Avios online banking partner Monese boosts its benefits – should you apply?

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Back in February we wrote about the new partnership between online banking service Monese and Avios.

Avios Group joined a £60m funding round for Monese in December 2018, and this is now leading to various bits of Avios functionality appearing in the Monese app.

Monese has just revamped its benefits package, and it is now substantially more competitive alongside Revolut, Monzo, N26, Starling, Atom etc.  Most importantly, the free plan now allows you to spend £2,000 per month in foreign currency with no foreign exchange fees.

Monese Avios partnership

What is Monese?

Monese, founded in 2013, aims to simplify the process of getting a bank account in Europe.  It’s a ‘mobile app only’ bank that gives users a £ and a € account allowing them to bank like a local across the UK and Europe.

Accounts can be opened within two minutes with a photo ID and a video selfie.  (This does work, I set up an account for myself in record time without leaving my desk.)

The company launched its banking product in 2015 and currently has over 1,000,000 users in 31 countries, supporting 12 languages.  Customers are currently moving $3 billion through their Monese accounts each year.

How does Monese work?

You can find full details of how Monese works on its website.

In summary, there are three different plans to choose from.

  • Simple – FREE
  • Classic – £4.95 / month
  • Premium – £14.95 / month

Click to enlarge the image below which outlines the benefits of each plan:

New Monese pricing plans

What has changed about Monese pricing?

The free ‘Simple’ plan is now substantially more attractive:

  • There is no longer an ATM fee – you can now withdraw £200 per month without charge
  • There is no longer a £5 delivery fee for getting a plastic debit card – this is now free
  • There is no longer a charge for foreign currency spending – your first £2,000 per month is now free
  • You can now make foreign currency transfers between Monese members for free

This makes Monese more comparable with Monzo etc.

Introducing the new Avios partnership

Monese users can link their Avios account to their Monese account and track their Avios earning in the same app as their banking balance.  This includes Avios earned from flights, via the e-store and any Avios earned from credit cards.

The app currently lists your last five Avios transactions and Monese is working on increasing this.

Monese Avios

There is a menu option, although it is not fully live yet, to earn bonus Avios when spending at specific retailers with your Monese debit card.

Is it worth getting a free Monese account?

Whilst being able to track your Avios balance from within the Monese app is a cool function, Monese still lacks any ‘killer’ Avios functionality which would make it a ‘must have’ for HFP readers.

It is getting there, however, and if you are looking to try an ‘online only’ bank then Monese may be more relevant to you than Monzo, Revolut etc.  There is no need to close your existing High Street account – you can simply transfer money to and from your Monese account as you need it.

Remember that you can now spend £2,000 per month abroad without FX fees. Monese is a good card to take on holiday this Summer if you don’t have a dedicated ‘0% FX fees’ credit card.  You can easily top up your Monese account before you fly and then transfer any remaining balance to your main current account on your return.

If you are reading this on a mobile device, you can get the Monese app by clicking here.  Remember that signing up to the ‘Simple’ account is FREE and you can do it in a couple of minutes with a video selfie and a scan of some photo ID.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. One potential downside of Monese is that, like Revolut, it’s not a proper bank despite their use of terms like ‘current account’ – it’s an ‘electronic money institution’ that doesn’t give you FSCS protection.

    Obviously the chances of losing money are pretty slim considering the money is ring-fenced, but for me there would have to be a substantial edge over the alternatives for me to consider them.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      Didn’t Revolut get a banking license from Bank Of Lithuania?

      • That doesn’t make it a UK bank.

        • It does make it an EU bank with a €100k guarantee on deposits.

          • Out of interest is it the ECB or government of Lithuania that provide the guarantee in this case?

            Also post brexit does it apply to non EU entities?

            Does it need to be a Euro denominated balance to qualify or can you hold sterling equivalent?

          • Heran says:

            You would then have to claim money back from the bank’s home country, i.e. Lithuania in this case, which may be harder to do it in the UK.

  2. I applied last week, will I be switched to the new simple plan?

    • I see in the app I can switch from “Classic” to “simple”. Problem solved and debit card ordred

  3. TGLoyalty says:

    Probably the most important question for this type of service on here. How can you top up your account?

    • I wouldn’t be running articles telling everyone even if I had worked it out.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        that’s why i’m asking others in comments 🙂

        • stevenhp1987 says:

          It tells you on their website… Bank Transfers, Debit Card, Cash at Post Office & PayPoint… £200 free per month on the free plan.

          • AlexT says:

            One can load up to GBP 200 only for free? That’s nonsensical…

          • No, that’s not what it means. You can pay in £200 of cash into your Monese account over the counter at a bank for free. (Monese is charged by the banks or Post Office for them doing this.)

            Debit card top ups are totally free, unlimited.

          • Nick_C says:

            As I read it, the £200 limit is on ATM withdrawals and cash deposits – so deposit cash or withdraw cash up to £200 per month with no fee.

          • AlexT says:

            Thanks for the clarification, Rob

          • New Card says:

            Aren’t debit card top ups limited to 2 x £300 per month? Or am I misunderstanding what you mean, Rob?

          • Lady London says:

            that’s us told then. hopefully no more clues needed for those interesting in such things

    • Luckyjim says:

      That ship has sailed. You had to get on board early.

    • Nick M says:

      I tried to top up with Virgin but was rejected as this is a credit card rather than debit card… this did also instigate a call from the Virgin fraud team who asked me about a number of other recent transactions – apparently its a bit of a red flag when a company checks your card (bills £1 or similar and then immediately reverses it) but then doesn’t follow this up shortly afterwards with an actual payment

  4. Could I use my AMEX or Virgin Mastercard to top up my account

    • Mikeact says:

      For me, no point at the moment. I can easily see my Avios transactions on the BA App. Now if they were to award Avios on spend, then we’re talking. It could be a great replacement for Lloyds.
      Meanwhile, I’ll leave it in my drawer collection of ‘ not to be used cards.’

  5. David says:

    Considering that the avios programme for the UK is closed, isn’t the avios tracking part is useless for UK residents? Or did I miss something?

    • It is BAEC tracking. We just call it Avios tracking.

    • Nick_C says:

      Most of my Avios sit in my avios.com account until I’m ready to redeem them.

      Useful for overriding the pro rata deduction of redemptions from the various HHA members.

      Although the ability to book flights in Avios.com using my Lloyds voucher didn’t work a couple of days ago, so this functionality may have gone? (However, so have my Lloyds vouchers, so no longer an issue for me!)

  6. David S says:

    Nothing is ever free so I’m wondering how their FX conversion works. Is it a case of there being no fee but it is a bad FX rate. Does anyone have any info ?

    • You have just been pre-programmed over the years with all of these 3% credit card FX fees and the ludicrously bad rates charged at airports to thinking that there is some weird mysterious ‘cost’ involved in buying foreign currency if you are a bank. There isn’t. You can scoop up all you want at the interbank rate. Even if Monese was buying the FX it needs in the market it would only be paying a teeny tiny margin.

      As it happens, Monese has large amounts of FX on hand anyway, since the bulk of its customers are outside the UK, so it doesn’t even necessarily have to buy any currency. Your transaction to buy Euro is netted out by another Monese customer moving to £.

  7. Yorkieflyer says:

    I have a Starling account and see no additional benefit here?

    • Agree, no reason to switch (yet …) if you are already integrated into another platform.

    • Memesweeper says:

      I have Starling, Monzo and N21. It’s Starling I use everyday— a marvellous proper current account.

      • Lady London says:

        Wondering what do you think of N26? It seems strong for those who have business in German-speaking countries? does it have any major disadvantages or lack things the other cards do? ADAC can’t debit my Metro account and I’m looking for a virtual account they could debit from Germany.

        any advice on choosing between the virtual cards/banks for this purpose would be appreciated if anyone’s got a view!

        • We did a piece on N26 too. Key feature for me is WeWork membership on the Premium card.

    • Shoestring says:

      yep, that’s fairly cheap recruitment cost to them & £15 in your back pocket

      not sure the other benefit (paying in, points) is that attractive for the hassle involved

  8. Jason Lawrie says:

    Monese, Starling, Monzo, they are all in their infancy. Monzo held yet another round of funding. True the money burn rate is high and will be years before they turn a profit.

    If the app goes down what back up have you got. Ok they have got banking protection but I wouldn’t like to keep a sizeable amount of money.

    Nowadays businesses cease trading overnight after the directors have milked it dry.

    Enjoy the perks but always be on the ball

  9. James67 says:

    OT

    If I cancel my BAPP, do my avios points for this month still get transferred, or do they get cancelled when the card is cancelled?

    • Chris says:

      My parents had 16,000 transfer over about 6 weeks after they closed the card. I personally thought they would have lost them especially when the points didn’t transfer over on the usual date after they closed the card.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      BA usually break the link but SPG used to post as usual.

      If its not a significant number id risk it but not for 16k

      • Genghis says:

        Calculate how much you’d spend in fees until the next transfer date and weigh that up to the value of the points you could lose.

  10. krys_k says:

    Rob – perhaps time for an article explaining how all the cards out there in a similar vein – Revolut, Curve, Monese… – help both in terms of points collecting and FX. A comparison with pros and cons would be great. Much thanks.

    • +1. I still haven’t had my Lloyds letter but my cards must be working on borrowed time by now so will have to find an alternative for foreign spend soon. It kills me not to maximise my points earning, I am really going to miss the Amex. 😥

    • Harry T says:

      +1

      I would find this very helpful.

      • We have done full articles on Revolut, Monzo, Starling etc if you search, albeit 12 months ago. Never done a direct comparison I admit and it is getting a little outside of our remit.

  11. Harry T says:

    There appears to be a new feature in Monese to link your card and earn Avios. It seems to let you link any card, not just Monese (including Amex). Anyone else explored this feature?

    • There are no company yet to use it with, except for the shop at Twickenham Stadium!

      • Harry T says:

        I knew there would be a catch – thanks.

        Do you think it works if you link your card and then use it to pay on sites that are linked to the BAEC avios store? So you could open the website without going through the BA shopping portal?

        • David says:

          That won’t happen. As someone else may well own the click and spent money acquiring it.

    • Mikeact says:

      Say that again………

    • Nick_C says:

      And if you link the same payment card to more than one loyalty scheme, you probably won’t get any benefits. For example, I have my BAPP Amex linked to VA Flying Club, so I get FC points for shopping in Waitrose with the BA card (plus avios from Amex of course). If I try linking the same credit card to Monese, or one of the host of other places that offer this type of perk, then it will probably stop working for the Waitrose/FC points.

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