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  6. Default Gravatar
    AlessandroOctober 2, 2018

    How long does it take to receive the card at home?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynOctober 2, 2018Staff

      Hello Alessandro,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Upon checking, once top up is complete, the card should be with you within 2-3 days, if you’ve been waiting a week, then most likely there was a problem somewhere along the line. You may need to contact Monzo support for an update.

      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

  7. Default Gravatar
    WongSeptember 28, 2018

    why monzo suddenly freeze my account while i needed to use my money from the account urgently and no one answer my calls and also the live chat, non of them is helping at all but to talk nonsense ns till now my account still frozen?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaOctober 2, 2018Staff

      I’m sorry to hear about your problem, Wong. Just to clarify, did you manually freeze your account? If yes, you can easily unfreeze it by reversing the action.

      However, if your account was frozen by Monzo themselves, you would need their help to undo the action. From there, Monzo should tell you exactly what to do to unfreeze your account. They will most likely ask for details and verification.

      In most cases, that should solve the problem. If you are still unsatisfied, then you might want to report this to the proper authorities. You can start here.

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

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  8. Default Gravatar
    PeterSeptember 24, 2018

    How do I go about returning a Monzo card found outside my house?

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloSeptember 25, 2018Staff

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      To return a Monzo card you found, you can contact Monzo directly at 0800 802 1281.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else. :)

      Cheers,
      Joel

  9. Default Gravatar
    KarenSeptember 22, 2018

    Morning, my daughter is going to Australia, can this card be used there?

    • finder Customer Care
      johnbasanesSeptember 24, 2018Staff

      Hi Karen,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      The Monzo prepaid card is being phased out, and will no longer be usable from the 4th of April this year. However, your daughter may still be able to apply for Monzo debit card provided that she meets the requirement. According to Monzo, you currently need to be resident in the UK to get their card. To get the card, you only need to download the Monzo app on either iOS or Android, sign up in just a few minutes and you’re done. If your daughter is 16 years old and above, she can apply for this card. She may be able to use this card in Australia as long as she transacts with a shop that accepts Mastercaard. Please note there is 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.

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

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  10. Default Gravatar
    AnnabelSeptember 13, 2018

    Do you pay interest?

    • finder Customer Care
      CharisseSeptember 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Annabel Kay,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      As of this time, Monzo is not paying any interest for the savings their customers have in their accounts. However, they already have started working on making that possible for their customers and they are also planning to roll it out in the next few weeks. You can get updated about this information on the blog page found on their website.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

Go to site