The financial landscape is changing as “challenger banks” like Revolut and Monese take on traditional high street banks. These mobile-only e-money accounts are offering customers a far quicker, easier experience. Gone are the days of going into your bank to open an account, or calling up your bank to report your card stolen. In this guide we take in-depth look at Revolut and Monese, helping you compare the two.
Revolut vs Monese: Vital statistics
|Free spending abroad
|Interest when you're in credit
|Go to site
Neither provider has branches, but you can deposit money into your Monese account at Post Office counters or PayPoints, although there is a 3.5% fee (with a minimum charge of £3) for doing this. Revolut doesn’t accept any cash deposits.
You won’t get any interest on your account balance with either brand, and you can’t apply for any overdrafts either.
Revolut and Monese don’t have UK banking licences, which means neither company is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which protects individual customer funds up to the value of £85,000. But both firms are registered with the FCA as electronic money institutions, which means customer funds must be kept in a separate account at a licensed UK bank, so the money is ring-fenced should the companies go under.
In Finder’s 2023 Banking Customer Satisfaction Awards, Revolut scored 5 out of 5 stars, with 89% of its customers saying they would recommend one of its e-money accounts. Monese scored 4 out of 5 stars, with 74% of its customers saying they would recommend one of its e-money accounts.
Round 1: App features
|Visual breakdown of spending
|Set spending budgets
|Set up direct debits in the app
|Top up via bank transfer
|Have salary paid in
|Savings goals or pots
|Customer service via the app
|Customer service via a telephone line
|Freeze/unfreeze card in app
|Send money abroad
|Fee for sending money abroad
|Free in SEPA region, between 30p and £5 to send elsewhere
|2.5% fee, additional 1% fee on weekends
|Go to site
Revolut and Monese both come with a wide variety of features in their mobile apps, allowing you do very similar things. Both have spending categories, where your transactions are automatically placed into an appropriate category, such as bills or transport. Although with Revolut you can create and customise your categories, whereas with Monese they are pre-set as 15 “lifestyle categories”.
You can also analyse your weekly or monthly spending insights in both apps, which helps you set budgets, as well as receive alerts when payments go out of your account.
Revolut’s “Vaults” and Monese’s “Pots” let you set money aside for specific goals, like saving up for a holiday or a shopping treat. Both also offer “round-ups”, where spare change from your transactions can be rounded up and put into your savings bucket.
You can pay your salary into either your Revolut or Monese account, manage direct debits and make international payments. You can freeze or unfreeze your card in the apps, as well as contact both customer service teams through the in-app chats, although neither challenger operates a telephone helpline where you can speak to someone in person.
You can’t pay cheques into either your Revolut or Monese account, digitally or otherwise.
- Winner: Revolut. As you can see from our table above, this pair’s feature options are basically the same, so there is very little to choose between them here. But if we had to be picky, Revolut does have the slight advantage of customisable spending categories and cheaper international transfers.
Round 2: Spending in the UK
|Free card transactions in the UK
|Contactless card limit
|Free ATM withdrawals
|Limited to £200 per
month or 5 withdrawals
|Go to site
Spending on your Revolut or Monese card is free in the UK, and both cards currently have the standard contactless limit of £45.
You can also add your Revolut card or Monese card to Apply Pay and Google Pay, but neither brand supports Samsung Pay.
With Revolut you can make up to 5 ATM withdrawals or take out £200 for free every month – whichever of those limits you hit first will trigger the subsequent charge of 2% on each following withdrawal (with a minimum fee of £1).
With Monese you have a £200 allowance of free ATM withdrawals each month, then a 2% fee comes into effect.
- Winner: Tie. It’s a flat draw when it comes to spending in the UK with either your Revolut or Monese card.
Round 3: Using the card abroad
|Free foreign transactions
|Limited to £1,000 per month
|Free foreign ATM withdrawals
|Limited to £200 per month
|Go to site
Both Revolut and Monese have some great free allowances for customers who want to use their cards abroad, but the situation is not as clear-cut as it could be.
Those with a Revolut card can use it to make purchases abroad for free on weekdays, up to a monthly limit of £1,000 (then a 0.5% fee kicks in). They can also use the card to withdraw money abroad for free on weekdays, up to a monthly limit of £200 (after which there’s a charge of 2%). But on the weekends, a separate mark-up of 0.5% also applies to both card spending and cash withdrawals overseas (Revolut says this is because the international money markets close over the weekend). That 0.5% mark-up relates to all the major currencies, but for some minor currencies it rises to 2%.
With Monese, card spending abroad is free at any time, up to a limit of £2,000 a month, then a 2% charge applies. There’s also a free ATM withdrawal allowance of £200 each month, after which a 2% fee applies. The thing to bear in mind here is that this £200 is a worldwide allowance, so includes any money you take out that month in the UK and overseas combined.
- Winner: Monese. It’s a close call, but Monese edges it here for its higher free spending allowance and slightly less convoluted overseas card use rules.
Round 4: Account types
|Teen account (for 16 and 17 year olds)
|Kids' account or card
|Go to site
Revolut and Monese both offer free e-money accounts, which are the main focus of this comparison guide. Revolut has also expanded its e-money account range with three paid-for tiers – Plus, Premium and Metal. While Monese offers two paid-for accounts, in the form of Classic and Premium. Both brands also run business accounts.
Revolut doesn’t offer joint accounts or teen accounts, but does have a child account called Revolut Junior (managed through the parent’s account). Monese does offer joint accounts, but it doesn’t operate teen or child accounts.
- Winner: Tie. Both have free and premium e-money accounts options, plus business accounts. Though if you’re after a joint account, then head over to Monese, but if you want an account for your child, check out Revolut.
Round 5: Signing up
|Apply through the app
|Card delivery fee
|Card delivery timescale
|Up to 9 working days
|3-5 business days
|Go to site
You can apply for either a Revolut or a Monese account through their mobile apps in just a few minutes. There are no credit checks, although a photo of your ID and a selfie photo or video is required. The accounts are then usually opened on the same day and both the cards are sent through the post.
Revolut charges £4.99 for card delivery, with the card taking up to 9 working day to arrive. Monese charges an almost identical £4.95 for delivery, and the card should be with you between 3-5 working days.
- Winner: Tie. It’s quick and easy to open either a Revolut or Monese account by downloading and then applying through their respective mobile apps. Both charge just a shade under £5 to have your card delivered.
Round 6: Access to extra benefits
Both Revout and Monese offer free euro accounts to run alongside your UK e-money account.
Monese also has a “marketplace” where its customers can sign up to financial products from its chosen partners. These include Raisin for interest-paying savings accounts, and Monevo for credit-related products. There’s also the option to link up to your Paypal account, which then allows you to track your PayPal transactions and balance through the Monese app.
Revolut doesn’t operate a marketplace, but it does have some unusual features of its own. You can trade shares or buy gold and silver (although there are fees involved for Standard account holders, and remember your capital is at risk if you decide to invest).
- Winner: Tie. This really depends on what extra features it is you’re after. For some, the savings and credit products available through the Monese marketplace will be the most important options, while for others, Revolut’s ability to trade shares and buy precious metals will win out.
Overall winner: Is Revolut better than Monese?
As you’ll have seen from our comparison sections above, the free accounts from Revolut and Monese are very evenly balanced. They’re both great options if you’re after a digital-only e-money account – they’re easy to open and manage through the app, you can track your spending, set budgets and put money aside in savings buckets. There’s also an allowance with each to spend or withdraw money for free overseas, plus the option to send money internationally.
They’re also closely matched when it comes to what you might say are disadvantages – neither have FSCS protection, neither accept cheques or offer interest and overdrafts, both charge for card delivery, and both have a bit of maze of fees and allowances to pick your way through.
So it will probably come down to a specific feature that has caught your eye, such as Monese’s bigger allowance to spend for free overseas, or its ability open an interest-paying savings account though its partnership with Raisin. On the other hand, it could be Revolut’s fairly cheap international money transfers, or its share trading features that clinch it for you.
- Financial Services Compensation Scheme
- Finder Banking Customer Satisfaction Awards 2021
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