The digital world has transformed the way we do many things – including banking and money management. It is no longer a requirement to visit your local branch to withdraw money, cash payments, and make transferals – this can all be done online via internet banking.
The logical progression of online banking was of course digital banks. One of the pioneers of this industry in the UK was Monese.
Monese is a digital bank account that allows you to create a range of bank accounts and offers a variety of monetary services – without any physical banks. Let’s take a look at what this digital bank actually does, and if it is a worthwhile service!
In this Monese review…
Monese Review Summary
Monese is essentially a smartphone bank. Forget about high street branches and building societies – this is digital banking. It still operates like a traditional bank in that you create an account, have a debit card, and can manage your finances. However, this can all be managed via your smartphone.
The basic Monese account is their instant account and this is essentially a current account. With this account, you can do anything you can that you could at a normal bank – transfer money, set up direct debits, and accept payments, for example.
Monese is also great for international transfers, and if you need to set up an account quickly when moving to the UK. We also like the ease of use of the app and the fact that it makes banking a relatively simple process. However, some people may not like the lack of a physical branch, and the lack of telephone customer support.
- Single and joint current accounts.
- Each account comes with a debit card.
- Online-only banking via the mobile app.
- International payments and transferals.
- Free in-account transfers for GBP, EUR, and RON.
Monese Review – What Does This Mobile Money App Have to offer?
To give an in-depth Monese review we have broken this article into different sections. We take a look at the services provided, their price plans, and their security, for example.
Monese is a relatively simple service that doesn’t have a huge array of features. This means it is easy to digest and understand. The following are the current main features that Monese provides:
- A current account that supports GBP, EUR, and RON.
- Joint account availability.
- A contactless debit card for payments and ATM withdrawals.
- International money transfer
- Creation of “pots” to encourage saving.
Originally, Monese was completely free to use and they had no premium plans. However, as their popularity grew, they eventually progressed to offer three levels of account – simple, classic, and premium. The prices for these different plans are listed below:
- Simple: £0.00 per month.
- Classic: £5.95 per month.
- Premium: £14.95 per month.
The simple free plan gives you a contactless debit card, ATM cash withdrawals of up to £200.00 for free, foreign currency card spending free of charge up to £2000.00, and foreign currency transfers for free to other Monese accounts.
This is pretty decent and could be great for those who simply have the occasional holiday abroad and predominantly spend online.
Alternatively, the classic plan also provides a contactless debit card but gives free ATM cash withdrawals of up to £900.00. Also, the foreign currency spending is boosted to £9000.00, and the fee for foreign currency transfers to non-Monese accounts is reduced to 0.5%.
Lastly, the premium account takes things one step further. You still get the contactless debit card, but all ATM cash withdrawals are free. Also, you have unlimited foreign currency card spending, and free foreign currency transfers to both Monese, and non-Monese accounts.
This account could be a great choice if you travel frequently, or you have family living in a different country to who you regularly need to send money too.
Monese Current Account
The main service offered by Monese is their current account or instant account. This comes with a contactless debit card and is currently the only type of account offered. The instant account can either be a single-person account, or you can create a joint account with a partner. This is a great way to manage joint bills etc.
The instant account is quick to set up and the sign-up process is also incredibly easy. It is much quicker to create an account with Monese than it is to set up an account with a traditional bank. This could be perfect for people who have just moved to a different country, or those who travel regularly and live in different countries.
With the currency account created, you can then manage, send, and transfer money in three main currencies – GBP, EUR, and RON (Romanian Leu).
We researching for this Monese review, we really liked the contactless card that you get when you have created your account. This card looks sleek, but it is also highly functional. It can be used to make ATM withdrawals and in-store payments. You can also use the Monese App to make payments, however.
A great feature that Monese offers is money transferals. Using your current account you can easily transfer money to other bank accounts online. Also, they have a decent international money transfer service.
The fee and exchange rate for international money transferal varies depending on which account you have. The premium account offers the lowest fees and the best exchange rates. Alternatively, the simple free account has the highest fees and the lowest exchange rates.
Regardless, the fees are minimum, and the ease of use of the service is fantastic. You can quickly and effectively make international transfers and also set up recurring international payments if you have family in a different country.
But what about security? Is this company regulated and is your money safe with Monese? These are important questions and it is another factor why people are often hesitant to use an digital banks such as Monese.
Firstly, Monese is NOT covered by the FSCS (Financial Services Compensations Scheme). This is essentially a scheme in which customers are covered for up to £85,000 of their savings if the company capitulates.
Despite this, Monese is regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). This is a huge plus and should quell any reservations you have about their security. FCA regulation essentially means that Monese must project and store 100% of their customer’s funds in a separate location to their own finances.
Monese Mobile App
The main part of a mobile-only bank is of course the mobile app. This is an area that Monese excels. The mobile app is fantastic and easy to use.
On the main account dashboard, you can easily switch between accounts and it clearly shows an overview of the funds you have, and any savings you have set aside. It also shows useful items like recent payees and recent transactions.
The layout is minimalistic, as is the app design itself. It’s certainly not complicated and we are confident that anyone can learn to use it quickly.
The app also has excellent cyber security. Each account has single-device access – this means that you can only access your account from one smartphone. Also, you can enable two-factor authentication which is common for most bank account logins today. We also like that you are automatically logged out of your account after 20 minutes of inactivity.
Customer support is still a vital part of online banking. What happens if you have issues with your debit card? What if you think your account is compromised? You still need to be able to reach a customer service rep quickly.
Monese has a range of customer support outlets. However, one of the main drawbacks is that unlike traditional banks like Nationwide and Halifax, it does not have a telephone support line. Some people may be put off by this and we can understand why. With something as important as your cash, having an actual person to speak to who can help is reassuring.
Customer support is given via email or live chat from the mobile app. Live chat is by far the best means of communication and it is convenient as it is within the app. You do speak to an actual customer service rep and the response times are pretty fast.
Monese Review Conclusion
For a standard bank account for UK residents, Monese is an OK choice. Many people, however, may still prefer to use a traditional bank. Traditional banks like Halifax and Santander do offer a greater variety of account options and features.
Also, there is the fact that Monese has no physical branches, and no telephone customer support – some people simply won’t be able to transition to this.
However, if you travel regularly, or have family in a different country, Monese is one of the best options available. It provides a quick and easy method of managing your finances in different countries and making international payments.
Alternatives To Monese
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