Monzo Bank

Monzo in-depth review, useful information and user opinions

Monzo Bank
Last updated:
Monzo Key Stats
Founded
2015
Type
Digital / Online
Our Score
4.7

Their slogan is ‘banking made easy’, and they say that you can open an account in less than 10 minutes.  Should you add a Hot Coral Monzo card to your wallet?

First Glance

If you work in retail, then you’ll probably have seen a Monzo card. Their brightly coloured Hot Coral cards are instantly recognisable.

But is this bank, launched in 2015 as Mondo, more than just a fluorescent gimmick?

Here’s our ‘at a glance’ guide to some of the benefits and drawbacks of a Monzo account. We’ll go into more detail later.

Pros:

  • Instant spending notifications
  • Pots for budgeting and splitting your money
  • Access to a choice of savings accounts and ISAs, in-app
  • You can use Monzo for payments abroad
  • Overdrafts are available
  • Monzo offers protection against fraud

Cons:

  • There are no Monzo bank branches available
  • You’ll have to pay a fee to add cash to your account
  • Cheques must be mailed to Monzo
  • You’ll need to use your phone because you can’t do your banking online

What is Monzo?

Monzo started out as Mondo, back in 2015.

Monzo’s 2019 TV advert

Early customers received a prepaid Mastercard, which could be topped up using existing bank accounts.

It wasn’t until 2017 that Mondo turned into Monzo, became a licensed bank, and issued customers with current accounts and debit cards.

Today, with more than 3 million customers, Monzo is one of the most widely-recognised UK challenger banks.

We’re here to make money work for everyone

Monzo

Monzo is an app-based bank, with no web interface for full money management.

Accessing Monzo online will allow you to carry out emergency actions and see your account balance, but will not give control of your money.

You’ll need a smartphone to make use of Monzo. Full app functionality includes a host of features such as pots, instant notifications, borrowing options, savings accounts and budgeting tools.

Who is Monzo for?

The Monzo website talks about ‘financial inclusion’, even discussing how to become a customer if you have no fixed address, or recently arrived in the UK.

With 3 million customers, Monzo appears to have wide-ranging appeal. But, the app-based bank may exclude older people and those that can’t easily use smartphones.

If you’re someone that regularly makes use of cash, or receives money by cheque, then you’ll probably find the Monzo experience to be a bit frustrating. Adding cash to your account requires you to pay a £1 fee and find a shop with PayPoint, whilst paying in a cheque relies on the UK postal system.

Monzo offers workarounds, like links to send and receive payments even without sharing account details, but for some those won’t be enough.

If you don’t use cash very often, and if you’re happy to use your smartphone for all of your personal banking, then you’ll likely find that Monzo meets your needs.

The Monzo app provides a lot of financial control. It has features to help with saving, spending and budgeting. If you don’t need bank branches, there are a lot of good reasons to try Monzo.

How does Monzo work?

According to Monzo, you can join in less than 10 minutes. Start the process by downloading the Monzo app to an iOS or Android device.

Once you have registered, you’ll be taken through Monzo’s security. You’ll need to provide ID, such as a passport or driving license, as well as recording a short video. After signing up, wait for your card to arrive in the mail. Monzo ships its cards out First Class, so that most customers will receive them within 48 hours.

Monzo is a full UK current account. You’ll have an account number and sort code. You can then receive incoming payments and arrange outgoing Direct Debits.

Each Monzo account comes with a brightly coloured Hot Coral Debit Mastercard as standard, for in-store and online purchases.

What features do you get with Monzo?

Monzo is an app-based bank account with the following features:

Pots

Monzo pots allow you to separate your money. If you use a budgeting technique called Envelope Budgeting, then you’ll be aware of this process already.

You can set up a pot for anything, using a name of your choice.

You might like to separate your grocery money from your main current account. Or, set aside some holiday money that you won’t accidentally spend.

Instant Spending Notifications

Monzo will update you whenever money leaves your account. You’ll also receive an alert for any incoming funds.

Savings Accounts

Monzo has linked up with several savings account providers. As a result, you can open a Savings Pot from within the Monzo app. You’ll need to select a provider and account type, choosing from Fixed, Easy Access and ISA accounts.

Though your account is officially held by a different bank or building society, you’ll use your Monzo account to make deposits and withdrawals. You’ll need to put money in a savings account if you want it to earn any interest.

Get Paid Early

If you’re being paid by BACS, then you have the option to claim your money early. Incoming BACS payments, usually due to arrive overnight, can be claimed from 4pm the previous day.

If you’re due to be paid on Monday morning, then you’ll be able to claim your salary from 4pm on Friday.

Budgeting Tools

Within the Monzo app, you can categorise your outgoing payments. See how much you’re spending on fuel for your car, or in a certain shop.

Add your budget to Monzo, to receive alerts if you’re overspending.

Monzo will also keep track of your Direct Debits. You’ll receive a notification if your next Direct Debit payment is higher than the previous month’s.

Card Freezing

Monzo’s security features include the option to temporarily freeze your card, if you’ve lost it but expect it to turn up.

Bill Splitting

If you’re splitting a bill, you can pay in full and then request repayments from your friends. With Bill Splitting, send your friends a repayment link that will be matched against the money that they owe. You’ll receive a notification when your friends have repaid their debts.

Payment Links

With just your username, anyone can visit Monzo.me to instantly send you money. You don’t need someone’s bank details to send payments to their Monzo account.

As a Monzo user, you can also send links to claim money. That way, you can pay someone else without first requesting their bank details.

Fee-Free Overseas Payments

With a Monzo bank account, there are no additional fees for payments that are made in other countries. You can use your Debit Mastercard wherever it’s accepted, at no extra cost.

IFTTT Functionality

‘If This, Then That’, also known as IFTTT, is compatible with the Monzo app. It allows you to create chains of events that you can use to manage your account. Many apps and products connect to IFTTT, including smart home products and fitness devices.

Using IFTTT, you can automatically withdraw money from a Monzo pot at a specific time. You can add money to a savings account every time it rains, or get the lights to flash in your house each time you spend money on a takeaway.

What packages do Monzo offer?

Monzo is a free UK bank account.

For a minimum 6 month term, you can also sign up to Monzo Plus. Here, you can choose from two options (or, choose to pay for both):

The Supporter Bundle provides you with Monzo merchandise, discounts and offers and an exclusive Monzo Plus card. These cards come in two different shades of blue, to replace the usual Hot Coral. This bundle costs £4.95 per month.

The Traveller Bundle includes worldwide travel insurance, emergency cash abroad and the option to withdraw up to £400 from overseas ATMs each month. It also includes airport lounge access, discounts and offers, and again a different coloured card. This bundle costs £9 per month.

Are there any additional charges?

Unless you choose to pay for a Monzo Plus bundle, there are no additional account charges. This is a full UK bank account that is provided free of charge.

How safe is Monzo?

Monzo is a regulated UK bank.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects up to £85,000 of your money.

You can also freeze your card so that it can’t be used by other people if you’ve temporarily misplaced it.

What about customer service?

Monzo does not have any physical bank branches. For customer support you can use the in-app live chat.

Monzo customer service teams are also available by phone (calling 020 3872 0620), or by emailing [email protected]

Can Monzo replace your everyday bank account?

Monzo is a full UK bank account. You can use the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) if you want to go what Monzo has titled ‘#FullMonzo’ in a Twitter marketing campaign.

You can use Monzo as your main current account, with your salary paid in and Direct Debits going out. Just be aware that a Monzo current account can only be managed in-app, and so a fairly modern smartphone is essential.

There are no Monzo branches, and Monzo’s only current partnership is with PayPoint for depositing cash. Fortunately, many shops do have a PayPoint machine.

Monzo: The Verdict

Monzo is a challenger bank that’s best for a cashless society. If you like to do all of your banking online, using your card or phone for payment, then you’ll probably be very happy.

Monzo’s many additional tools and features, from budgeting pots to bill splitting, make it easier to manage your money. If you’ve struggled with budgeting in the past, or feel that you might be over-spending, then the instant transaction updates and automated processes should set you on the right track.

Meanwhile, this is unlikely to be the most suitable account if you regularly deal with cash. You’ll have to pay £1 to deposit cash into your account, and Monzo doesn’t have its own branches.

If you occasionally receive cheques, then you may be able to put up with a need to send them to Monzo by snail mail. If you’re likely to receive them more regularly, this process could be frustrating.

As an app-based bank, Monzo has been able to explore and implement many features that other banks don’t offer. For example, integration with IFTTT which can be both practical and fun. But, without a web interface, Monzo lacks in true accessibility. You can’t manage your banking if your phone’s out of charge, or if you don’t have it to hand.

If you’re the type of person that always has their phone by their side, and if you rarely or never use cash, then you could be very happy amongst Monzo’s 3 million users. This is a feature-packed bank that’s adding new functionality regularly and seems to really listen to its users.

More about Monzo

One of a small number of challenger banks that have shaken up the banking industry, Monzo started out as Mondo – the prepaid card provider. Now, with a full banking license and a change of name, they have almost 3 million customers using their easy-to-spot ‘Hot Coral’ cards.

Monzo users do their banking in-app on Android and iOS devices. They benefit from features like instant transaction notifications, pots for budgeting, and the option to receive their salary early if it’s paid by BACS. Having recently expanded into the US market, Monzo bank has mostly grown by word of mouth and customer recommendation to “make money work for everyone”.

Specifically built for smartphones, Monzo bank’s ethos is to offer an alternative banking solution that helps solve people’s problems. Based in London, the company launched in 2017 and offers a flexible banking service that operates entirely online.

The bank currently offers a Mastercard but is shortly launching a range of other services including Current Accounts, Standing Orders, Direct Debits and Overdrafts.

Even more about Monzo

Monzo, founded in 2015, is a digital mobile-only challenger bank based in London, United Kingdom. Originally named Mondo, the company was started by a team who met while working for Starling Bank, another UK challenger bank. Monzo was one of the earliest of these new app-based banks and holds the record for the fastest crowdfunding campaign in history, raising £1m in just 96 seconds via Crowdcube in 2016.

Monzo was initially granted a restricted banking licence but these restrictions were lifted in April 2017. The bank initially issued customers with prepaid debit cards, but this ended in April 2018 when the current account was rolled out to all customers. Integration with other smart devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa, was added in June.

Monzo reached 1million customers in September 2018.

Monzo Products and Services

Monzo prides itself on listening to customer input and feedback; their user community suggests features; tests beta versions and offers feedback for improvements.

As of June 2018, Monzo customers can make international money transfers via Transferwise.

In-app, Monzo users can manage their money by setting monthly budgets for different outgoings such as eating out or grocery shopping.

Spending is updated in real-time, with notifications sent instantly every time money is spent on the card. Customers can see an overview of their account on demand, sorted by what money has been spent on. The app also sends notifications if customers are in danger of spending too much or going over budget.

Internationally, Monzo works globally and there are no charges for using the card abroad; however, there are restrictions on ATM withdrawals. Up to £200 can be withdrawn over a 30-day period but there is a 3% charge on withdrawals over this amount.

Monzo does not offer what it considers to be ‘obsolete’ features of traditional banking; physical branches and chequebooks. This means that the bank is not necessarily a good solution for those who may still be reliant on cash.

Monzo Security

Monzo is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for deposits of up to £85,000.

Monzo Bank Contact Details

230 City Road
London
EC1V 2TY

Telephone: 0203 872 0620

Email: [email protected]

Monzo Bank
Monzo Bank Review
Bottom line
As one of the first app-only players in the UK, Monzo has certainly made a big impact on the new digital banking landscape. It's a bank that’s best for a cashless society. If you like to do all of your banking online, using your card or phone for payment, then you’ll probably be very happy.
Pros
Instant spending notifications
Pots for budgeting and splitting your money
Access to a choice of savings accounts and ISAs, in-app
You can use Monzo for payments abroad
Overdrafts are available
Monzo offers protection against fraud
Cons
There are no Monzo bank branches available
You’ll have to pay a fee to add cash to your account
Cheques must be mailed to Monzo
You’ll need to use your phone because you can’t do your banking online
4.7
Excellent
Helping the UK make informed banking decisions
  1. The worst bank ever they freeze my…
    The worst bank ever they freeze my account for no reason and they keep telling me specialist is dealing with your account to make matters worst it was 5 days before Boxing Day.
    No one would tell me anything but i think because i transfer money from my other account to this account and right away i send it to 3 of my friends 2 which had Monzo Account not only is account not working but also both of my friends,

    I’m still waiting for the specialist to call!!

  2. 0.1
    Monzo has stole my money

    Don’t use Monzo they cam just freeze your account for no reason they froze my account before Xmas had no money it was all in my Monzo there excuse was one of the teams are looking into the matter 2 weeks still no reply please don’t use them

    1
    0
  3. Monzo has been really good for us. We don’t need all the bells and whistles and we definitely don’t need to visit the branch, so it’s ideal. The app could be a bit more user friendly to be honest, but otherwise it’s fantastic.

  4. Supposed to be a bank but they’re definitely not, it’s just a card and an app but you don’t have a sort code and account number or even ability to make payments to a bank account.

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