Monese Mobile App Account Review

Monese Mobile App Account Review

The fastest and simplest way to set up a UK money account?

Good for

  • Spending money & getting cash abroad
  • People without “traditional” documentation for opening a bank account (e.g. utility bills, council tax bill)
  • People with imperfect credit scores
  • EU citizens who want a UK account
  • Anyone who wants EUR and GBP accounts
  • Those who want a basic mobile app bank account with a debit card

Bad for

  • Those who want a full-featured banking service - there’s no overdraft facility, interest on balances, loans, mortgages or credit cards
  • Those looking for deposit protection
  • Those who want the current account switching system (CASS), since you’ll need to switch your direct debits manually.

Editor's Rating


The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

Monese is a mobile app-based account for those living in the UK and EEA. In addition to being simple to set up and competitively priced, Monese is relatively inexpensive to use abroad (for both ATM withdrawals and card transactions), offers cheap international money transfers and has almost guaranteed approval—which means it's possible for those without a UK address, proof of address or a UK credit history to open an account.

Monese Review

The Monese App challenges traditional banks, and specialises in no or low-fee money transfers (including international) and foreign ATM withdrawals and card transactions. In addition Monese makes it possible for anyone across Europe to open a UK account in a matter of minutes. Monese also avoids many of the restrictions (e.g., requiring proof of address or a UK credit history) and hidden fees common of traditional high street banks. In fact, Monese has received a lot of attention as a disruptive “Challenger Bank”, and in 2016 was named European Fintech Awards’ Best Challenger Bank (although Monese is not technically a 'bank').

Monese's Estonian founder started the company due to his inability to open a bank account when he first arrived in the UK because he had no utility bills or credit history. He found that he wasn’t alone, and the following year the Monese App was born. Launched in September 2015, Monese became the UK’s first 100% mobile app-based account.

Monese now offers both GBP and EUR accounts, which is useful for keeping dual accounts if you travel a lot within Europe, for spending money abroad or hedging against the pound dropping.

If you need access to a basic account including a contactless debit card then Monese can be a great option. However Monese isn't right for everyone, as it lacks some features of a full bank account such as an overdraft option and paying interest on savings. You also can't use a Monese card to pay at the pump at self-service petrol pumps (but you can use it to pay for the petrol by taking it to the cashier).

And you can't use the Monese card where online authorisation showing that you have a sufficient funds is required, such as for transactions on trains, ships, and some inflight purchases.

Bottom Line: If you frequently travel abroad or transfer money internationally, Monese can be a low-cost way to access and use your money. In addition, those without a UK credit history or with a weak credit score can still open a Monese account easily and quickly. Those who need a credit card as opposed to a debit card or those who want to earn money on their balances should look elsewhere.

Monese: An Easy and Accessible UK Account

One of Monese’s biggest selling points is that it’s quick and simple to open a UK account. It’s accessible for everyone, regardless of whether they have proof of address documentation (like a utility or council tax bill) or perfect credit scores. Monese approves almost every customer that applies for an account. There’s no need to have a regular salary or a credit history. In fact, you don’t even need to live in the UK to open an account. So long as you’re in one of the 31 countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), you’re fine.

How do you Open an Account with Monese?

To open an account with Monese, just download the mobile app then follow the on-screen instructions to open your account. You don’t need to provide any proof of address, visit a branch in person (there aren’t any) or have a good credit history. Instead, you’ll need to use your smartphone’s camera to take a photo and send an image of an ID document. This can be an ID card or passport, and it doesn’t matter which country issues it. You'll get account details in minutes, including the account number as well as sort code.

What's required to open a Monese account?
Proof of addressNOT REQUIRED
Visit to a branchNOT REQUIRED
Good credit historyNOT REQUIRED
Photo of an ID documentREQUIRED

To open a Monese account you must live within the European Economic Area (EEA)—that’s the EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Is Monese Safe?

While, this is no guarantee of 'safety', Monese is fully registered with the UK banking regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It's also a registered agent for PrePay Technologies Ltd, an electronic money institution that the FCA authorises via the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (900010) to 'issue electronic money and payment instruments.'

Multi-factor authentication required for new devices. For security, it's 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. If you wish to access your account with a new device, you’ll first need to authorise it via a multi-factor authentication process. If your phone gets stolen, any thief won’t be able to log into your Monese app since you must enter a secure 5-digit passcode that only you know.

Easy to lock/unlock your debit card via the app. If you ever suspect that your Monese debit card has been compromised or lost (or if you simply want to prevent yourself from spending any money), you can easily and instantly lock your card via the Monese app. You can also unlock it again easily via the application.

Pin not posted to you but available via the app. Monese also takes a secure approach to your PIN. There’s no need to write it down anywhere or wait to receive a written PIN in the post. Instead, you simply view your pin right in the Monese app by logging into the app and entering your card’s CVV number (the 3 digits on the back of the card). You’ll then be able to see your PIN.

How Do You Make Deposits to Your Monese Account?

Since your Monese account has a UK sort code and account number, it’s simple to receive UK bank transfers just like a traditional bank account. They can be from companies or individuals and include payments from your employer.

People outside the UK can make payments into a UK Monese account using European IBAN. To complete this type of deposit, they just need to 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, in order to give the best exchange rate possible. From there, Monese will route the funds into your UK Monese account in GBP.

In addition to depositing funds into a Monese account via UK or European bank transfers, you can also top up with cash at one of more than 40,000 UK locations. Monese has partnered with PayPoint and the Post Office, so you can go anywhere with the PayPoint logo and instantly top up with cash into your Monese account.

How to Add Funds to Your Monese Account
Receive UK bank transfersUK sort code and account number
Receive International bank transfersEuropean IBAN
Top up with cashPayPoint or Post Office

ATM Withdrawal Fees with Monese

You can use the debit card at any ATM which accepts MasterCard. While most ATMs will be free to use unless explicitly stated otherwise, you may need to pay Monese for withdrawals depending on which account you have. These are the limits from July 2024:

Monese ATM Withdrawal Fees
Simple account2% per withdrawal
Classic account£500 free monthly, 2% after
Premium account£1,500 free monthly, 2% after

If you're trying to choose which type of Monese account will be most economical for you and withdrawing money from the ATM will be one of the primary ways in which you use your account, it's helpful to look at a break even analysis for ATM fees across the different accounts.

In the table below you can see the total amount you'd pay in ATM fees + monthly account fees for each account assuming withdrawals of £100 a time. Find how much you expect to withdraw each month in the table, and look across for the cheapest total fees. For example, those withdrawing £500 a month pay the lowest total fees (£5.95) with the Classic plan; someone withdrawing £1,500 a month would be better off with the Premium (£14.95 in monthly fees).

Monthly ATM Withdrawal Fees + Account Fees
Amount of cash you withdraw each monthSimple (free)Classic (£5.95/month)Premium (£14.95/month)Cheapest Account

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. You can make payments via the mobile app, and you can also pay an individual or company via a bank transfer. Any payment between Monese accounts will be free and occur instantly, 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. Finally, Monese is compatible with Apple Pay.

Using Monese Abroad

Monese can be a very cheap way to withdraw cash and make transactions abroad, depending on which account you have and how much you plan to spend/withdraw each month. As long as you stay under the limits for your type of account then transactions and ATM withdrawals are free—whether you're using the debit card at home or abroad. For all of the below, Mastercard wholesale exchange rate applies.

Limits for use abroadSimpleClassicPremium
ATMs2% for all withdrawalsFree within £500 allowance then 2%Free within £1500 allowance then 2%
Foreign currency card spending2% per transaction0.5% per transactionFree

(That said, remember that some ATM machines charge an additional fee to use them, which you'd have to pay regardless of the credit or debit card you have. This fee is taken by the ATM owner, not your card provider.)

Monese Features: What You Get with a Monese Account

Monese Debit Card

The Monese debit card works exactly as you would expect. It is contactless, which means there’s no need to enter the PIN for transactions up to £100. The Monese debit card is accepted in more than 200 countries around the world, as well as by most mobile app services and online retailers.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay is available for personal UK and European Monese cards in the UK and France, so you can make payments using your iPhone or for iOS apps and online wherever it is accepted.

International Money Transfers with Monese

For overseas transfers, you can transfer money with Monese in one of 20 currencies: EUR, USD, AUD, CAD, CZK, DKK, GBP, HKD, HUF, INR, MXN, NOK, PHP, PLN, RON, SEK, SGD, TRY and ZAR.

And the fees are far lower than what a bank would charge. Monese helps account holders to convert funds using market rates for quick international money transfers at very low costs. This means that customers can make huge savings when sending money overseas. With Monese, you can send money to almost all European countries, as well as Australia, Brazil, Mexico and the US.

What Types of Accounts Does Monese Offer?

With a Monese account, you can do unlimited transactions, receive pounds or euros via bank transfers, make and receive fast bank transfers, set up direct debits, get cash from ATMs around the world, and use a contactless debit card—but fees vary depending on the account you choose. Monese offers three account types: Simple, Classic and Premium. Here’s a summary of some key features, which you can read more about here:

Minimum balanceNoneNoneNone
Maximum balance£40,000£40,000£40,000
Monthly fee£0/month£5.95/month£14.95/month
Contactless Monese cardFree (£4.95 delivery)FreeFree
ATM withdrawal fees2% per withdrawal£500 free monthly, 2% after£1,500 free monthly, 2% after
ATM withdrawal limits£300 per day across all types of accounts
Card purchases£4,000 per transaction; £7,000 per day across all types of accounts
Foreign currency card spending (in international currency)2% per transaction, Mastercard wholesale exchange rate applies0.5% per transaction, Mastercard wholesale exchange rate appliesFree, Mastercard wholesale exchange rate applies
Outgoing international transfersWholesale FX rate + currency exchange fee (starts from 2% of transaction value, minimum £3) + 1% of transaction value on the weekendsWholesale FX rate + currency exchange fee (starts from 0.5% of transaction value, minimum £3)Wholesale FX rate
Incoming international transfers2% (min £3) + 1% on weekends1.5% (min £3)1% (min £3)

Monese also offered UK business accounts for a fee of £9.95 per month, although they are making some changes and these accounts are not available for new accounts right now. But the business account carried the same name as your registered business, and offered similar features to the personal accounts. It was available in 10 languages and was a very good way to separate your personal from your business finances, all within the Monese platform. We await their return.

Monese Customer Reviews

Reviews are quite positive, with a Trustpilot rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars, based on over 42,000 reviews.

How Does Monese Compare Against Other Options?

In order to decide if Monese is the app-based bank account for you, it’s best to compare it against the closest competitors. Below we discuss the differences between Monese and some other popular options, so you can decide which is best for you.

Monese vs. Revolut

Revolut is another challenger bank, and there’s a lot of similarities with Monese. Monese has recently changed its terms to make ATM withdrawals the same as Revolut’s. In fact, there’s very little to choose between their free services.

Quick Takeaway: One key difference between the two is that Monese doesn’t require a UK address to sign up, so it may appeal more to people who live between countries, or recent migrants to the UK.

Monese vs. Monzo

Monzo is another challenger bank offering a very similar service to Monese. In terms of account features, fees and the debit card, again there’s little to choose between them.

Quick Takeaway: Where Monese distinguishes itself is that it’s available to people outside the UK, whereas Monzo is not.

Monese vs. Wise Borderless Account

Wise does not provide full bank account services such as direct debits. It was designed as an international money transfer service, and can give you account details in GBP, USD, EUR, AUD and NZD. With Wise, you can send money to 50+ countries from your account, both online and through the mobile app.

Quick Takeaway: If you’re looking for an account that offers banking services, Monese is probably the way to go. For international transfers, it’s worth checking out Wise, too.


Our team of writers has expertise in business, car, travel, home and pet insurance as well as personal finance issues.


The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.