Nutty

Monese

review

Is it any good?

Christopher Dowling
Editor-in-Chief
Updated
May 19, 2024

In a nutshell

Monese is great for those who might struggle to open a bank account in the UK or Europe. It’s an app on your phone for everything money; make payments, pay bills etc – and it’s perfect for transferring money overseas. There’s even things like payment insurance. It’s 4 stars from us.

Nuts About Money rating

Monese rated 4 stars

Monese

cracked open

If you’ve struggled to open a bank account in the UK, or think you might struggle, Monese is for you. Or if you want to make cheaper international transfers it could be a good option.

Maybe you can't open a bank account because you haven’t got a good enough credit history in the UK. Or you don't have any utility bills to prove that you even live in the UK. If this is the case Monese is for you. You'll be more likely to be accepted, and can open an account with them all from your mobile phone.

Monese review

It has some great features that boring old bank accounts don't have! You can store Pounds, Euros and Romanian Leu (RON), inside the account and all completely separated.

You’ll get a Mastercard to spend in shops, and can make cash withdrawals (although at a cost on the free plan). Importantly, you can also transfer money abroad to different currencies.

Note: customer support is also in multiple languages, not just English.

A Monese account is free to open, but you’ll pay fees on some things, like international money transfers – or, you could upgrade to a monthly subscription and these fees reduce or become free (we’ll cover pricing later). It’s completely free to send money to another Monese account.

You can also link your card to Apple Pay and Google Pay too, and get virtual cards for spending online.

Another important point to make is, it’s only for people within Europe, it’s not worldwide (although you can send money anywhere). If you’re outside of Europe, have a look at Revolut (here’s our Revolut review).

It all works with an app on your phone, both on Apple and Android devices. And highly rated, with 4.8 stars on the Apple store and 4 stars on the Google Play store.

Monese app rating

Let’s dive in a little more and see if it’s right for you.

Like the sound of Monese?

Learn more and get started on their website.

Visit Monese¹Visit Monese¹

How Monese works

Monese isn’t quite a bank account, but it’s as close as can be. It’s an e-money service, so handles everything to do with money electronically. Monese calls itself a money account, rather than a bank account.

But it's pretty close to being a bank account. You can open it instantly on your phone with just an ID card or passport, all across Europe – perfect for those in the UK who don’t have a registered address or any bills or credit history to open a bank account with a traditional bank.

How Monese works

You can then do all the normal things a bank does, store your money, make payments, receive payments, save money, spend on a card, etc – whatever you want to do, you can pretty much do!

To get money into your Monese account, you can either transfer money in, such as from your salary, or you can go into a Post Office or find a PayPoint and hand over cash that will be sent to your Monese account. Pretty handy.

There’s a few more things you can do too:

  • Manage it on your computer
  • Use it with PayPal
  • Use it with Avios (collect points every time you spend)
  • Have a joint account with another Monese user
  • Create separate ‘pots’ for savings or bills
  • Even earn interest on your savings

Monese joint accounts

You can open a joint account with Monese too – pretty handy right?

A joint account is where you share an account with someone you trust, such as a partner. You can add money for household bills for instance, or build up a savings pot for something – maybe a wedding?!

Monese joint accounts

You’ll both be able to see the account inside your Monese app, and it’s completely separate from your own personal account.

A nice touch is you get a separate debit card to spend money from your joint account. And it’s a nice rose gold colour – so you’ll definitely know if you’re spending on the right card!

Monese credit builder

No credit history? This could be the perfect option for you.

So how does it work? Instead of a typical credit card or loan (which you might not get with a poor credit history), with Monese, you decide how much you can afford to repay each month, for instance £30. This is then multiplied by 12 to give you a total loan amount of £360.

This loan is then locked away in a separate pot that you can’t access for 12 months, but acts as a real loan that counts towards credit reference agencies (the people who give you a credit score), and you are now building up a good credit history!

The monthly payments you make of £30 go towards your loan amount, but you get all the money back after 12 months (so £360).

The important thing to remember is you must make the monthly repayments otherwise you’ll make your credit history worse.

Monese credit builder

It’s a great way to build up your credit history, especially as the money is locked away so you can’t be tempted to spend it!

Monese saving

You can set up savings pots with Monese, which is just a separate place within your account, where you can allocate money to different things, rather than having it all in a single account balance.

For instance, perhaps you’re saving for Christmas presents – you can move say £10 across every month and know that you’ll have £120 by the time Christmas comes around!

Monese saving

You're allowed to have up to 10 pots too. If you like, you can earn interest on your savings through the ‘hub’ section. Note: it’s not part of your Monese account.

Bills & purchase protection (insurance)

For UK customers, if you upgrade your account (more on pricing later), you’ll automatically get insurance to cover your spending (called purchase protection), and insurance cover to help pay your bills if you become sick or have an accident and lose your job, or can’t work because you’re in hospital. You’ll also be covered if you lose your job and it wasn’t your decision.

Purchase protection is intended to protect your more expensive items, and if they get stolen or damaged, you’ll get a refund. Not bad right?

Monese bills & purchase protection

It will only cover your bills and spending that come out of your Monese account, and you’ll get:

  • Accident or sickness cover up to £1,200
  • Hospital stay cover - £30 per day (up to 30 days)
  • Up to £1,000 per claim (£2,500 per year limit) with purchase protection

The cover rises slightly when you upgrade to Premium.

How much does Monese cost?

Monese has 3 different pricing plans. The first is a Starter plan (£0 per month), the second is the Classic plan (£5.95 per month), and third a Premium plan (£14.95 per month).

Let’s take a look at each one.

By the way, if you pay yearly, you can save 30% on the fees.

Starter (£0 per month)

Monese Starter plan

This is your free account, well, free to open. You’ll get access to all the features, but they’re not all free. There are some costs, the most important being:

  • 2.5% fee for international transfers (3.5% on weekends)
  • 2% fee when spending in foreign currencies (e.g. spending cash abroad)
  • £1.50 for a cash withdrawal at an ATM
  • 3.5% fee to add cash to your account at the Post Office or PayPoint location 

You also won’t get access to priority support (which is quicker response times from their customer service team). And you won’t get any insurance.

Classic (£5.95 per month)

Monese Classic plan

With the Classic plan, here’s what you’ll pay vs the Starter plan:

  • From 0.5% for international transfers
  • Free spending in foreign currencies (e.g. spending cash abroad)
  • The first £500 of cash withdrawals are free
  • The first £400 of cash added to your account is free (from the Post Office or PayPoint location)

You’ll also get all the insurance options (e.g. purchase protection).

Premium (£14.95 per month)

Monese Premium plan

And here’s what you’ll get with the Premium plan:

  • Free international transfers
  • Free spending in foreign currencies (e.g. spending cash abroad)
  • The first £1,500 of cash withdrawals are free
  • The first £1,000 of cash added to your account is free (from the Post Office or PayPoint location)
  • Free replacement cards

You’ll also get priority customer service, and all the insurance options (e.g. purchase protection), with higher payouts. Learn more on the Monese website¹ if you’re interested in insurance.

Customer support

The customer support is okay.

You can speak directly to the support team within the app itself, and you can email them too if you’re not in a hurry. They’ll respond when they can, but it’s not immediate, that’s the drawback.

You have to upgrade to a Premium plan to get faster responses (called priority support).

There’s also a help centre on their website, which has most of the questions you might ask – so it’s worth checking out before asking on the app.

Is Monese safe?

Yep! Although it’s a bit different to a regular bank. As Monese isn’t a bank, you don’t get protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) – which is where your money is protected up to £85,000. 

Monese is still authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to make sure they are looking after your money properly.

Monese regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

With Monese, your money is protected with something called ‘safeguarding’, that’s when all of your money is kept in a bank account with a secure bank who is responsible for looking after your money (called PrePay Solutions), instead of Monese holding it. 

And this money is kept nice and secure, can only be returned to you, and can be returned whenever you request it.

Monese customer reviews

Monese is super popular! And customers love it.

On the reviews website Trustpilot, it has a great score of 4.1 out of 5, from over 29,000 reviews. Banks normally get terrible ratings as the customer service is always poor, normally 1 star!

Monese Trustpilot rating

Most of the ratings are 5 stars, it’s just the slower than expected customer service responses that has caused a fair few 1 star reviews.

Our thoughts

We like Monese, it’s a great idea for those who can’t get a regular bank account in the UK, or across Europe. Everyone should be able to make money transfers, pay bills and buy things with a card – and Monese are solving this problem.

It’s free to get started, although there are fees to use your account, such as making cash withdrawals (unless you upgrade).

Plus, there’s insurance if you can’t cover your bills in future (depending on the circumstances), and protection when you buy items (e.g. get a refund if your item breaks). Which is a great bonus.

Also, you can get a joint account, and make transfers abroad – which can be cheaper than using a bank. It’s great for building up a credit history too, with their credit builder feature. It really seems like they are trying to help people when the banks aren't willing to help.

The customer service could be improved however. And for that reason and the sometimes expensive fees on the free plan, we’re knocking it down a star. Overall it’s 4 stars from us. If you’re keen to learn more or get started, here’s the Monese website¹.

Is there a deal?

Not currently! 

If there is, we'll update it here. But we might have missed it, so check out the Monese website¹ here to check yourself.

Like the sound of Monese?

Learn more and get started on their website.

Visit Monese¹Visit Monese¹

Like the sound of Monese?

Learn more and get started on their website.

Visit Monese¹Visit Monese¹

Like the sound of Monese?

Learn more and get started on their website.

Visit Monese¹Visit Monese¹
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Like the sound of Monese?

Learn more and get started on their website.

Visit Monese¹Visit Monese¹

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