Monese.com Review 2019 – Pros & Cons of Banking With Monese
- 100% customer funds protection
- IBAN accounts
- Bank card
- No proof of residency required in order to get card
- Fast bank transfers
- Cheap international bank transfers
- Direct debits
- Unlimited transactions
- Many currencies supported
- Cheap currency exchange
- No "real" credit card
- Sign up only for EEA (Europe)
Monese Review: Basic Information about the Virtual Bank
Monese was founded in 2014 and, according to its own account, launched the first 100 percent mobile checking account in 2015. Since then it has been possible for customers from all over Europe to open an account. By simply downloading the Monese App, the entire account opening process can be carried out online and no on-site visit to a bank branch is required. Although Monese no longer has a unique selling proposition, it is still an important criterion for potential customers who are interested in a foreign account when selecting a provider.
In 2017, Monese’s customer business reached a volume of half a million GBP. The European FinTech Awards awarded the company the title of “Best Challenger Bank” in 2016.
Monese Limited, based in London, has been approved as an e-money institution by the British FCA. The accounts are managed by Prepay Technologies Limited, also based in London, which also issues the debit cards.
The website is designed in the style of a FinTech. The required information about the company and the fees can be found relatively quickly.
Monese Virtual Current Account
Our review of the Monese checking account from Great Britain is finally ready – so let’s get started:
With the EU account including prepaid debit card (Mastercard (VISA had been used in the early days of Monese)), transfers, card payments and cash withdrawals at ATMs are possible.
Monese accounts can also be used to make transfers in foreign currencies. For example, it is possible to transfer money to Poland in EUR and have it credited to the recipient in zloty. According to Monese, the conversion is made at the actual interbank rate. The company charges a fee of 0.50% to 2% for currency conversions, with premium subscriptions even 0%. In addition, all transactions are immediately sent in the form of a status message to the smartphone or similar via push, so you are always informed about your current account status. This means that there is no need to log into online banking at all.
But rather secondary an interesting feature: On the Monese website you will find an information service that shows the current status of the Monese system as a whole as well as parts of it. This way it can be recognized at any time whether there is a technical problem somewhere at Monese – namely that the customer service has to be contacted.
Monese Online Account: The Conditions
In terms of pricing, Monese is less oriented towards banks and more towards mobile telephony. In addition suitably not two account models, but two tariffs are offered.
In the “Simple” tariff, account management is free of charge, i.e. there are no flat-rate account management fees. Included are the provision of a fully-fledged payment transaction account with IBAN and personal account number as well as all SEPA bank transfers. However, it is not (yet) possible to participate in direct debit transactions.
For the optional debit card no fee is charged at all. Cash withdrawals at ATMs cost 2% each, but the first £200 per month are free. Card payments in EUR (for EU accounts) are free of charge.
By the way: The card was in our mailbox after 5 working days! A clear plus point here for fast dispatch.
A fee of 2.0 percent (min. £2) is charged for international bank transfers, card payments and cash transactions in foreign currency.
The “Classic” rate includes a monthly account maintenance fee of £4.95 per month. There is again no fee for the Debit Card. In addition, cash dispositions up to £800 on the ATM per month are included. The fee for international transfers is 0.50 percent, for card payments and cash transactions in foreign currency 0.50-0.75 percent.
In general, it is noticeable that the account services were developed with a focus on the British market and then transferred to continental European conditions. This applies, for example, to direct debits (Direct Debit is only available for UK accounts) and cash deposits (also only UK). However, Monese has already announced the introduction of SEPA direct debits for EU accounts without specifying a fixed date.
The Premium subscription is the best deal for all frequent users since the monthly fee includes everything and no extra fees are charged for the different services Monese provides.
Monese Customer Service
Customer service is available by e-mail and telephone. However, customer service by telephone is only available in English and only until 5 p.m. British time. We sent an e-mail to the support department during the account opening process and inquired about the typical duration of the application process. The answer was received by e-mail within an hour and the content of the problem was very good. In another case we contacted Monese via facebook and a qualified answer was received within 2 hours.
For whom is the Monese Online account suitable?
The Monese account in the “Simple” tariff is basically suitable for everyone, as there are no fixed costs and use as a second account is possible. The “Classic” tariff offers an almost fully-fledged account for just under EUR 5 per month, including card equipment and cash supply.
Monese does not carry out a credit check – anyone can receive the account and is therefore particularly interesting for those persons who have difficulties opening a “normal” current account in Germany due to a debited SCHUFA. The Monese account is also a cheaper alternative to the “schufa-free” current accounts offered in Germany.
Opening an Account with Monese
The account is opened completely on the smartphone. A mobile phone number to which a download link is sent must be entered on the homepage. Click on the download link to access the app in the Google Play Store or App Store (automatic assignment).
With a click on “Install” and afterwards on “Open” the Monese App is available. Then the desired language is selected; the application is available in German.
Only then does the actual account opening begin with a click on “Register”. First you have to accept the data protection regulations according to the British FCA regulations.
In the next step, a valid e-mail address is requested. In addition, a declaration of consent to the general terms and conditions, the data protection declaration and, if required, the receipt of the newsletter will be obtained.
The next step is to define an access code for future registrations. After entering the code twice, the mobile phone number must be entered again. Monese then sends another code, which has to be entered in the next step.
Then you have to choose whether to open an account under EU law or British law. For most EU citizens, the former might be the answer.
The address data will then be entered.
The next step is verification. What is needed is a photo of an official identity document, a video of the future account holder and some further information.
The next step will be to choose whether to upload a photo of a passport or other identity document for verification. If “other passport” is selected, a total of seven accepted documents are available for selection.
Next, the front and back of the identity card must be photographed. A separate application has been integrated into the app for this purpose. It is therefore not necessary to leave the app, create a photo and then integrate the images back into the app.
After that you have to wait until the verification is done. A tip: If the process does not progress for a long time, a short logout from the app with subsequent login is often helpful.
After Monese has verified the ID, the ID data (name, date of birth, validity date and ID number) are displayed. With a click on “Correct so” the process is continued.
In the next step, the prospective account holder must record a short video of himself. The app has also been integrated for this purpose. The app takes over the alignment of the camera and the upload of the video. A short text must be read from the display for the video.
The next step is to select the desired tariff or account model.
The account is then opened and activated. Account holders can now make deposits and order the debit card on request.
Deposits are possible with Monese by bank transfer and credit/debit card. Deposits by bank transfer (whether from the SEPA area or not) are free of charge. A fee of 0.35% of the deposit amount is charged for deposits with debit cards from an EEA country. For deposits made with a card from a non-EEA country, the fee is 2.50%.
To deposit with a card, it must be deposited in the account as a means of payment. If you make a deposit by bank transfer, you can find out the IBAN of your account by clicking on the corresponding function.
- Account Fee: £0/month
- Debit Card: FREE
- ATM: £200 FREE monthly (then 2%)
- Foreign currency card spending: First £2,000 FREE (then 2%)
- Foreign currency transfers: FREE & instant to Monese accounts; 2% (£2 minimum) when sending to non-Monese accounts
- Account Fee: £4.95/month
- Debit Card: FREE
- ATM: £800 FREE monthly (then 2%)
- Foreign currency card spending: First £8,000 FREE (then 2%)
- Foreign currency transfers: FREE & instant to Monese accounts; from 0.5% (£2 minimum) when sending to non-Monese accounts
- Account Fee: £14.95/month
- Debit Card: FREE
- ATM: FREE
- Foreign currency card spending: FREE
- Foreign currency transfers: FREE
Our Practical Test
Let’s come to our personal experiences in this Monese Review: We now have several Monese prepaid credit cards including accounts in use for quite some time and can confirm to date fullest satisfaction. Money transfers are very fast, even with cross-border transfers. The shortcoming of the unavailable direct debit procedure can be easily overcome. The prepaid card works perfectly – both with normal payments in the supermarket, in the hotel, bookings of train and flight tickets as well as with the rental of rental cars. Even paying with a credit card in a taxi worked without any problems.
And this despite the fact that it is a prepaid credit card, which is often said to function only to a limited extent as a means of payment. We can NOT confirm this with the Monese card. It must also be said that the card has been used by us in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Cyprus for payment – and has not shown any “malfunctions”.
Monese Review Conclusion
The result in our Monese Review? Positive across the board, because the virtual banking service enables consumers from all over Europe to open an account within a few minutes and completely on their smartphone. Within a very short time, a SEPA current account is available without any proof of creditworthiness – if desired, including a PrePaid debit card with contactless payment function. The handling of the account is simple and the fees are moderate.
A drop of bitterness? However, individual functions such as direct debits are not yet available on the EU account.
But Monese is already working on this as well and this function will certainly be available in the near future. Maybe an immediately available virtual credit card would be very helpful for one or the other. We may agree with that, but honestly we have not missed it so far. Especially not because the dispatch of the card is very fast.