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Monzo Review

What is Monzo?

Founded in 2015, Monzo (originally branded Mondo) is one of the many challenger banks seeking to change the way banking services are provided, using digital app-based solutions in place of traditional brick and mortar branches.

With now over 3.6m users and an ambitious development plan to launch Monzo in the USA, is this the right digital app-based bank for you? Find out with our Monzo review below.

Is my money safe?

One of the most important things people often overlook is whether an app-based bank can actually work as a replacement for a traditional bank account, such as those held with Natwest or Barclays.

Unlike a lot of the other similar apps, Monzo is actually a ‘real’ bank. What we mean by this is that they are supervised by the UK’s banking regulator the Prudential Regulatory Authority and have to comply with a ton of requirements just like traditional banks.

More importantly, because Monzo is regulated as a bank (and has a banking license) your money deposited with them is protected under something called the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or FSCS for short.

This means that no matter what happens to Monzo, any money held with them is insured for up to £85,000. If Monzo were to collapse tomorrow, any money in your account up to a maximum of £85,000 would be repaid to you under this government scheme.

The same cannot be said for other apps like Revolut, who to date are still not covered under this scheme.

Traditional Banking features

As a full bank, Monzo is a member of the switch guarantee. This means you can have all your account balances, payments and direct debits switched to your new account automatically.

Similarly, unlike a lot of other providers, Monzo also provides overdraft facilities to eligible users ranging from £100 – £3000. You can also deposit money into a ‘saving pot’ similar to a traditional savings account and earn interest at a variety of market leading rates.

Although Monzo has no physical branches, you can still pay in cash at over 28,000 pay points. Cheques can be mailed to Monzo HQ using tracked or freepost.

Cool Features

Monzo’s message is all about changing banking together. As part of this, the bank has tons of cool features and constantly develops more on the suggestion of users via their online community forum.

Salary sorter – a smart tool that helps you split up your salary when you get paid into spending, saving and bills.

Monzo review - example of monzo salary sorter app

Round up payments – save the difference automatically in a ‘pot’ or donate it to charity

Apple Pay – Pay with your Monzo card on Apple Pay

Spending budgets – Set spending budgets to control spending for different categories such as eating out and track how you are doing for the month

Get Paid early – a recently launched feature that allows you to receive your salary or student loan payment a day early, at no cost to you.

Monzo review - example of monzo pay day earlier in app

Joint accounts – open a joint account with another Monzo user

Energy Switching – switch energy provider using the Monzo app and receive up to £75 for switching

Loans – borrow up to £15,000 through Monzo

Travel Features

Gone are the days of exchanging money with a currency exchanger at the airport or your local post office.

Monzo gives users Mastercard’s exchange rate without any additional charges or fees.

The rate is so good that sometimes we choose to shop in Euros or Dollars if the exchange rate in Monzo is better than paying in Pounds in the online store. Doing this can often save £5-£10 per £100.

Monzo review - example of monzo currency conversion

If you need to withdraw cash, Monzo lets you withdraw £400 per day free of charge. While abroad, you can withdraw up to £200 every 30 days without being charged, after which Monzo charge 3% (which is still a ton cheaper than most other banks, and Bureau De Change’s)

When you return, Monzo gives you a breakdown of your spending while away making it easy to see exactly how much you spent.

Monzo review - example of monzo trip summary

Fees and Charges

Opening and running a Monzo account is free of charge, as are cash withdrawals in the UK and payments to other UK accounts or Monzo users.

Cash withdrawals outside of the UK are free up to £200 per 30 days, and 3 percent thereafter.

Using a Monzo overdraft facility currently costs 50p per day up to a maximum of £15.50 per month.

From April 2020 however, this will change to a single annual interest rate depending on your credit score.

Based on how weve used our overdrafts recently, Monzo estimates each of us here at The Money Plug HQ will pay less under this new fee structure.

The highest rate is 39.0%. So, as a representative example if you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 for 30 days, with 39.0% EAR/APR (variable), it would cost you £32.94.

You can use the Monzo overdraft calculator to see how much it would cost here.

Support

Monzo operates an in-app chat function connecting you to real humans. We’ve all interacted with the Monzo support team through this and haven’t had a bad experience yet!

In fact, our average wait time has been 3-5 minutes and you don’t have to wait in the app for a response. Message with your question and Monzo will notify when a support agent is dealing with your request.

We’ve used support for an ad hoc request to increase our daily cash withdrawal limit, change our address and question a transaction all with ease.

For simple stuff like blocking or requesting a new card, theres no need to even contact support, this can all be done easily in the app.

Monzo review - example of monzo support

How to open an account

Opening an account is simple and easy. Go to the website here and enter your phone number to start the sign up process.

Monzo will prompt you to download the app from your mobile app store, and then walk you through the easy to use application process.

In order to open your account you will need a form of photo ID, so make sure you have your driving license or passport with you.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a digital app-based bank that provides the same level of security and trustworthiness as your traditional bank, but with cool features like in-app fast support and early payments then Monzo is likely to be a great fit for you.

Here at The Money Plug HQ, we each run around 20+ digital ‘banks’ on our smartphones, and while lots have super cool features like Revolut’s premium perks, Monzo is one we all use on a frequent basis and the only one we view as a solid and safe bank.

Disclaimer

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If you go through an affiliated link, it can sometimes result in a payment or benefit to the site. You shouldn’t notice any difference and the link will never negatively impact the product.

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