Monzo review: Is it worth it?

Meet the poster child of digital banking.

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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 started life as a prepaid card.

Now it offers current accounts, savings accounts and most recently loans, all within a brilliantly designed app and with an accompanying hot coral Mastercard. (It’s also just won Best Bank Overall in our 2019 customer awards! Woo!)

In this review, we take a look the features of the Monzo’s main offering: the current account. We also look at the Monzo app, from its spending visualisations to how you can apply for overdrafts.



What is Monzo?

Monzo is a challenger bank that operates without branches, offers a full current account, integrated savings accounts (offered by other banks but still managed from your app), and recently has started offering personal loans. All with its signature hot coral Mastercard that’s been blinding you at bars, tube stations and supermarkets.

How does Monzo work?

Monzo works in a 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 jam-packed with cool features and much slicker than your average banking app. The card is even controlled via the app: you can freeze it if it gets lost or stolen (and unfreeze it if you find it again).

Here are some of Monzo’s main features:

  • Get paid a day early. Does what it says on the tin! Our article explains in more detail.
  • Salary sorter. Divvy up your salary into spending, savings and bills.
  • Spending budgets. Set budgets by category (e.g. Eating out, Entertainment, Transport).
  • Savings pots. Split money into interest earning savings pots. You can also round up “spare change” into a pot.
  • Bills pots. Get direct debits or standing orders paid out of a bills pot.
  • Instant spending notifications. See what you’re spending in real time.
  • Free cash withdrawals abroad. Up to £200, after that it’s a 3% charge.
  • No transaction fees. Contactless payments and spending overseas is free.
  • Energy switching. If you switch energy provider using the app then you can get cashback.
  • Joint accounts. Open a joint account with another Monzo customer.
  • Overdrafts. Apply in the app. 50p per day if you’re overdrawn more than £20. The maximum charge is £15.50 per month.
  • Apple Pay. Monzo works with Apple Pay.
  • Loans. Apply for a Monzo loan of up to £15,000.
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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.

Is Monzo good to use abroad?

You can use a Monzo card abroad really easily. You don’t have to do anything! Just go abroad and there are no charges for card transactions and no charges for ATM withdrawals (up to £200 a month – then there’s a 3% fee). If this is what is most important to you, we recommend using a Starling Bank Starling’s very similar to Monzo, but with a £300 a day ATM withdrawal limit overseas.)

Also beware that individual ATMs may charge a fee too – that’s nothing to do with Monzo, though.

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.

Then, when you get back from your trip, Monzo will send you a little summary of how much you spent.

Saving with Monzo

Monzo doesn’t offer savings accounts itself, 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 just set money aside in a Monzo “pot” – but this won’t pay interest.

As we mentioned above, you can also simply round up your savings (e.g. £2.57 at Sainsbury’s = 43p into a savings pot.) If you like the sound of this, maybe you should check out Moneybox. It’s the same principle but your spare change is invested to boost growth.

Monzo personal loans

You can now apply for a personal loan from the Monzo app. You’ll be able to borrow between £200 and £15,000, but approval will depend on your credit history and score.

Unlike with many high street lenders, Monzo offers you a personalised quote before you actually apply. This way, you’ll know exactly how much the loan will cost you from the start. Monzo does check your credit score but won’t proceed with a “hard” credit check unless you decide to actually take out the loan. If you don’t, nothing will show on your credit record.

We also have a dedicated review of Monzo’s personal loans if you want to learn more.

Monzo’s energy switching service

Monzo now also offers an energy switching service. It’s similar to its savings marketplace – Monzo doesn’t offer the service in-house, but partners up with providers that do. If you want to give it a go, you can go on your Profile on the app and complete a short form about your house and energy use. Monzo will then offer you a quote from its partner providers.

These currently are OVO Energy and Octopus Energy. They’re not the very cheapest you can find, but they’re competitive. Octopus is a 100% green energy provider, while OVO’s tariffs are 33% green by default and you can upgrade to a 100% green option for £5 a month. If you do decide to go through with the switch, they’ll handle it for you.

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 3% 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 (this won’t affect your credit score).

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 by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Is Monzo safe?

It’s as safe as any bank. Your money in Monzo is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to £85,000. The 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, covering up to £85,000 of your money – as is the standard for UK bank accounts.

What is a Monzo Golden Ticket?

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.

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.

Great alternatives to Monzo

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

Updated November 15th, 2019
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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)
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★★★★★
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Free
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Pros and cons of Monzo

Pros

  • Full UK current account – you can do all the stuff you can do with a normal bank and more.
  • Apply quickly from the app without proof of address – you won’t be credit-checked unless you apply for an overdraft.
  • Slick, fun app that is packed with cool features.
  • Spend abroad with no fees at the Mastercard exchange rate.
  • Open a savings account directly from the app with one of the providers Monzo works with.
  • Deposit cash into the account at any store which shows the PayPoint logo.
  • Fully FCA-licensed and FSCS-protected.

Cons

  • No bank branches isn’t great for those who prefer face-to-face customer service.
  • 3% charge for overseas ATM withdrawals over £200 – other digital bank accounts (e.g. Starling Bank) have no such charges.

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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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