Monzo are now one of the most recognisable challenger banks in the UK, becoming well-known as a versatile current account provider with coral-coloured debit cards.
Launched back in 2015, the bank started out with a waiting list and invitation system they called a ‘golden ticket’, fostering a community spirit from the start. They now have over 3 million customers in the UK and are still growing. They were highlighted as the bank with the best customer satisfaction score through a survey by Which? in April 2019, and came in fourth spot in a BACS study into switching statistics.
We’ve put together a useful review on Monzo to help you make up your mind whether it’s the best challenger bank for you. Read on to find out more or use the links below to navigate to different chapters in the article.
- Pros and cons
- Eligibility criteria
- App features
- Spending abroad
- Fees and charges
Pros and Cons
Offers 4 types of accounts
Premium account has bundles for you to choose from
Use ‘Pots’ to save money and earn interest
Monzo will advance your salary payment by 24 hours
Manage your money with direct debit notifications
Spending on your card abroad incurs no fees
Unlimited free ATM withdrawals
Supports Google Pay and Apple Pay
Overdraft facility available
Pay in cash using Paypoint
Pay in cheques through freepost delivery
3% fee on overseas withdrawals over £200
Daily withdrawal limit £400 and monthly limit £5,500
A Monzo overdraft costs 50p per day
Cheques can take up to 3 weeks to clear
- Current Account – Monzo has a personal current account with no monthly fees, a free app and a hot coral Mastercard as standard
- Monzo Plus – there are two premium packages available through Monzo Plus
- The Supporter – for £4.95 per month you will receive Monzo merchandise, access to prize draws and exclusive discounts and offers for members
- The Traveller – for £9 per month you will get travel insurance as standard, airport lounge access, the ability to withdraw £400 per month abroad, along with exclusive discounts and offers
- Joint Account – the Monzo joint account is completely free to use, with an app set-up allowing you to see who has spent what during the month
- 16-17 year old account – this account is designed especially for 16-17 year olds to use, with no difference between their standard account other than the inability to use the account for gambling and other age-restricted activities
- At least 18 years old
- Are a UK resident
- Own a smartphone compatible with the Monzo app
- Have an accepted form of photo ID
The Monzo app is designed to assist with your spending and allow you to track direct debits so you can be notified of changes every month. Along with real-time notifications, you will have instant access to your account so you can make transfers, payments and top up your savings any time of the day or night.
Budget using the Monzo app, which provides you with a breakdown of your spending and allows you to set spending targets for you to keep within. You will also get notified of spending and if your direct debits have gone up in price for any reason.
Pots is a great way to save money on the fly, with the added bonus of earning 1.5% AER interest on top. You can have multiple saving pots if you have several reasons to save, keeping your money nice and organised.
Get Paid Early is an additional feature that is completely free to use. In essence, it allows you to get your salary in your account a day before you would usually be paid, as Monzo will lend you the money prior to your salary being deposited. This is very useful to ensure you don’t miss any immediate payments but you will have to use Monzo as your main bank account.
Your Monzo account is protected by your own username and password that you create when you sign up through the app. This can be further secured using Touch ID or Face ID if you have an iPhone. You will also receive a 4-digit pin number that you can use when making payments with your Mastercard.
As an extra security measure, if you spend over £100 through contactless payments in a short space of time, you will be prompted to use chip and pin, just to ensure your card has been compromised. Online payments on the other hand are protected by 3D Secure, giving you an extra layer of security when spending this way.
Another feature available via the Monzo app is that you can enable location-based security, meaning that there is a better chance of identifying fraudulent use of your card if it doesn’t match your location. Lastly, if you have had your card lost or stolen, you can easily freeze and defrost your card at the touch of a button.
It couldn’t be easier to spend abroad with Monzo, especially as you won’t have to worry about additional fees when spending. As with any spending, you’re advised to always choose the local currency when deciding how to spend, as this will ensure you get the best exchange rate.
As standard, you can withdraw £200 in cash per month abroad, so it might be best to keep ATM withdrawals to a minimum. With a Monzo Plus account your limit is increased to £400 when choosing the Traveller bundle. You can also check your limit via the app so you don’t accidentally go over.
As an additional note, Monzo have said they have had reported issues using the card in North Korea, Bulgaria and Cuba, so it’s worth checking their help section of the website before you travel.
Fees and charges
There aren’t many fees attached to owning a Monzo account, which makes it a favourable account for customers who have been stung in the past when spending. They are also very transparent over what they charge for certain actions. To avoid fees, take note of the following circumstances:
- Withdrawing cash outside of the UK that exceeds your monthly limit (£200 as standard and £400 for Monzo Plus) will incur a 3% charge
- A Monzo overdraft costs 50p per day
If you need any questions answered regarding your Monzo account, your first port of call should be their online help centre, where you find lots of useful information.
Alongside a 24-hour live chat service, Monzo also have an email address for longer queries or a customer support number if you would prefer to talk to someone over the phone.
Overall, there is a good reason why Monzo boast large customer numbers and the best customer satisfaction in recent surveys. With such a versatile range of current accounts designed to actively help customers, in many respects they are leading the challenger bank charge.
Offering unique features like ‘Get Paid Early’ and ‘Bill Splitting’ really set them apart from competitors, with a community spirit fostered through crowdfunding and their online help centre. They are very transparent over fees and charges, whilst offering everything you might need from a current account provider and more.
While many challengers suffer from being a ‘side-account’ to more established high street bank accounts, Monzo offer an account you could quite easily adopt as your sole account, by offering a stable platform and boasting a convincing customer base.
Do you like the sound of signing up to a challenger bank like Monzo? Take a look at our list of current accounts using the link below.
Written by Robert Bester
Updated on 2nd January 2020
Published on 30th September 2019