Monese was among the very first banks in the United Kingdom to only be available via a mobile app. The bank’s founder opened the bank due to his inability to open a bank account in the UK because he did not have local utility bills or a credit history. Noticing that he was not the only one with the problem, The Monese Bank and App was born.
A Brief History of Monese
- 1 A Brief History of Monese
- 2 Easy & Accessible UK Bank Account
- 3 Monese Regulations
- 4 Why Is Monese Necessary?
- 5 Opening an Account with Monese – What Do You Need?
- 6 What Types of Accounts Does Monese Offer?
- 7 Main Features of an Account with Monese
- 8 Monese Fees
- 9 Monese Debit Card
- 10 Apple Pay
- 11 How Do You Lock Your Monese Card?
- 12 How Do You Make Deposits to Your Monese Account?
- 13 Withdrawal Fees from Monese
- 14 How Can You Make Payments with Monese?
- 15 International Money Transfers with Monese
- 16 Help with Budgeting
- 17 What Types of Notifications Does Monese Provide?
- 18 Monese & Avios Partnership
- 19 Monese Security
- 20 Conclusion
- 21 Monese
- 22 Pros
- 23 Cons
In 2014, Monese founder Norris Koppel moved from Estonia to the United Kingdom. He had no utility bills to prove his address and no UK credit history. This meant that Koppel found it impossible to open a bank account. Without a bank account, Koppel could not rent an apartment or receive his salary.
Koppel launched Monese in September 2015, so others would not have to experience the same struggles. Monese was designed as a banking service that is on-demand, instant, and inclusive. When Monese launched, it was the very first 100 per cent mobile current account in the United Kingdom. Now, it is possible for those across Europe to open a current UK account in a matter of minutes. Monese also avoids the restrictions and hidden fees common of legacy banks.
Monese was a success from the beginning, and it earned the 2016 European Fintech Awards’ Best Challenger-Bank honour. By 2017, the customer transactions on Monese were more than half a billion pounds.
Easy & Accessible UK Bank Account
Monese continues to remain true to its roots, offering a current UK account that is simple to open. It is accessible for everyone, regardless of whether they have documentation for utility bills or perfect credit scores.
So far, Monese has opened tens of thousands of on-demand accounts that are mobile-only for customers across the UK and EU. Monese even received €1.1 million from the European Commission to use for innovation and research.
Monese is fully registered with the Financial Conduct Authority of the UK for 100 per cent security.
Monese is a registered agent for PrePay Technologies Limited, an electronic money institution that the FCA authorises following the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (900010) to issue electronic money and payment instruments.
Why Is Monese Necessary?
Monese offers an alternative to the shortcomings that come with traditional banks. Most banks in the UK require a credit history, utility bills, and plenty of fees. By contrast, Monese accepts nearly every single customer that applies for an account. There is no need to have a regular fixed income, a credit history, or even be established in the country.
Opening an Account with Monese – What Do You Need?
As mentioned, Monese was designed to make it simple to open an account. To open an account with Monese, you must live within the European Economic Area (EEA), although the bank is constantly expanding its reach to appeal to more customers.
To open an account with Monese, you do not need to provide any proof of address. There is also no need to visit a branch in person or have a good credit history.
When you are ready to open a UK current account, you just download the mobile application and then follow the on-screen step-by-step instructions to open and then verify the account. To open the account, you will need to use your smartphone’s camera to take a photo and send an image of an ID document. This document can be an ID card or passport, and it does not matter which country issues it. The application uses advanced technology to confirm your identity, so you can get account details in minutes, including the account number as well as sort code.
What Types of Accounts Does Monese Offer?
Monese offers three account types: Start, Plus, and Premium. Regardless of account type, there is a maximum balance for the account of £40,000 for UK-based accounts. It is possible to switch between account types at any point. Those opening an account in the Eurozone will notice a €10,000 maximum balance for all account types in France and a maximum of €50,000 for Plus and Premium accounts in other countries.
Starter accounts are free (£0 per month), and there is no fee for using the contactless debit card. There is a £1 fee for ATM cash withdrawals, a 2 per cent foreign currency exchange fee (minimum of £2), a 0.35 per cent fee for instant top-ups, a 2 per cent fee (£2 minimum) for post office cash top-ups, and a 3.5 per cent fee (£3 minimum) for PayPoint top-ups.
Plus accounts cost £4.95 per month and add six free ATM cash withdrawals per month. This type of account lowers foreign exchanges fees to 0.5 per cent (£2 minimum) and cash top-ups to £1 at the Post Office and 2.5 per cent (£1 minimum) for PayPoint.
Premium accounts cost £14.95 per month but have no fees, including for currency exchanges and both cash and instant top-ups. They also have unlimited ATM cash withdrawals for free.
Main Features of an Account with Monese
With a Monese account, you can engage in unlimited transactions, receive euros or pounds via bank transfers, make use of fast bank transfers, make direct debits, get cash at ATMs around the world, and use a contactless debit card.
There are no hidden fees associated with opening a Monese account. There is also no minimum balance required. Traditional banks make their profits by a combination of reinvesting the money of customers and charging incredibly high fees. Those fees typically apply to everything from high interest rates for loans and overdrafts to missed direct debits, money transfers, and using the card overseas. By contrast, Monese does not charge these excessive fees.
Monese Debit Card
The Monese debit card functions exactly as you expect a debit card to work. This is also a contactless debit card for extra convenience. The Monese debit card is accepted in more than 200 countries around the world, as well as by most mobile app services and major online retailers. Essentially, it is possible to use your Monese debit card to pay for your daily transactions around the world.
It is also important to note that the Monese debit card acts as a prepaid card. This means that if you wish, you can set a budget, and the card will not let you overspend or run up a debt.
The contactless nature of the Monese debit card means that you can make transactions in seconds. There is no need to enter the PIN, either, if your transaction is £30 or less. There are no security concerns with contactless payments since the merchant will only be able to take the specific amount of the transaction a single time. Contactless payments let you avoid carrying spare change for smaller transactions, save time, and reduce the risk of fraud since you never have to let your card out of your hand.
This week (Feb 2019) Monese made the announcement that they have added Apple Pay for personal UK and European Monese cards in the UK and France. This means you can make payments in person using your iPhone or for iOS apps and around the web where it is accepted.
With a tap on your phone you now have the ability to pay thousands of shops and other merchants.
How Do You Lock Your Monese Card?
If you ever suspect that your card has been compromised or do not want to risk spending your money, you can easily and instantly lock the Monese debit card via the application. Unlocking is also simple via the application. Once you lock your debit card, you can easily order a new one from Monese.
How Do You Make Deposits to Your Monese Account?
Monese makes it simple to deposit funds into an account using one of several methods. Those who are in the United Kingdom will appreciate that the current accounts include an account number and a sort code that make it possible to receive UK bank transfers. These transfers can be from companies or individuals and include direct payments from employers.
Those who are outside of the United Kingdom can make payments into a UK Monese account using European IBAN. To complete this type of deposit, you just make a bank transfer into Monese’s European IBAN account with the payment reference of your Monese ID. Monese will then use the real exchange rate for the currency conversion, so you get the best exchange rate possible. From there, Monese will route the funds into your UK Monese account in the form of GBP.
In addition to the ability to deposit funds into a Monese account via UK or European transfers, it is possible to top up cash at one of the more than 40,000 locations in the UK. Monese partnered with PayPoint and the Post Office, so clients can go anywhere with the PayPoint logo and instantly top up cash in their Monese account. This means that you can visit any off-license, corner store, or high-street convenience store with the PayPoint logo or go to your convenient Post Office.
If you choose to top up with cash at the Post Office, just give the cash to the cashier. You will then insert your Monese debit card into the card reader, and the money will arrive in your Monese account the following business day. For PayPoint transactions, you just ask to use PayPoint at the counter and give the cashier your Monese card as well as your cash.
Withdrawal Fees from Monese
Opting for a Monese Plus account gives you six free withdrawals from ATMs each month, so you can easily and freely get additional access to cash. You can use the debit card at any ATM which accepts MasterCard. Most ATMs will be free to use unless explicitly stated otherwise.
How Can You Make Payments with Monese?
You can use your Monese debit card to make payments just like you would with any other MasterCard.
It is also possible to make payments via your mobile application. In just a few taps, you can pay utility bills, rent, or for goods and services. You also can pay an individual or company via a bank transfer. Any payment between Monese accounts will be free and occur in real-time, without any limit on the number of transfers you can make.
You can also make regular bank transfers to accounts from other banks. It is also possible to sign up for Direct Debits with Monese accounts, perfect for ensuring bills are accurate and then paying them.
With Monese, it is also possible to transfer money internationally in your choice of eight different currencies. Best of all, the fees are as much as 8 times less than what you would pay if you used a bank. Monese can offer incredibly low rates because the company processes transactions worth millions of pounds daily, letting the company purchase currency using wholesale rates, which it then passes onto clients.
International Money Transfers with Monese
Monese makes it possible for clients to convert their funds using the interbank rate for quick international money transfers at very low costs. The fact that Monese charges clients the same wholesale exchange rate used by banks means that customers save as much as 88 per cent when they send money abroad using the application.
With Monese, you can send money to Belgium, Bulgaria, Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Norway, the Netherlands, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Slovakia, Sweden, or the United States via a transfer. In terms of currencies, you can send GBP into one of several currencies, including BGN, CZK, DKK, EUR, HUF, NOK, PLN, RON, SEK, or USD.
Help with Budgeting
With Monese, account holders can use some features to help with budgeting. There is 24/7 access to your account via the application, so you can always keep an eye on your account. There is also a convenient “Instabalance” feature that displays a real-time view of the balance of your account right in your smartphone’s notifications tray. This lets you know at a glance how much you can spend.
Within the application, you will find a balance graph for a visual representation of how you spend money. This can help clients track spending goals and analyse the times of the month when they are likely to spend more or too much.
Additionally, Monese does not follow the format of other banks that let you spend more than your balance and then charge you high fees via penalties. Instead, Monese only lets you spend the amount that you already have in your account. This helps encourage healthy spending and budgeting and delivers peace of mind that you will not accumulate overdraft fees.
What Types of Notifications Does Monese Provide?
Monese provides you with notifications for certain actions, both as a convenience and as a security measure. Every time you spend money with your Monese card, top up money, or receive a payment, you receive a notification.
Monese & Avios Partnership
Just recently announced is a new partnership between Monese and Avios. Avios is a reward points currency for British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, AerClub, Vueling Club and Meridiana Club. Millions of customers collect Avios in over 190 countries world-wide.
Monese is the world’s first current account linked with Avios and it offers a new, seamless financial and lifestyle management service. Sitting within the Monese app, Avios appears as a separate account, alongside other Monese currency accounts such as euros and pounds. This allows customers to track and maximise their Avios as they fly, travel, or spend across hundreds of Avios partner brands such as ASOS, John Lewis and Just Eat.
Customers will soon also be able to earn Avios points by paying with their Monese card and for referring friends. They will also be able to send and receive Avios between Monese customers.
As mentioned earlier, Monese lets you easily lock and unlock your debit card via the application. This is a great security feature that can help prevent unauthorised spending if you lose your debit card or it is stolen.
Monese also takes a more secure approach to your PIN. You do not need to write it down anywhere or wait to receive a written PIN in the mail. To keep your PIN safe, you instead view it right in the Monese application. To view it, just securely log into the application and enter your card’s CVV number. From there, you can instantly see the PIN. This not only ensures no one will find a paper with your PIN written down or intercept it in the mail but also means that if you lose your PIN, you can easily find it in a secure yet simple-to-access location.
Monese also makes the security of both personal information and money a priority. Monese uses breakthrough processes and technologies to protect accounts from unauthorised access.
For added security, it is only possible to access Monese from a single mobile device. This means that it is impossible for anyone to get control of your account while in another location. When you want to access your account through a new device, you will first need to manually authorise it via a multi-factor authentication process for enhanced security.
If your phone gets stolen, the thief will not be able to enter your Monese application since you must enter a secure 5-digit passcode that only you know to access the app.
Additionally, Monese has around-the-clock monitoring via advanced banking infrastructure. This monitoring takes place 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
There is also protection of the funds in your Monese account due to the bank’s authorisation by the FCA and its registration. While banks typically reinvest customer funds, Monese does not do this. Additionally, Monese keeps all client funds separate to ensure that all customers would be able to receive their full balance in the unlikely event that Monese can no longer be in business.
Monese is a bank account for those living in the Eurozone and the UK that is only available via a mobile app. This bank account has competitive fees and is designed to have nearly guaranteed approval, making it possible for those without utility bills, proof of address, or a UK credit history to open a bank account.
Monese is a great option for people who need basic banking with the option of a debit card, the mobile app is well designed and easy to use. However, it does lack some features of a full bank account such as an overdraft option and paying interest on savings.
If you need access to a basic bank account which is easy to setup via the mobile app then we do recommend you take a look at Monese.