Monese Review 2020 - Discover the Pros and Cons

Monese logo with a mobile phone

Monese is one of the biggest up and comers in digital banking. It aims to provide a bank account to almost anyone living in the UK, and does not require any credit history or proof of address. But does it live up to its expectations? Selectra looks into everything Monese, with its hands-on Monese review.


If you are unfamiliar with Monese and want to learn more about its range of accounts and features, then we have all the information you need in our guide to Monese.

Why should you trust a Selectra review?All of our reviews are done by us, in-house, by Selectra staff. We provide an honest, unbiased opinion of all the products or services we review. Although we sometimes receive a commission for the products or services we review, we never let this impact our opinion as ultimately, it is you, our reader, who comes first.


With a Monese current account, you get access to some great features and even more are available with its paid-for accounts. No matter which Monese account you opt for, you will receive:

  • UK Account Number
  • UK Sort Code
  • Contactless Debit Card
  • The option to open a EUR IBAN account

Monese is compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay to make payments on the go using your mobile phone

You can have your salary or benefits paid directly into your Monese account and use it to pay in stores using your debit card, withdraw cash from ATMs, send money, set up direct debits and standing orders, and more. Let’s take a closer look.


Monese Review - Trustpilot

One of the first things we took a look at was the opinions and reviews of existing Monese customers. To do this, we headed over to review site, Trustpilot.

There are over 13,000 reviews of Monese from current and past customers, with an average rating of 4.3 / 5

89% of Monese customers rate the bank excellent or great, and just 8% rate it as poor or bad.

These are some impressive scores, especially when you consider that the majority of high street banks, such as Barclays, NatWest, and Bank of Scotland are all rated less than 2 / 5.

The positive comments about Monese praise it for its mobile app, customer service, and its ability to provide a bank account to those refused elsewhere.

“Well thought out and the best app-based bank on the market. Literally took less than 5 minutes to set up and start using”

Gurpeet- Trustpilot

“I used Monese since I came to the UK, as I wasn't able to open a normal bank account, it's been great the last year, I get my wages, pay everything with this card and I have never had a problem at all”

Angie- Trustpilot

There are a few negative reviews about the bank, with some people commenting that they experienced long waiting times getting their account verified, and others claiming that their account was blocked.

“Verification takes months. As other customers, I did not hear anything about account verification for several months”

Henrik- Trustpilot

“I usually never had any issues with Monese since I opened my account back in 2017 but for some reasons unknown to me my account has been blocked.”

Arqam- Trustpilot

Monese is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and it can only block accounts for a valid reason, which it lists within its T&Cs. In terms of lengthy wait times, Monese advises that its verification process is automated and although it should be a simple process, sometimes “isolated situations might happen” and customers should contact its customer support team for further advice.

Monese Review - Customer Service
4.3 / 5


Monese Review - Opening an account

To open a bank account with Monese, the first thing we needed to do was download the Monese App to our smartphone, which is where we will apply for our new Monese account. There is no paperwork involved, and Monese claims it takes just a few minutes to open a new account.

There are three Monese accounts to choose from, starting with its free Simple account up to its Premium account for a £14.95 monthly fee. You can read more about the different Monese accounts in our guide to Monese. For our review, we opted for the free Simple Monese account.

To open a Monese account, follow these steps:

open a monese account
  1. Download the Monese app to your phone.
  2. Open the Monese app.
  3. Tap ‘Open free account’
  4. Enter your email address, and where you live.
  5. Read and agree to the terms and conditions
  6. Tap ‘Get started’
  7. Create and confirm a 5 digit passcode.
  8. Enter your mobile number.
  9. You will be sent a confirmation code via SMS.
  10. Enter the confirmation code.
  11. Choose either a Euro account or a GBP account.
  12. Enter your address.

All we had to do next was to complete the application process by confirming our ID by taking a photo of it within the Monese app, where it was sent securely for verification, and we then had to take a selfie to confirm we are who we say we are.

Accepted forms of ID include:

  • Driving licence
  • Passport
  • National ID card

You don’t need a permanent UK address to open an account. Instead, you just need to let Monese know the address you want your debit card posting to. You won’t be able to use your account until you activate your card.

We found the application process straightforward and only took us a few minutes to complete. So far, we have downloaded the app and successfully applied for a new Monese bank account, and it has taken up less than 10 minutes of our time.

Monese Review - Opening an account
4.5 / 5


Monese Review - The App

The Monese app is where you access your account to manage your money, send payments and more. The Monese app is one of the best around and is rated 4.8 / 5 and 4.4 / 5 on The App Store and Google Play Store, respectively.

Once we logged into the mobile banking app, we could carry out all of our day-to-day banking activities, including:

open a monese account
  • View your account balance.
  • View your account information.
  • View your latest transactions.
  • Lock / unlock your debit card if you misplace it.
  • Send and receive payments
  • International money transfers
  • Pay bills
  • Request money and send money to other Monese accounts
  • Order a replacement debit card.
  • Monitor your spending.
  • View and cancel your direct debit and standing orders.

One feature we liked about the Monese App was its budgeting tools, which allowed us to set a monthly budget which can then be broken down into individual budget categories, such as a transport budget, grocery shopping budget, and bill budget.

Whenever you make a payment with your Monese debit card, the app automatically categorises it and the amount is deducted from your budget. If you are close to reaching any of your budgets, Monese will let you know by sending a notification to your phone. It is a great way of managing your money and making your money last longer.

The Monese app is supported in 14 languages, to help make it accessible to everyone

To further make your spending behaviour as transparent as possible, Monese also sent us a notification when we used our debit card in store or online, or to withdraw cash from an ATM. The notification told us how much we spent, where we spent it, and how much we had spent so far that day. A handy feature which keeps you aware of how much you are spending throughout the day.

We found the layout of the Monese app nice and simple with all the features easy to find and use. It simplifies the app with graphs and categories in different colours to help identify where our money was going. Also, the app works in real-time, so as soon as you make or receive a payment, or transfer money, you can view it within the app together with detailed information, so you are never in the dark about the status of your account or what your available balance is.

Monese Review - The App
4.5 / 5


Monese Review - Fees

For the most part, a Monese account is free to use. However, each account has a monthly allowance, with the Premium account having the most generous monthly allowance out of the three available accounts.

Once you have exhausted your free allowance, it charges you for some transactions. For example, Monese charges a 2% fee per ATM withdrawal once you have exceeded your monthly limit. However, it is always free to use your Monese card in-store anywhere that accepts MasterCard, as well as being free to use online.

Read more about Monese fees for using your account in the UK and abroad.

Most digital banks such as Monese offer different accounts to choose from, usually starting with a free account. Although being charged for certain activities may put some people off, Monese doesn’t charge any other fees often found with traditional high-street banks, and any fees it charges for exceeding your allowance are still far cheaper than high street banks.

If you open a free Monese account and stay within your allowance, you will avoid paying anything, which is a great thing for a bank to provide.

two debit cards

All Monese accounts offer:

  • Free and instant payments between Monese accounts
  • Free incoming and outgoing transfers between Monese and other accounts in the same currency
  • Free card spending in the account’s currency
  • Free direct debits (GBP and EUR wherever available)
  • Free GBP and EUR account numbers

Monese doesn’t charge for declined Direct Debits and payments - If there isn’t enough money in your account to make a requested payment, Monese will give you the choice to add money to your account or cancel the payment

We were thrilled with the fees set out by Monese. There were no hidden fees or nasty charges that we so often hear complaints about from high-street bank customers. Much like everything else we have experienced so far with Monese, its fees were clear and simple to understand.

Monese Review - Fees
5 / 5


Monese Review - Using Monese Abroad

Unfortunately, we did not have anyone jetting off on their holidays to give our Monese account a test run. However, it is entirely possible to use your Monese account for spending money abroad for long-term travelling or for a holiday because of Monese issuing MasterCard debit cards, which means you can use it to pay in-store and withdraw money from ATMs anywhere that you see the MasterCard logo.

open a monese account

Similar to using your account in the UK, Monese provides you with a monthly limit for using your card abroad. With the free Monese account, you can spend and withdraw up to £2,000 a month for free, after which it applies a 2% fee for each payment or withdrawal.

We thought this was a very generous allowance for spending abroad. Especially as most high-street banks charge you for every single payment or cash withdrawal outside of the UK.

If you are going on holiday or travelling, you can opt to take your Monese card with you for all of your spending and avoid having to carry large sums of cash around with you.

Monese Review - Using Monese Abroad
5 / 5


Monese Review - Pros and Cons

Monese Pros Monese Cons
 Free payments in the UK and abroad.
 Budgeting tools to help monitor your spending.
 Choice of accounts available.
 Generous free allowances.
 Fast application with no credit check or proof of address.
 Can integrate with your Paypal account.
 No online banking available.
 No Metal debit card.
 No savings accounts.

Monese Alternatives

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N26

N26 boasts an ultra-fast, paperless application process; automatic budgeting tools, fee-free spending in the UK and abroad, and rave customer reviews.

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Monese logo

Revolut

Revolut is one of the most popular prepaid debit cards in the world and aims to make it simple for customers to use their debit card anywhere in the world.

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thinkmoney logo

thinkmoney

With over 100,000 customers throughout the UK, thinkmoney is helping people manage their finances, get back on their feet, and improve their credit rating.

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N26 Metal

N26 Metal is one of the most popular premium digital bank accounts and comes with exclusive features and benefits not found with other N26 accounts.

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Monese Review - Our Verdict

Monese Logo

Open a Monese account today

Apply now

Monese Review | 4.7 / 5

Open a Monese Classic account

We found that Monese is a great contender for a digital bank. Its flexibility makes it ideal for those refused a bank account elsewhere or for people have just arrived to the UK and require a UK bank account to apply for jobs or to rent a property, as it does not require you to pass a credit check or have a permanent address.
Even if you have a perfect credit history, a Monese account is excellent for travelling and going on holiday as you avoid the excessive fees normally associated with high street current accounts.
The Monese App is one of the best we have experienced and blows other outdated apps clear out of the water. The app is always up to date and notifies you of your spending and puts everything into categories so you can really see where your money goes, and make smarter decisions about your spending.
Although all Monese accounts come with free allowances, we felt that the £200 allowance for withdrawing cash from an ATM might be too low for some people who prefer to withdraw cash out each week. However, because you have the budgeting tools at your disposal, you may no longer need to budget by drawing out a set amount of money each week or month.
We would like to see Monese introduce some extra features, such as the option to apply for an overdraft or savings account which, until they are introduced, might put some people off using Monese as their main current account. At the moment, you can move money to a Savings Pot that keeps your money separate from your main account but does not incur any interest.
In a nutshell, Monese is a great bank account and we hope that other banks begin to take notice of its innovative features and free allowances, and start following in its giant footsteps.


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