Monzo, first introduced in 2015, is an app-based mobile bank. It provides you with a debit card and works just like a standard current account, with the key difference being that it’s all digitally run.
*Rates and charges shown are correct as of 30th August 2022
Monzo offers three plans for personal current accounts, Monzo, which is their free subscription (£5 card delivery charge), Monzo Plus, which costs users £5 per month and Monzo Premium, which costs users £15 per month. You can spend on all three cards abroad with no extra fees, although fees for cash withdrawals vary with each account.
Monzo Premium also comes with extra features such as phone insurance, travel insurance and discounted airport lounge access.
Although Monzo doesn’t charge extra fees for making purchases abroad, the customer is still being charged based on the difference between Monzo’s daily card scheme benchmark rate and the real-time interbank rate, which is 0.52%.*
Cash withdrawals in the EEA (European Economic Area) are fee-free if you have Monzo Plus or Monzo Premium. With the standard Monzo account, you’ll pay 3% on withdrawals over £250 every 30 days.
Outside the EEA, you can withdraw £200 free every 30 days with a standard account (3% for any withdrawals after this). With Plus, it’s up to £400 for free every 30 days, and up to £600 with Monzo Premium. You may also be charged local fees by the ATM.
If you have a standard Monzo or Monzo Plus account, you will be charged £5 for a card and £5 if your card is lost or damaged. If you have a Monzo Premium account, you will be charged £50 for a replacement card and an extra £30 if you need your card delivered abroad.
Monzo also charges a fee if you cancel your Monzo Plus or Premium before the minimum subscription time. If you cancel your Monzo Plus subscription before the three-month minimum term, you will be charged a £5 cancellation fee. If you cancel your Monzo Premium before the six-month minimum term, you will be charged a £50 cancellation fee.
To send money abroad, Monzo has partnered with Wise. You will be charged a fee which varies by currency, starting from 0.41%, as well as a fixed fee depending on the currency to send money overseas.
People may choose Monzo if they are not planning on withdrawing more than £200 each month abroad (£250 in the EEA), as there are no fees for making payments abroad. However, although there are no fees on top, Monzo’s card scheme rate has a 0.52% markup on the interbank rate.
Some people may choose Monzo to benefit from features on the app, such as a salary sorter, spending budgets and savings pots.
Currensea was founded by James Lynn and Craig Goulding in 2018, then launched in 2019 aimed at removing hidden FX fees for travellers when spending abroad and the hassle of topping up or prepaying.
Currensea is the UK’s best rated travel debit card. The layer in front of your current bank account, saving you money, giving you extra security and making your bank work that bit harder for you.
Currensea's travel debit card partners with your current bank account to save you at least 85% on all overseas transactions. No need to prepay, no need to top-up, no need for a new bank account. Spend as seamlessly abroad as you do at home, with the money only taken from your existing bank account after you’ve spent.
Currensea currently offers three pricing plans. The Essential plan is free to use, the Premium plan (£25 per year) and the Elite plan (£120 per year). The Essential Plan charges 0.5% FX per transaction, whereas the Premium and Elite plan charges no fees. The Elite plan has a host of exclusive benefits and memberships and the exclusive Currensea black card.
Currensea has no additional weekend charges, dormant fees, or fair usage limits on any plan.
Currensea offers 16 currencies at the real (interbank) exchange rate and 164 currencies at the Mastercard exchange rate (which is the rate also used by Monzo, Starling and many other FinTechs). When signing up for the free plan, users will be charged at a flat FX rate of 0.5% over these two base rates - with no extra charges over a certain amount or at weekends, it's that simple.
Although there are no extra fees when you purchase abroad with Monzo, the Monzo card scheme rate has a 0.52%* markup on the real-time interbank rate that Currensea uses. This makes Monzo more expensive than all 3 Currensea Plans (with the markup on the interbank rate being 0.5% for the Free Plan and 0.0% on the Premium and Elite). If you are withdrawing cash abroad, Currensea is also cheaper than Monzo. You can withdraw double than Monzo before you're charged.
*How we calculated this:
We used 6 major currencies (EUR, USD, ZAR, AUD, THB, CHF) and calculated the average markup between the real time interbank rate and Monzo’s daily card scheme benchmark rate between the 3rd January and 31st July 2022.
Currensea Limited is registered in England and Wales (No. 11413946), authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (Reference No. 843507) and is a Principal Member of Mastercard. We are registered with the Information Commissioner's Office (Registration No. ZA524676).
© Currensea Limited 2022