Monese vs Revolut
Monese Key Features
- Low fees
Revolut Key Features
- Upgrade to Premium or Metal for 0% fees on every transfer
- First 10 US transfers free
In this review we will be providing a side by side comparison of two UK challenger banks: Monese and Revolut. Both brands have become very popular as a result of the growing interest in digital banking alternatives; but we want to know how suitable these two challenger banks are for customers sending money internationally.
At a Glance
- About Monese and Revolut
- Which brand has lower fees?
- Which brand offers better exchange rates?
- Which brand covers more locations?
- Which is faster?
- Which brand offers more transfer and payment options?
- What do users have to say about each brand?
- What brand offers better ease of use, accessibility, transparency & security?
- Additional features
- Case study: sending money overseas
About Monese and Revolut
Monese and Revolut are two UK-based challenger banks born and bred in London’s financial district. Both companies aim to develop digital financial services that transform traditional methods of banking, to suit the needs of modern day consumers.
Estonian entrepreneur Norris Koppel decided to launch Monese as a solution to negative encounters with traditional banking in Britain that he had suffered first-hand upon arrival in the country. Having had an application for a UK high-street bank account refused, due to a lack of local proof of address or credit history, Koppel became keen on the idea of creating an all-inclusive, instant-to-open mobile banking service for others like him.
Monese is designed to cater to customers who need to open a UK banking account but do not have a local address or credit history. The bank offers users “an instant account for mobile people” thanks to a sign-up process that takes a mere 120 seconds to complete. Officially launched in 2015, the challenger bank primarily focuses on helping users manage their money, get paid into a UK account, as well as shopping and sending money abroad cheaply.
Revolut was also founded in 2015, as another mobile-operated challenger bank. The brainchild of Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, from Russia and Ukraine respectively, the bank’s business model is similar to Monese, but there are some key differences too.
Namely the concept for Revolut, which was originally designed to be a widely accessible pre-paid travel card offering competitive FX rates for those making frequent, regular overseas payments. The company has grown into a full-service provider offering digital banking in the form of GBP and EUR bank accounts, stock and cryptocurrency trading, in addition to international transfers.
In this review we will look into the key features of each brand, as we decipher who is the better money transfer operator.
Which brand has lower fees?
When setting up a money transfer with Monese, the company makes a point of clearly displaying all fees to help customers understand the cost.
These fees vary and are determined by account type:
Classic Account: customers are charged 0.5% of the transfer amount (or a minimum of £2.00 GBP or equivalent) when sending money to a non-Monese account
Simple Account: customers will be charged 2% of the transfer amount (with a minimum of £2.00 GBP or equivalent) when sending money to a non-Monese account
Premium account: these customers benefit from a fee-free service
Revolut applies small fees to all international money transfers and the size of this fee will depend on the type of membership: Standard, Plus, Premium or Metal.
Standard transfers: customers will be charged 0.3% of the transfer amount, pegged to a minimum of £0.30 and a maximum of £9.00 (or equivalent)
Premium transfers: customers receive 1 fee-free global transfer every month; Standard transfer fees apply after this
Metal transfers: customer receive unlimited fee-free global transfers
International payments outside of SEPA zone incur fees between £0.30 – £5.00, depending on transfer amount
Transfers conducted on weekends and UK bank holidays incur a 1% charge
Transfers over £1,000 per month will incur a 0.5% fair usage fee
SWIFT payments in USD, GBP, EUR and CHF will incur a delivery charge of £5.00 per transfer / £9.00 for all other currencies
Although Revolut has a somewhat more complicated fee structure, the cost incurred are lower overall, with Revolut customers spending less on fees than Monese customers.
Which brand offers better exchange rates?
Monese is transparent about their exchange rates, clearly displaying all available foreign currencies through their helpful money transfer tool.
Although the company strives to match the mid-market rate, most currency pairings still incur small markups, which vary depending on the account held with the bank.
On average, markups to most currencies appear to be 1 – 3% above the mid-market rate; more competitive than traditional high street bank markups of 4 – 6%.
Users transferring USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, NZD, CHF, JPY, SEK, HKD, NOK, SGD, DKK, PLN and CZK will receive the most competitive exchange rates.
Larger amounts and more exotic currencies incur higher exchange rate markups.
During the week, when the FX market is trading, Revolut aims to match the real mid-market rate as closely as possible.
However, on the weekends, Revolut applies a foreign exchange spread of 0.5 – 1% to all currencies.This means that exchange rates displayed on a weekday are likely to have changed by the time a customer goes to make the transfer at the weekend.
Although only a small markup, Revolut advises customers to check the live rate via the mobile app, to avoid any disappointment.
Revolut works hard to match the mid-market rate as closely as possible for those making international payments. For this reason, customers will receive a more competitive price for their foreign currency transfer when using Revolut, rather than Monese.
Which brand covers more locations?
Monese accounts are available to customers in the following 9 European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the UK.
The bank is looking to expand into more international markets.
Sending currencies are limited to EUR, GBP and RON, but there are 34 different receiving currencies to choose from.
Revolut accounts are available to residents of European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and the United States.
The bank has revealed prospective plans to operate worldwide, coming soon.
Revolut allows customers to hold and manage 30 currencies, supporting international payments to more than 150 countries.
Monese is committed to offering their services to customers who do not have a local address or credit history in their country of residence, however, it does not currently support as many international destinations or currencies for money transfers.
Which is faster?
The following delivery options are available to Monese customers:
Money transfers made within the UK using the Faster Payments option will be delivered instantly
International transfers sent to SEPA countries before 11 a.m. Central European Time (CET) will be processed the same day; after 11am the transfer will take 1 business day to arrive
International transfers outside of the SEPA zone will take around 2 – 4 days to arrive
The delivery windows for Revolut transfers are as follows:
Domestic transfers will be processed instantly, however, this will depend on the payment type
International transfers can take between 2 – 5 days to arrive with a recipient
Premium account holders will be privy to faster transfer options
According to our research, Monese payments are processed within 1 – 2 days which is faster and more reliable than the wide window of 2 – 5 days for Revolut transfers.
Which brand offers more transfer and payment options?
The following transfer options are available to Monese customers:
Domestic bank transfers
International bank transfers
Bank deposit is also the only accepted form of payment for Monese transfers.
Transfer options with this provider include:
Domestic bank transfer
International bank transfer;
Cross-border transfers are the cheaper, slightly slower option for customers prioritising cost over speed
SWIFT transfer are the faster, more expensive option for customers happy to spend more for a quicker service
Revolut accepts the following forms of payment:
Credit or debit card
With multiple transfer and payment options to choose from, Revolut beats Monese in this round.
What do users have to say about each brand?
On the Google Play Store, Android users have given the Monese app a respectable rating of 4.4 out of 5. Over on the App Store, it has received an impressive 4.8 out of 5. These high ratings indicate Monese lives up to expectations as a useful mobile banking app.
Elsewhere, Monese has achieved an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5 on TrustPilot, with more than 21,500 customer reviews. Positive comments include compliments about how useful and convenient the mobile app is, as well as praise for the easy sign up process.
The majority of negative feedback comes from customers whose accounts were unexpectedly blocked or frozen.
Despite this sub-par Trustpilot ranking, Monese has received a number of awards from peers in the industry, including the coveted title of Best Challenger Bank at the 2016 European Fintech Awards.
On the other hand, Revolut has been given 4.7 out of 5 by customers on the App Store and Google Play Store. This is a respectable score and higher than most competitor banks.
Over on Trustpilot, Revolut has been rated 4.4 out of 5, by almost 100,000 customers. Positive feedback makes up 87% of the Trustpilot reviews, the majority of which praise the company for fast service and great mobile app.
Revolut has won a number of industry awards, including the highly coveted title of Tech Company of the Year 2020 at the UK Tech Awards and Anti-fraud Solution of the Year at the FSTech Awards 2020.
Monese does not have a poor reputation by any means, but compared to Revolut, who appears to have won over customers and industry critics alike, the bank has some catching up to do.
What brand offers better ease of use, accessibility, transparency & security?
Ease of use: Optimised for mobile use, this challenger bank functions as a well designed and intuitive application which can be downloaded on Android or iOS devices.
Accessibility: As a challenger bank borne out of mounting frustrations related to the lack of accessibility of traditional legacy banks in the UK, Monese has a fast and easy, user-friendly sign-up process that supports multiple languages.
Security: Monese is a safe, fully licensed bank and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. The company is also a registered electronic money institution (EMT) that adheres to electronic money and payment regulations. Further to this, Monese offers single-device access, secure login and multi-factor data encryption and authentication protocols.
Transparency: Monese ensures transparency throughout their money transfer process by displaying the fees and other costs. However, a number of online reviews report poor lack of communication and failure to explain account closures and delayed payments have let the company down.
Ease of use: Much like Monese, the Revolut sign-up process is quick and easy, the mobile app intuitively designed with recent updates making it easy for users to trade cryptocurrencies and stocks.
Accessibility: 150 countries can access Revolut’s services which are also available in 24 different languages. Revolut makes it easy for customers worldwide to access customer service support.
Security: In addition to their European banking license and being authorised by the FCA, Revolut also covers customer funds through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for assets of up to £85,000 per account. The company also employs fingerprint identification, Sherlock anti-fraud system and customisable features to protect customers’ data.
Transparency: Revolut’s fee structure is complex as it differs for each country: this can be confusing when arranging transfers to remote countries in less commonly traded currencies. There is also no option to preview the currency conversion rates prior to sign-up, adding to the lack of transparency.
Due to the innovation and hard work at play behind the scenes at these challenger banks, both companies appear to be at the top of their game when it comes to these four properties. However Revolut just pips it for us.
Prepaid multi-currency cards for easy overseas spending
Spending Overview Tool helps users stay on top of finances and set up daily, weekly or monthly spending budgets
Saving Pots to help build savings
Apple Pay and Google Pay supported
Customers can merge their PayPal and Monese accounts
Customers can collect and keep track of their Avios points when purchasing from select stores
Revolut Saving Vaults make it easier to save
Cryptocurrency and stock trading
Fee-free spending abroad
Apple Pay and Google Pay
Different tiered memberships come with exclusive perks and benefits such as multiple insurance plans, unlimited FX and foreign ATM withdrawals
Both brands offer customers a great range of fun and useful additional functions, but Monese is better positioned to offer customers intuitive spending and saving features.
Case study: sending money overseas
£200 = €228.12
Total fees £0.00 – 5.00 depending on price plan
Exchange rate spread 2.6%
Transfer speed unavailable
£1,000 = €1,140.88
Total fees £0.00 – 25.00 price plan dependent
2.6% exchange rates spread
transfer speed unavailable
£20,000 = €23,400.57
Total fees £0.00 – 500.00 depending on membership
exchange rate spread 0.025%
transfer speed unavailable
£200 = €234.01
Total fees £0.00
Exchange rate spread 0.02%
Transfer speed = within minutes
£1,000 = €1,170.28
Total fees £0.00
Exchange rate spread 0.005%
Transfer speed = within minutes
£20,000 = €23,399.10
Total fees £95.00 (0.47%)
Exchange rate spread 0.45%
Transfer speed = within minutes
In this case study Revolut performs incredibly well, offering fee-free transfers for each scenario and extremely competitive exchange rates. On the other hand, Monese transfer fees vary greatly, depending on the type of account held with the bank, and the exchange rates are relatively low but nowhere near as competitive as Revolut.
Bottom line – who is better?
Both brands are making waves in the money transfer world, but Revolut is definitely making a bigger impression when it comes to affordable, secure and globally accessible services, with plenty of added features. However, if you are based outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and the United States, Revolut is not a viable option. Instead, we recommend Monese or one of the top rated international money transfer companies in our guide. Check out our comparison tool too, to find out more about the operator that best serves your particular transfer corridor.
Additional support from MoneyTransfers.com
We have also written detailed individual reviews of Monese and Revolut, for our users to get a full sense of these challenger banks. Elsewhere on the site we have many useful Money Transfer Guides that touch on everything from Challenger Banks, to Wire Transfers, to Forward Contracts. Our comparison engine is available site-wide, to help our users browse the best money transfer options available to them.