In this review will be looking specifically at Monzo’s international money transfer services, reviewing the various aspects which set it apart from its banking incumbents.
Monzo was founded in 2015, storming onto the scene as an online-only solution aimed at customers looking to make the switch to digital banking. Starting out life as a prepaid Mastercard and accompanying mobile app, Monzo was originally designed as a type of pay-as-you-go travel card. In response to the notable shift in consumer banking, Monzo began to develop its offerings, evolving into an intuitive alternative banking service. As a result, Monzo has expanded into an FCA approved bank offering UK current accounts and credit products such as loans and overdrafts.
The expensive nature of international bank transfers is well documented and specialist money transfer providers are known to offer more favourable overseas payment services. However, due to a new wave of banks challenging the status quo, this is no longer always the case.
Unlike traditional high street banks, online-only challenger banks like Monzo are able to keep their overheads down by avoiding certain costs, such as physical locations, among other expenses. As a result, challenger banks can offer the mid-market rate on currency pairings as well as fee-free (or low-fee) transfers.
The infamous coral-coloured Monzo debit card is issued by Mastercard, therefore it is this financial institution which sets the conversion rate for all international payments. Occasionally the standard Mastercard exchange rate will include small markups but typically it is identical to the interbank rate. For more information on what exchange rate you can expect for your transfer.
There are zero transfer fees for depositing money into other Monzo bank accounts or any other UK bank accounts. There are, however, small fees incurred for international bank transfers.
Due to Monzo’s partnership with international money transfer company Wise, the fees for overseas payments are set by Wise. From our research, Wise transfer fees are determined by the amount of money sent, the destination country and currency pairing.
Due to the integration of Wise, Monzo is able to offer specialised international money transfer services, mirroring the same low-cost services provided by the biggest money transfer competitors. As one of the leading names in global remittances, Wise guarantees bank-beating exchange rates along with substantially lower transfer fees.
We have put together a list of the predominant pros and cons of using Monzo for international transfers, so you can compare the company’s services to other providers:
In this section we will deliberate the finer details of the Monzo app as well as deliberating commonly asked questions surrounding Monzo international money transfer services.
Monzo is a UK based bank account and is currently only available to full-time UK residents.
As a pioneer of digital challenger banking, Monzo functions primarily as a mobile money app. Although Monzo has a website, users must download the app via the Google Play or App Store to log into their account and take advantage of key features. The app is free to download and easy to use.
There is no limit to the amount you can send via bank transfer but £10,000 is the transfer limit when moving money between Monzo accounts, although it is possible to increase your limit.
Monzo transfers are normally instant, but may take up to 2 hours in some cases. When sending an international bank transfer through Monzo, longer delivery times should be expected. However, funds sent in standard currencies to popular destinations will be transferred within 1 working day.
Monzo customers can get in touch with customer support queries via the in app services, phone number or email address. In addition to this, there is a Monzo Community Forum for up to date customer help and advice.
The original Monzo product was a prepaid travel money card, and the company has been fine tuning the product since 2015, making these debit cards the ideal current account for use overseas.
The Monzo app has integrated the services of money transfer company Wise and as a result, all transfer fees and exchange rates are set by Wise. As the UK’s leading overseas payments provider, Wise is considered to be a reputable and transparent service offering favourable currency rates which typically match the mid-market rate.
It is not currently possible to receive international money transfers with Monzo, as it stands, it is only possible to send international bank transfers.
In this section we will outline how to open a Monzo account – using the app – and, once set up, how to send funds.
There are no fees attached to opening a Monzo bank account; customers are informed of any actions or services which incur fees ahead of time, in a transparent manner.
Step 1. Download the Monzo app and follow the on-screen instructions to Sign Up
Step 2. Enter personal details such as full name, home address, contact information and valid ID
Step 3. Confirm your identity by recording a selfie video – this is compared to your ID
Step 4. Once your identity has been verified you will be asked to choose an address for receiving your Monzo card
Step 5. You will be required to activate your Monzo card when it arrives – this can be done via the app
Sending money to another Monzo account (domestic transfer)
Step 1. Open the app and select the Payments tab at the bottom of the screen
Step 2. Tap the Pay Someone option and select your recipient from your list of contacts – alternatively you can choose to Pay Someone Nearby
Step 3. Once you have chosen the recipient you will be asked to enter the amount you wish to send, along with a Private Message for the recipient
Step 4. Click Send – As a safety precaution, you will be asked to enter your card’s 4-digit PIN to confirm payment
Step 4. You will have the option to categorise the payment from a list of common spending habits and the transfer will appear on your Home screen
Sending money to an overseas bank account (international transfer)
Step 1. Open the app and select the Payments tab at the bottom of the screen
Step 2. Tap the Pay Someone option and select Make a Bank Transfer
Step 3. Select the International Transfer tab at the top of the screen; you will be taken to Wise’s website, where you will need to sign in to your Wise account and grant Monzo access
Step 4. You will then be asked to enter the recipient’s name, destination country and currency, and confirm your understanding of the New Payee Warning
Step 5. When you enter the amount you wish to send, Wise will display the exchange rate (ensure this is as close to the mid-market rate as possible) and any transfer fees. Review this information and add a Payment Reference (optional) before clicking Continue
Step 6. You will be asked to enter Payee Details including Recipient Type, Account Type and the recipient’s banking information
Step 7. Review your international transfer in full, including the Guaranteed Exchange Rate displayed at the bottom of the screen. If you are happy with the data, tap Confirm Transfer
You can review all transactions by clicking on the payment as it appears on the Home screen; this is a very handy feature for tracking spending habits both overseas and at home.
Domestic transfers will display the amount sent, payment category, reference details, as well as the total amount of previous payments sent to and received from this recipient.
International transfers will display identical details as domestic transfer, with the additional information of the international money transfer provider, the status of your payment, the exchange rate, transfer fee and estimated delivery date.
Monzo is a fantastic option for UK based customers who frequently send and receive funds with contacts in the country. Due to the fact it is not yet possible to receive international transfers to your Monzo account, we would recommend customers who frequently move money between foreign accounts to look into using an alternative provider. In terms of international money transfers, Monzo’s services are not yet as well-rounded as specialised long-standing companies like, WorldRemit or OFX.
Our comparison engine is a great tool to use when shopping around for the best deal as it will expertly narrow down your best options, guaranteeing optimum exchange rates and low-transfer fees for your next international money transfer.
Keith is a digital specialist with a background in the financial industry, both as a marketeer and a journalist. Keith joined MoneyTransfers.com in order to take the business to the next level and expand our offering in multiple international money transfer markets.