Describing itself as a ‘100% mobile, multi-award-winning current account provider’, Monese offers bank accounts that you can open ‘in minutes’. Does Monese make money easy, as their name suggests?
Monese bank accounts are available to all residents, over the age of 18, in the European Economic Area.
According to Monese, you can open an account regardless of your financial history. Could this bank be the solution for those that struggle to access current accounts elsewhere?
Read on for our ‘at a glance’ guide to banking with Monese, along with plenty of important details.
Open to all EEA residents
GBP and EUR accounts available
Open an account without a credit check
Instant transaction notifications
Multilingual support in 14 languages
No bank branches, though you can deposit cash at PayPoint and Post Office locations
£200 cash transaction limits on basic (Simple) accounts
Relies entirely on your phone with no alternative to app-based banking
Not part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
What is Monese?
Monese is a bank account that’s opened and managed through its app.
You can download the app to your iOS or Android device.
Monese launched in 2015, making it one of the earliest app-only banks. The bank’s Estonian founder created Monese with the aim of removing restrictions. You don’t have to provide excessive amounts of ID, or go through a credit check, to open a Monese account.
Better than basic banking in the UK
This full-featured bank account includes a Mastercard debit card, as well as a sort code and account number. However, Monese has no branches. You’ll do all your banking using your smartphone, with a free standard account or one of two paid-for premium options.
Features of the Monese app include instant transaction notifications, budgeting tools and connection to both Google and Apple Pay.
Who is Monese for?
Monese grew from its founder’s idea to make bank accounts easier to open. Now, the bank claims to accept almost every application. Accounts are opened regardless of financial history and residency, meaning that they can be opened even by people that are new to their country.
You don’t need a regular fixed income to open your Monese account. If you have an income that varies from month to month, you can still choose to bank with Monese.
Accounts are open to residents of all countries within the European Economic Area. You don’t need to provide proof of address but will need some form of identification such as a passport or driving license.
Despite this, the bank does come with a few self-imposed restrictions.
There are no Monese bank branches, which means that you’ll need to visit a Post Office or PayPoint to pay in cash. These cash deposits are included within your limit for cash top-ups and ATM withdrawals (set at £200 for Simple plans and £800 for Classic plans). But, you’ll be charged a 2% fee on all transactions over this limit.
Unlike some other challenger banks, Monese does not provide an option for paying in your cheques. If you expect to receive these, you’ll need another account that does.
For anyone that deals only rarely with cash, and can’t remember the last time they received a cheque, Monese accounts have many benefits. Their relatively loose application requirements mean that most people can open an account.
How does Monese work?
You’ll need a smartphone, and the iOS or Android app, to open a Monese account.
Monese emphasises how you can open your account ‘in minutes’, without a credit check or proof of address.
To apply for an account you will need some form of recognised ID. This can be your passport, driving license or a recognised national ID card. You will also need to upload a short video of yourself, for identification purposes. In some cases, this won’t be enough and you may also be required to arrange a short video call.
You can start using your account in-app as soon as it’s opened, but you’ll be waiting 3-5 business days for your card to arrive. This is a Mastercard debit, with contactless functionality.
What features do you get with Monese?
Monese has the following features, as an app-based bank account:
When you spend money, you’ll receive a notification on your phone to give you the details of your purchase. You’ll also receive notifications for incoming transactions, and Direct Debits as they’re paid.
Financial Tracking Tools
See at a glance how much you’re spending. In-app tools record your income and your outgoings, including categorised spending so that you can see where your money is going.
Top up your Monese account instantly, by debit card or bank transfer. You can also deposit cash at PayPoint and Post Office locations, though these transactions may go through a bit slower.
Google and Apple Pay
Monese accounts can be used with Google Pay and Apple Pay so that you can leave your card at home.
You can use your Monese card worldwide, making up to £2,000 of transactions free of charge every month. There will be a 2% fee on transactions over this limit.
You can see many of your other financial accounts within the Monese app. These include PayPal and Avios.
Store your money in pots, keeping it separate from your main account balance. You can also apply for a fixed-term savings pot to earn interest on your spare money.
Open a Monese Eurozone account, for access to global bank transfers and the option to bank across Europe. These accounts include an IBAN for international transfers and money stored in Euros instead of GBP.
You can open a secondary account alongside your primary one so that it’s possible to have both a standard GBP and Eurozone account.
Monese customer support is available in 12 different languages. You can also select these languages for in-app use.
Languages currently supported are English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Polish, Turkish, Czech, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Brazilian Portuguese.
What packages does Monese offer?
Monese has a Simple account that is free to use. It includes a £200 monthly limit for cash transactions – ATM withdrawals and deposits – and a £2,000 limit for spending in foreign currencies. Fees are charged if you go over the limits.
For £4.95 per month, you can upgrade to the Classic account. This increases your cash transaction limit to £800 per month and foreign spending to £8,000.
The Monese Premium account comes at a cost of £14.95 per month. But, it removes all limits for cash and overseas transactions.
Are there any additional charges?
Though Monese offers a free bank account, watch out for your monthly limits. If you go over, any additional spending or cash deposits will incur a 2% fee.
There are no other charges for any day-to-day banking.
How safe is Monese?
Monese is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, as an agent of PrePay Technologies Limited.
Your funds are not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). But, in accordance with e-money regulations, all funds are safeguarded and are stored with other UK bank accounts.
You have the option, in-app, to lock and unlock your card and to control when it can be used. Locking your card does not stop Direct Debit transactions.
What about customer service?
There are no Monese bank branches to visit for customer service. This is, however, offered in-app.
Customer service is available in 12 different languages.
Perhaps the biggest barrier to making Monese your only bank account is its lack of support for cheques. If you are ever likely to receive cheques, then you’ll need another suitable account.
Using cash can be inconvenient. You’ll need to visit your local Post Office, or a PayPoint location, in order to pay it in. However, many people will find that their local Post Office, or shop with PayPoint, is more accessible than legacy bank branches.
Cash transactions, including ATM withdrawals, have a £200 monthly limit. If your deposits and withdrawals take you over this limit, then you’ll be charged 2% on the rest. Customers regularly dealing with larger amounts of cash can pay for a Classic or Premium account to increase (or eradicate) those limits.
You will need a relatively modern smartphone to apply for and manage a Monese account. There are no web-based online banking options, or telephone banking functionalities. But, if you are happy to use your mobile phone for all of your banking, then with a full UK bank account (and even the option of a Eurozone account with an IBAN) you can readily receive any incoming payments and make payments including Direct Debits.
Monese: The Verdict
A majority of people within the European Economic Area will be approved for a Monese account.
Though many other banks are looking to reduce their red tape, Monese was founded specifically for this purpose and has fewer restrictions than most.
If you’re an international student studying in the UK, or have recently moved and lack a UK financial history, then Monese is unlikely to turn you away. Bank accounts are opened without credit checks and with limited ID requirements, which means that they are also well suited to those with poor credit history.
The Eurozone account offered independently or as an add-on, could be valuable for regular travellers. It allows you to bank like a local throughout the EEA, with a balance that’s kept in Euros. This also makes Monese a suitable account for students that might return to their home country during the summer holidays.
For those that live permanently in the UK, Monese is also suitable. It offers standard UK bank accounts for all of your day-to-day banking.
Whilst ATM withdrawals and cash deposits are an option, be prepared to pay extra if you go over your monthly limit. For many users, the £200 cash transaction limit on the Simple account will be more than generous enough. Those that more frequently deal with cash have the option of a premium account. Though there are no Monese branches, many customers will find that their local PayPoint or Post Office is actually conveniently close.
With PayPal and Avios connectivity, Monese makes it easier to keep track of additional financial accounts. Meanwhile, features like savings pots and budgeting tools can help you to manage your money.
For people that are happy to bank on their smartphone, don’t receive cheques and only use cash on occasion, there is no reason that Monese can’t be a primary account. And with Eurozone accounts and fewer restrictions than most banks, there are many good reasons to bank with them. Just keep an eye on your phone’s battery level, because there are no alternative options if you run out of power.
More About Monese
Monese is a UK-based financial services company that is set up as an alternative to traditional banks. It was founded by Estonian entrepreneur Norris Koppel. Koppel was inspired to start the company by his being turned down for a current account when he first moved to the UK because of a lack of UK credit history and proof of address. He decided to create a banking service that didn’t exclude people based on these factors. The instant-open current account launched in September 2015 with a waiting list of more than 50,000 customers.
To open and manage their Monese account, customers must use the Monese mobile app. This was launched for Android in September 2015 and for iOS in July 2016.
Monese Products and Services
Monese customers can use the app to pay for goods and services, plus bills such as rent or utilities. Customers can also pay companies or individuals via bank transfer; transfers between Monese accounts are unlimited and take place instantly.
Monese customers do not have to prove residency in the UK and current accounts can be opened via smartphone in just three minutes. Monese began charging £4.95 per month for current account holders in 2016 but has since introduced a free account option and a premium option. All services are free of charge other than international money transfers.
If you have both business and personal banking accounts, you can switch to Monese and get the features of both Monese Plus and a business bank account for £9.95 per month, with the two spends separated in the app.
A Euro personal account is also available with a Euro business account is coming soon.
Monese accounts can only be accessed from a single device, preventing potential fraudsters from accessing account information from elsewhere. Other devices can be added but must be manually authorised using multiple authentication processes every time. Customers must also enter a five-digit passcode every single time they use the app.
Monese Contact Details
85 Great Portland Street First Floor London England W1W 7LT