IIAwards - Review of Monese
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16 October
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As part of the recently announced IIAwards, in which we celebrate innovations in the fintech and crypto industry, today we will review Monese taking into consideration different aspects.

General information

Monese is a UK-based digital bank that launched in 2013 and offered the first 100% mobile current account in the country. It now also offers the possibility to open an EUR account and is continuously expanding its range of services.

Commissions & fees - (2/5)

One of the major benefits of Monese is the fact that it offers very competitive pricing. Simple account opening and maintenance is for free, however the client has to pay a fee of 4.95 GBP for receiving the contactless debit card. ATM cash withdrawals are free within the 200 GBP allowance, but thereafter it will cost 2% of the value being withdrawn (with a minimum 2 GBP fee).

Cash top-ups are charged at 2% of the value deposited (minimum charge equal to 2 GBP). Another option is the Classic package, costing 5.95 GBP per month. This option provides the client with a free debit card and a limit of 900 GBP for free cash withdrawals per month, afterwards a fee of 2% applies. Top-ups are comparatively cheaper than for the Simple plan, as they are free for the first 900 GBP and are charged by a fee of 2% afterwards.

The most expensive product is the Premium package that costs 14.95 GBP per month. This option provides you with a free card as well as unlimited free ATM withdrawals, free instant and cash tops and no charges on forex.

Markets & products - (3/5)

Monese is a great alternative for clients who want a quick and easy way to set up a UK account without needing utility bills, proof of address or a UK credit history. The company has provided basic banking on smartphones since 2015 and it gives people in the UK and abroad a chance to experience streamlined, modern finance.

A Monese account can be opened by anyone living within the European Economic Area (EEA). There are no physical branches, thus sparing the clients from queuing in the offices. Unlike mainstream current account providers, the client is not required to demonstrate local proof of address or have a good credit history. As a result, the service has become increasingly popular among foreign students learning in the UK. Monese debit card has the same functionality as any other debit card. The client can make top-ups, change personal information and access bank statements through the app any time of the day.

The app also supports Google Pay and Apple Pay. What is more, it is also possible to access lower-cost foreign currency exchange and international money transfers as Monese uses the interbank rate rather than setting its own fees. The app allows its clients to hold multi-currency accounts, have free cash withdrawals worldwide (until reaching the limit), track spending, transfer money abroad in 8 currencies and more.

Advanced banking platform - (1/5)

Similarly to Monzo, it is possible to use Monese only through the company's mobile app. The website serves to provide contact details and additional information.

Innovative account opening - (3/5)

There are three types of Monese products, all offering free card usage and direct debits in the clients home currency. In order to open an account with Monese, you simply need to download the app and follow the instructions. You will be asked to take a selfie video using your smartphone's camera and to snap an ID document, such as a passport, issued by any country in order to pass Monese's money laundering checks. The Monese system will then verify your identity and you will receive your account number and sort code within minutes. This process is significantly faster when compared to conventional banks. It is possible to immediately send and receive payments, but you will be required to order your contactless MasterCard in advance. The delivery of the card normally takes from 3 to 14 days internationally. Once it arrives, you can set it up by using the activation code obtained via the app.

Customer service - (3/5)

It is possible to connect with Monese via phone, e-mail and chatbot. However, customer service by telephone is only available in English and only until 5 p.m. UK time. The typical response time is approximately an hour via e-mail. The average time to connect with the phone operator is approximately 20 minutes and the chatbot function is equipped to answer only the most basic inquiries. Monese provides e-mail customer service and support in multiple languages including English, Spanish, French, German and others. On the company website, it is possible to find answers to the most frequently asked questions. They are intuitively segregated and cover the majority of relevant topics.

Education - (1/5)

Similarly to Monzo, also Monsese has dedicated no efforts in educating its users. There are no educational videos, articles, webinars or courses.

Mobile trading / Apps - (5/5)

All products of the company can be accessed on its mobile platform without having the necessity to visit a physical branch. This is a convenient feature for the users who are always on the move. The app is especially useful to those who regularly travel between the UK and Europe as they have the opportunity to easily switch between a UK and an European account.

Monese offers a range of features similar to your high street bank: send money to other Monese users instantly and for free; your spending is categorized by the type of transaction (e.g. shopping, restaurants); set aside savings to be stored separately (in Pots) for easier overview and management; set monthly budgets; set up or cancel direct debits quick and easy (UK account only, available for EUR account from Oct 2019); set up Apple Pay or Google Pay; link your Monese account with other services, such as PayPal and Avios. Additionally, 3D Secure online payments are supported. In other aspects, however, it lacks some features that are common for its competitors: you cannot earn interest after your savings; overdrafts are not possible; smart savings are also not available, for example, you cannot round up the amounts you actually spend and store the difference as savings and joint accounts are not available.

UI / UX - (3/5)

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. Unlike other current account providers, there is no authorized overdraft facility, but they have now launched a business account.

Digital security - (4/5)

Monese lets you easily lock and unlock your debit card via the application. This is a great security feature that can help prevent unauthorized 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 unauthorized 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 authorize 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 authorization 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.

Novelties

As of October 1, 2019, a new regulated entity in Belgium called PPS EU SA will be created to handle all Eurozone accounts. These accounts will be regulated by the National Bank of Belgium and PPS EU will safeguard all funds in EU bank accounts.

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