Finding a bank account isn’t tough. Do a quick Google search and you’ll have your pick of banks that want your business.
But you won’t find Monzo in that mix.
In your search you’ll find accounts that give you cashback on purchases, ones with added perks like phone and breakdown insurance, and others that might wooo you with interest free balance transfers.
There’s so many cards for good reason – and I’m sure there’s a hundred reasons why any one of them could suit you.
So instead of giving you another card comparison write up, in this post we’re taking a closer look at one we’ve experienced firsthand…Monzo.
Who are Monzo?
These guys are the newbies in the bank account world, and are hell bent on doing it different!
They’re UK-based, billing themselves as ‘the bank of the future’. A pretty bold claim by all (bank) accounts!
And if the thought of putting your money in a new, unknown bank worries you, then rest easy!
Every Monzo account is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) – which means your money is safe up to £85,000…no matter what happens.
To run you through her own experience, let me hand you over to our very own Monzo money maestro…
Since buying a house 4 years ago, I’ve had to get a lot smarter and a lot more organised with my money.
Not only to make sure the bills are paid and the lights stay on, but to make sure I’ve still got enough left for a few espresso martinis at the end of the month!
I’ll be the first to admit a slight case of OCD when it comes to knowing where (and when) my money has gone, yet it still baffles me that a haircut here, a couple of coffees there and a small food shop can cost upwards of £100.
Delayed transactions and vague retailer information on my bank statement doesn’t do any favours for my OCD either.
Then there’s the issue of holidays.
Not the holiday itself, but the boring finances that go hand in hand with your time off. Things like…
- finding the best exchange rates,
- actually getting there to change up your cash,
- then carrying around big wads of cash – paranoid that old dear on her mobility scooter is looking at you kinda funny. Is she…is she going to mug me?!
And using my regular bank card abroad isn’t really an option either – not unless I want to get stung with withdrawl fees and crappy exchange rates.
The online-only bank that lives solely on your smartphone, and is basically the answer to all my money management prayers (hallelujah!)
In a nutshell, I see Monzo as the future of banking.
You can join online from your phone in minutes, and from there you’re given an easy-to-use platform with full transparency of what you’re spending and when you’re spending it. I can already feel my OCD pangs ebbing away!
They started life as a pre-paid card but, they’ve now upgraded to a full-blown current account.
Here’s a quick run-down of why I use Monzo to manage my money.
Easy to use and easy to track
Instead of physically logging-in to check bank statements and see card transactions come through a few days later, Monzo users receive an instant app notification when you make a purchase or cash withdrawal.
And not just that, you get full details of your spend too.
Monzo also categorises spending so you can see how much your spending on certain things. The default categories are pretty sensible too:
- eating out
- and more
And there’s a handy monthly summary. A really useful (and sometimes scary!) tool to show you where your money goes over the course of each month.
Become a budgeter
The Monzo app also offers the option to set spending budgets. They can be applied overall or per category.
So if you like to set a budget and stick to it (or if you have a new-shoe habit that you really need to try and curb) this is a great function to use.
Takes the hassle out of holidays
The thought of figuring out my holiday money causes me a huge ol’ headache, but with Monzo it’s an absolute breeze.
They give you Mastercard’s exchange rate (which is waaaaaay better than other banks I’ve used), and there are absolutely no fees and no charges to use your card for transactions abroad.
And for those times where you really need the cold-hard-cash (say in the ramshackle Greek taverna up the hill which serves the best lamb kleftiko but has no idea what “contactless” even means) you can get up to £200 cash out in a 30 day period without any charges (also at the great Mastercard exchange rate).
So no more hiding that wad of Euros under the hotel mattress, stuffing notes in your socks, or losing £20 when you come back home and sell your unused currency back to M&S.
Lost and found? No problem
This is a super simple feature that has been a real life-saver! The Monzo app lets your freeze your card if you lose it, then instantly unfreeze it if you’re lucky enough to find it/realise it’s in your OTHER pocket!
Case in point…on a trip to New York last year I misplaced my Monzo card and wasn’t able to go on the hunt for it straight away.
I was pretty sure I’d left it in the previous bar, but as a precaution I froze the card from my app. This was super simple compared to the usual process of calling up the card company and spending ages on hold to get the card permanently disabled.
When I finally made it back to the bar (strange how these things always involve alcohol), the barman still had my bright orange card (neon colouring makes it pretty recognisable), and after getting it back, I instantly unfroze it to continue happily with my holiday. I. Was. Winning!
Like the sound of the Monzo card?
So if, like me, you think Monzo could be a game-changer in helping you manage your money then it’s super-easy to get started right now.
It’s free to join, which seems to me that there’s nothing to lose and a lot to gain.
Plus…if you decide you’re not a fan, you can just leave Monzo and delete your app – no dramas!
You just need to be a UK resident over the age of 18 (and obviously own a smartphone compatible with the app).
Are you already a Monzo user? Has it helped you budget better?
Or do you prefer to use a different ‘smart bank’?
We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below…