Monzo vs Monese – Which Is The Best Digital Bank Account?

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At Generation Money our purpose is to help you make better financial decisions. All of our articles are independently written and/or edited by finance professionals and adhere to strict editorial guidelines. This post may contain links which, if clicked, could result in a payment to the site. These links never impact our editorial policy and all rankings and product recommendations remain unbiased. For more details, read how this site is financed.

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This is my comparison of Monzo vs Monese to find out which of these two leading digital finance and banking apps is better.

Monzo and Monese are two of the largest platforms in the digital banking market in the UK, along with Revolut and Starling. In this article I’ll be putting Monzo and Monese head-to-head on a range of metrics to see which comes out on top.

You can see my other digital bank comparisons here:

I worked in banking for just under 10 years, and have both a Monzo and Monese account which I’ve tested and used to go into detail for this comparison.

Read on for my full rundown of Monzo vs Monese, or use the links below to skip ahead to the section you’re most interested in:

You can also read my in-depth reviews of each platform here:

Monzo vs Monese – Which is better? At A Glance

Here are the key points you need to know from my Monzo vs Monese comparison.

MonzoMonese
UK regulated banktickcross
FSCS protectiontickcross
Basic free accountticktick
Subscription-based accountstick 2 optionstick 2 options
Business accountsticktick
Joint accountsticktick
Under 18s accountstickcross
Multi-currency accountscrosstick
Cash deposits£1 per deposit / 5 free cash/cheque deposits per month with PremiumSimple account – 3.5% fee
Classic account – £400 per month free
Premium account – £1,000 per month free
Cheque deposits£1 per deposit / 5 free cash/cheque deposits per month with Premiumcross
Fee-free spending abroadticktick Up to £2k per month free with Simple, free for Classic and Premium
Fee-free cash withdrawals abroad and in the UKFree up to £250 per month inside UK/EEA, free up to £200 per month outside EEA
3% fee thereafter
Simple – £100 free per month
Classic – £500 free per month
Premium – £1,500 free per month
International payments/transfersVia Wisetick
Interest on current account balanceMonzo Plus/Premiumtick
Access to interest-earning savings accountsticktickvia Raisin
Multi-currency savings accountscrosscross
Rewards & discountsMonzo Plus/PremiumAvios integration
Money management featuresticktick
InsuranceMonzo PremiumMonese Classic & Premium
Round-up spendingticktick
Bill splittingticktick
Overdrafttickcross
Personal loanticktickvia Monevo
Buy Now, Pay Latertick  Monzo Flexcross
Early payday – 1 day earlytickcross
Investingcrosscross
24/7 customer supporttickcross
Phone customer supporttickcross
Apple/Google Pay integrationsticktick
PayPal integrationcrosstick
Avios integrationcrosstick
Connect other bank accounts to the appMonzo Plus/Premiumtick
Current account switch servicetickcross

Both Monzo and Monese offer a range of features, but there are some fundamental differences. Monzo is a regulated UK bank, unlike Monese, and offers more in the way of traditional bank features. This includes FSCS protection, as well as being a part of the Current Account Switch Service. 

So, your deposits are protected up to £85k and you can easily switch your existing bank account over to Monzo. You’ll also have 24/7 customer support and the option to speak to a customer support agent over the phone with Monzo. Monese only offers in-app chat and email support. If safety and peace of mind is a priority, you’ll probably prefer Monzo with its FSCS protection and more comprehensive customer support.

You can also pay in cheques with Monzo, unlike with Monese, and you’ll get access to more borrowing options. With Monzo, you can apply for a personal loan, an overdraft and Monzo Flex – its Buy Now, Pay Later borrowing plan. Monese only allows you to apply for a personal loan through a 3rd party broker, Monevo, so if you want more borrowing options then you’ll prefer Monzo.

Monese, however, excels for its account opening process. It’s much faster to open a Monese account and start using multiple currency features than it is with any of the other digital banking apps. You can get started in a matter of a few minutes. 

International payments are also easier with Monese, as it’s an integrated account feature. That being said, Monzo uses Wise, a 3rd party provider, for international payments who are one of the market leading international money transfer options in the UK. It’s not an integrated feature with Monzo though, so you will have to sign up separately with Wise. When it comes to pricing, Wise tends to beat most other international transfer providers.

Monese also allows you to integrate your PayPal account within your Monese account. This is a unique feature as no other digital challenger bank offers this at the moment. So if you’re a regular PayPal user you will like the convenience of being able to see your PayPal account within the Monese app. 

Another benefit of Monese is its Avios integration which is also unique in the digital finance market. You can integrate your Avios account with your Monese account and earn Avios points through your spending. 

There’s not much to choose when comparing Monese to Monzo for spending abroad. Monese’s Simple (free) account allows free debit card spending abroad up to £2k per month. Its Classic and Premium accounts have no limits and are completely free. Monzo offers fee-free spending abroad on your debit card for all customers with no limits. Monese has lower ATM withdrawal limits than Monzo for Simple account customers, but higher limits for Classic and Premium compared to Monzo.

Neither app provides any investing or trading options, so if this is an important feature to you, then you’ll want to look at Revolut which has built-in investing capabilities. Starling Bank doesn’t allow you to invest through its app, but does have a 3rd party link-up with Wealthify, the digital robo-advisor investment app. 

Monzo is best for:

  • Safety, as Monzo has FSCS protection and is a regulated UK bank
  • Customer service
  • Borrowing – overdrafts, personal loans and Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)
  • Interest-earning current accounts (Plus/Premium)

Monese is best for:

  • Fast and easy account setup
  • Multi-currency accounts
  • Integrated international payments
  • Fewer options to get into debt
  • Avios and PayPal integrations

Monzo vs Monese – Accounts

Both Monzo and Monese offer free basic accounts as well as each offering two more subscription-based premium accounts which come with additional features and benefits. They both offer business accounts and joint accounts, but only Monzo offers accounts for under 18s.

Below outlines the offering of each digital banking app:

MonzoMonese
Personal Account (free)ticktick
Personal Account (premium)tick (2 options)tick (2 options)
Business Accountticktick
Junior Accounttick (16-17 year olds only)cross
Multi-currency Accountcrosstick
Joint Accountticktick

For full details of the various features and benefits of each type of account, you can read more in my Monese review and Monzo review. However, if you want to open a Teen account, then you can do so with Monzo but not Monese. It’s far easier and quicker to open a Monese account, though.

A useful feature of Monzo is that it’s part of the Current Account Switch Service, which many banks are signed up to. This is a service which makes it hassle-free to switch from your existing bank account provider to a new one. All direct debits, regular payments and salary details are switched over for you, and your old bank will close down your existing bank account. Monese does not offer this service, so for easy account switching Monzo is the clear winner.

Monese offers a built-in multi-currency account as part of its Simple and paid-for accounts. This covers GBP, EUR and RON (Romanian leu) currencies. If you want to send and receive money in these currencies then you’ll prefer Monese over Monzo. 

Monzo does not offer multi-currency accounts directly but it has partnered with Wise for international payments, and Wise does offer multi-currency accounts. Unfortunately, your Wise account cannot currently be integrated into your Monzo account though. Read more below on spending abroad and international payments.

Unlike Monese, Monzo offers a Teen account for 16-17 year olds which is very similar to its standard current account. It restricts age-related spending automatically, and you cannot get an overdraft with it. Other than that it’s an independent account for the user. 

Monzo is best for:

  • Hassle-free account switching
  • Teen (16-17 year olds) accounts

Monese is best for:

  • Fast account opening
  • Multi-currency users

Monzo vs Monese – Fees

There are various fees and charges associated with different account types and transactions for each of Monzo and Monese. The main fees and charges are summarised below:

MonzoMonese
Basic current accountFREEFREE
Subscription-based accounts£5 / £15 per month£5.95 / £14.95 per month, or billed yearly at £49.95 / £124.95
Debit card spending abroadNo feeSimple – £2k free per month
Classic & Premium – Free
International transfersVia WiseStandard – 2% fee
Classic – from 0.5% fee
Premium – Free
ATM withdrawals abroadFree up to £250/month inside the EEA
Free up to £200/month outside the EEA
3% fee thereafter
Free up to:
£100/month for Simple
£500/month for Classic
£1,500/month for Premium
2% fee thereafter
ATM withdrawals in the UKFree up to £250/month, 3% fee above this
Or, free with no limit with a Plus account or if you use Monzo as your main bank account (i.e. you get your salary or main income paid into it)
Free up to:
£100/month for Simple
£500/month for Classic
£1,500/month for Premium
2% fee thereafter
UK bank transfersFREEFREE
Cash deposits£1 per deposit, or 1 free deposit per month with a Plus account
5 free deposits per month with Premium
Simple accounts – 3.5% fee
Classic accounts – £400 free
Premium accounts – £1,500 free
3.5% fee thereafter
Overdraft interest rate19% / 29% / 39% APRN/A
Loan interest rateUp to £10k – 22.8% APR
£10-25k – 8.9% APR
Dependent on individual circumstances, via Monevo
Replacement debit cards2 free replacements, then £5
£30 if lost abroad
Delivery fee of £4.95

Which is cheaper out of Monzo vs Monese depends upon which account type you have with them and what you use it for.

Monzo’s Plus (£5 per month) and Monese’s Classic (£5.95 per month) accounts are similar in the benefits you will get. Both come with basic levels of insurance cover, lower transaction fees and higher transaction limits. 

Debit card spending abroad is completely fee-free with all Monzo account plans, but Monese has a limit of £2k per month on its free Simple plan. Monese Classic and Premium plans have no fees for debit card spending abroad.

Having said that, Monzo is cheaper if you’re spending more than £2,000 abroad as it charges no fees and gives you the MasterCard exchange rate. So if you spend a lot abroad, then Monzo may be the better option for you.

Withdrawing more than £200 in a month outside the EEA (£250 inside the EEA) is cheaper with Monese Classic and Premium. So for cheaper cash withdrawals abroad you may prefer Monese as it charges a 2% fee above its fee-free limits vs a 3% fee with Monzo.

Monzo is better for:

  • Spending abroad on your debit card
  • Depositing cheques (you are unable to do so with Monese)
  • If you frequently lose your debit card

Monese is better for:

  • Withdrawing cash abroad
  • Slightly cheaper top-tier account (even cheaper if you pay annually)

Monzo vs Monese – Spending Abroad

You’re able to use your debit card to spend abroad with both Monzo and Monese and you’ll get the usual app features when you do so, such as instant notifications and spending breakdowns. How you spend abroad will affect which one is better for you though.

If you have a Monese Classic or Premium account, then it’s cheaper to withdraw cash abroad than it is with any Monzo account. 

Withdrawing more than £200 in cash abroad is generally cheaper with Monese as it charges a 2% fee. Monzo charges a 3% fee above £200 for cash withdrawals outside the EEA (£250 fee-free inside the EEA). 

However, Monzo is cheaper if you want to use your card for spending abroad as it has no fees at all with any of its account options. That said, Monese has no fees on debit card spending abroad for its Classic and Premium accounts. For Simple account customers, there’s a £2k per month fee-free spending limit before charges, which will probably cover most people.

Monzo and Monese both use the MasterCard exchange rate for debit card transactions abroad.

Here’s the key information on spending abroad from the fees table above:

MonzoMonese
Debit card spending abroadNo feeSimple – £2k free per month, 2% fee thereafter
Classic & Premium – Free
ATM withdrawals abroadFree up to £250/month inside the EEA
Free up to £200/month outside the EEA
3% fee thereafter
Free up to:
£100/month for Simple
£500/month for Classic
£1,500/month for Premium
2% fee thereafter

Monzo is better for:

  • Debit card spending abroad

Monese is better for:

  • Withdrawing cash abroad

Monzo vs Monese – International Payments

Sending money abroad, or making international transfers, is straightforward with Monese and can be done directly within the app.

The fee you will pay for international transfers with Monese depends on your account type and the currency. Monzo uses Wise for international transfers.

MonzoMonese
International transfersVia WiseStandard – 2% fee
Classic – from 0.5% fee
Premium – Free

Wise is one of the best apps on the market for international transfers. It’s particularly competitive for sending large amounts of money abroad, e.g. over £5k. It’s been my go-to app for making payments abroad in business and in personal transfers. I’ve always found it easy and efficient to use.

For Monese Premium customers, the cost of making international transfers is one of the lowest on the market. Depending on the currency and the amount being sent, Monese Premium often beats Revolut and Wise. That’s before taking into account the monthly £14.95 account fee though. 

Overall, there is little to choose when it comes to cost and FX rates between Monzo vs Monese. Monese, though, allows you to make international transfers directly through its app unlike Monzo which requires you to sign up to Wise.

Monzo is best for:

  • Sending large amounts abroad (using Wise)

Monese is best for:

  • Seamless international payments through its app
  • Usually cheaper international payments with Monese Premium

Monzo vs Monese – Which Is Safer?

Monzo is a UK regulated bank, authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), which oversees bank regulation in the UK. It’s regulated by both the PRA and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). FCA regulation means that you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service if you cannot resolve a dispute directly with Monzo.

You’ll also get Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection with Monzo, so that your deposits up to £85k are protected. 

Monese is an e-money institution and not a bank, so it does not offer FSCS protection. Instead it safeguards your money under FCA guidelines. It must separately store and protect your money.  More on this in my Monese review.

From a safety point of view, you may get better peace of mind with Monzo as it has FSCS protection and is a PRA authorised bank.

Monzo is best for:

  • FSCS protection
  • PRA and FCA regulated bank

Monzo vs Monese – Which Has The Best App?

Both apps are user-friendly and present the key information you want to see quite clearly. They also have similar layouts, with a home screen and various tabs for different features.

Monese has integrations with PayPal and Avios and if you choose to integrate these accounts you can easily see them from your Monese app. 

Overall, there’s little to choose between the two from a user experience perspective. Both apps are simple to use and navigate.

Monzo is best for:

  • Simplicity

Monese is best for:

  • Integrating your PayPal account in the Monese app
  • Viewing your Avios account in the Monese app

Monzo vs Monese – Which Has The Best Features?

Both Monzo and Monese offer the money management features we’ve come to expect from digital banking apps. These include round-up spending, bill splitting and savings pots.

They also both have insurance packages bundled with their paid accounts. Monese offers Classic and Premium customers income protection, hospital stay and purchase insurance. You’ll get higher levels of cover with Monese Premium than with Classic.

Monzo Premium also offers insurance. You’ll get worldwide travel insurance and phone insurance included as part of the £15 a month account fee. Which out of Monese and Monzo you will prefer will depend on whether or not you want insurance bundled with your account, as well as which types of insurance. 

Monese doesn’t directly lend money, but connects you to loan providers via Monevo. If you fill in your personal details, you’ll be provided with a list of borrowing providers.

On the other hand, Monzo offers more in the way of traditional bank lending products. It offers personal loans, overdrafts and a buy now, pay later option. So Monzo may be the better option for you if you want to have access to more borrowing features. 

If you have little or no credit history, then you may be interested in Monese’s Credit Builder feature. It costs £2.50 per month and works by essentially providing an interest free loan to you which you then pay back in instalments. The £2.50 a month fee works out to be an effective 9.1% APR based on a £600 loan over 12 months. For more on how this works, see my Monese review

Monzo doesn’t have a credit builder feature at the moment, but Plus and Premium customers can see their credit score and how it changes over time through Monzo’s Credit Tracker.

Both Monzo and Monese have Apple and Google Pay integrations, so you can link your accounts to your mobile wallets on your phone. Monese also allows you to integrate your Avios and PayPal accounts with your Monese account, so you can view them from the Monese app.

Neither Monzo or Monese has investing features, unlike Revolut.

Monzo is best for:

  • Traditional bank lending products – personal loans and overdrafts
  • Monzo Flex – Buy Now, Pay Later
  • Phone and travel insurance
  • Monitoring your credit score (Plus/Premium)

Monese is best for:

  • Linking and viewing your PayPal account
  • Linking your Avios account and earning Avios points on your spending
  • Income protection, hospital stay and purchase protection insurance
  • Building your credit via Credit Builder

Monzo vs Monese – Borrowing, Loans & Overdrafts

Monese does not directly lend money, so you cannot get an overdraft with your Monese account. You also can’t get a personal loan directly with Monese, but it does connect you to loan providers via Monevo, which is a 3rd party digital loan broker. 

In the Explore tab of the Monese app you’ll find a ‘Credit’ section. Tap this and you can fill in a form with your details which will then be used to conduct a soft credit check (your credit score will not be affected). Monevo will then present you with search results that show different loan options with different providers

Monzo is a fully licensed UK bank and offers 3 ways to borrow from them – personal loans, overdrafts and a ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) option for purchases called Monzo Flex.

Overdrafts are available up to £2,000 at interest rates of 19% / 29% / 39% depending on your individual circumstances. Personal loans are available up to £25,000 with interest rates typically at 22.8% for borrowing under £10k and 8.9% for £10-25k. You can read more about Monzo Flex and Monzo’s borrowing options in my Monzo review.

As Monzo lends to you directly, you may not necessarily get the best interest rate on a personal loan available to you on the market. This is where Monese’s personal loan link-up with Monevo may benefit you, as it will search a wide range of providers. You can then select which one best suits your needs. As always, it’s best to avoid borrowing if you can and only borrow what you can afford.

Monzo also offers an early payday option where you can get your usual monthly salary paid one day early. You can opt to have it paid at or after 4pm of the day before your usual payday, so it’s not exactly the most useful of features, but may occasionally benefit you.

MonzoMonese
Overdraftstickcross
Personal Loanstick via Monevotick via Monevo
Business Loanscrosscross
Buy Now, Pay Latertickcross
Early Payday – 1 Day Earlytickcross

Monzo is best for:

  • Overdrafts (not available with Monese)
  • Direct personal loans
  • Buy Now, Pay Later (Monzo Flex)
  • Getting your usual monthly pay one day early 

Monese is best for:

  • Getting a wider range of personal loan options
  • Avoiding overdraft debt

Monzo vs Monese – Who Has The Best Customer Service?

Monzo offers two ways to get in touch with customer support – an in-app chat and by phone. You’re also able to speak to customer services anytime 24/7

Personally, I’ve been impressed with Monzo’s customer service since I opened an account with them. Waiting times never seem to be too long and their customer support team has always been friendly.

Monese customer support can be contacted by chat in the app or via email. It’s not available 24/7 though, unlike Monzo’s. So you may get better peace of mind with Monzo vs Monese knowing that you can reach someone at any time.

You’ll also get priority support if you’re a Monese Premium account holder, so you should get a response faster.  I’ve personally not had any issues with Monese’s customer support either. 

One standout feature of Monese’s customer support is that it’s multilingual. You can connect in 15 different languages, so this will be useful for those whose first language is not English.

Both Monzo and Monese have extensive help and FAQ sections on their websites and in the app to answer common queries and issues.

Monzo is best for:

  • Speaking to customer support on the phone
  • 24/7 support for all customers

Monese is best for:

  • Multilingual customer support
  • Priority support for Premium account holders

Monzo vs Monese – Customer Reviews

Monzo’s and Monese’s Trustpilot and Apple App store ratings are below:

Trustpilot:

  • Monzo 4.4/5
  • Monese 4.0/5

App Store:

  • Monzo 4.9/5
  • Monese 4.8/5

Monzo scores higher than Monese on Trustpilot with a rating of 4.4 compared to Monese’s 4.0. It has 80% of reviews rated ‘Excellent’ and 12% rated as ‘Poor’ or ‘Bad’. Positive reviews mention Monzo’s trustworthiness and efficiency. Some of the negative reviews mention lengthy waiting times for in-app chat support. 

Monese has a Trustpilot rating of 4.0, which places it at the bottom out of Monzo, Revolut (4.3) and Starling (4.4). Positive Monese reviews tend to praise the ease with which you can transfer money in different currencies and the fast account setup. However, some of the negative reviews mention issues with the location verification service through the app, as well as issues with withdrawing money.

Monzo vs Monese – Final Verdict

Which out of Monzo vs Monese is better will depend on what you want to get out of your digital banking app. 

Monzo is best for those who value safety and peace of mind, as it’s a regulated UK bank with FSCS protection, unlike Monese. It’s also best for those who value customer support, as it has 24/7 support and it has a dedicated customer services phone number. Monese does not have customer support over the phone, nor is it 24/7. However, you will prefer Monese if you need support in a different language, as it has 15 languages available when contacting customer support.

You’ll also prefer Monzo if you want different borrowing options. You can apply for an overdraft, a personal loan and Monzo Flex (Buy Now, Pay Later) all directly with Monzo. With Monese you can only apply for a personal loan and that’s through a 3rd party. You may get a better choice for personal loans with Monese though, as it will serve up a range of loan providers to choose from.

There are 3 key features that stand out for Monese. It has a Credit Builder, which you may be interested in if you have a little credit history and want to build it up. It costs £2 a month though. You will also like Monese if you frequently use PayPal, as it allows you to integrate your PayPal account into your Monese account. However

Monese is also best for Avios users. If you have an Avios account, you can link it to your Monese account and earn Avios points through your spending. 

When it comes to international transfers, Monese is a very good option. It has good pricing, but especially so if you’re a Premium customer, in which case Monese beats most other digital current accounts for international transfers. Monzo doesn’t have integrated international transfers, but instead has linked up with Wise which you will need to sign up for separately.

Looking at spending abroad, there isn’t much to choose between Monzo vs Monese, unless you want to spend more than £2k abroad in a month. In which case, Monzo will work out cheaper. For withdrawing cash abroad, Monese is generally cheaper unless you want to withdraw more than £100 as a Monzo Simple user.

Overall, for its FSCS protection, completely fee-free debit card spending abroad and 24/7 customer service, Monzo is my preferred digital bank account over Monese. That being said, Monese is still a great option for you if you’re a frequent Avios user or want fast and integrated international money transfers.

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