Today, there are 1,001 ways to store, save, and use your money. For some UK residents, Monzo Plus has become the digital banking service of choice, leaving many to wonder, is it worth it?
We keep a close eye on all of the developing trends in personal finance, and focus on providing unbiased assessment of the myriad of products and services available to consumers today. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at Monzo Plus and its features in order to help you decide whether or not it is right for your finances.
Monzo Plus (Our Verdict)
Monzo Plus allows account holders to experience a significant upgrade from the company’s base-level platform. For just £5 a month, users are given access to a ton of bonus features aimed to help control spending and increase savings. Whereas many of these features can be found on other competing platforms, Monzo makes it easy for their existing customers to upgrade to a premium account. For existing users that want to take more control of their finances, an upgrade to Monzo Plus is definitely worth it.
Who is Monzo?
Okay, first let’s start with a little bit of background. Before we get to Monzo Plus, we’d like to introduce Monzo. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Monzo is an app-based bank that was formed in the UK during 2015. The company quickly made a splash with their “hot coral”coloured banking cards making a statement in many young consumer’s wallets.
Monzo has grown exponentially over the past 5 years, serving over 2 million customers. For more background about the company, feel free to read our in depth review on banking with Monzo.
What is Monzo Plus?
In April of 2019, Monzo launched “Monzo Plus” to extremely mixed reviews. After only a few months filled with numerous customer complaints, the company decided to suspend Monzo Plus, which the founder addressed on their website.
Moving forward, the company, which is known for its transparency, welcomed feedback from the platform’s early adopters in order to create a better user experience. Flash forward many long months later, and the new Monzo Plus was relaunched in the summer of 2020, taking a “dramatically different approach.” The new premium platform was released with many added features to help users take control of their finances.
What Are The Fees & Charges when Banking with Monzo Plus?
To get started with Monzo Plus, there is an £60 annual fee (£6 a month). Beyond that, there are little to no hidden fees or extra paid features, aside from cancellation fees, that customers will need to take into account.
Here is a breakdown of Monzo Plus’s cancelation fees:
- £0 – Cancelling within 14 days after signing up
- £5 – Cancelling after 14 days, but under 3 months after signing up
- £0 – Cancelling anytime greater than 3 months after signing up
With these cancellation fees so low, users can try Monzo Plus relatively risk-free. However, it should be noted that a £5 fee is also charged to any new user who orders a blue, holographic card, regardless of when the account is cancelled.
How Does Monzo Plus Work? What are the Extra Features?
Alright, here are the juicy details. Below, we will break down the extra features that are included if you decide to upgrade to a Monzo Plus account.
New Holographic Physical Card
For some, looking rich can be just as important as actually being rich (a separate debate for another day). With Monzo Plus, some user’s financial vanity dreams may be fulfilled with the company’s new holographic cards. Much like their initial “hot coral” offerings, Monzo’s new holographic blue cards are sure to turn a few heads next time whenever they are used.
Unlike most premium cards, Monzo Plus’s holographic blue cards are still made of plastic (rather than metal). So whereas they are a bit flashy, in the end, Monzo’s new cards aren’t reason enough to upgrade to the premium platform. However, to each their own, as you may feel differently.
Virtual Debit Cards
Out of your wallet and into your phone, Monzo Plus gives users the chance to utilize up to five completely digital debit cards from within their account. Here, the main benefit of a virtual card has everything to do with user security and convenience.
For one, you are never going to lose your virtual card, as it exists purely online. And secondly, no one can physically steal your card. Of course, most financial theft is done virtually today, so having extra debit cards available are perfect in case user credentials are ever hacked.
Monzo Plus allows users to quickly terminate any compromised accounts with a quick transition to a new digital card. Beyond that, users can even use the variety of accounts in order to compartmentalize and organise spending on utilities, subscriptions, digital purchases and more.
One of the most noteworthy features of Monzo plus is the 1% interest earned on the first £2000 in your bank account. Importantly, however, this interest is only applied with a verified credit score.
Although this rate isn’t extraordinary, it is handy in earning a small amount of risk-free passive income (check out our guide on generating passive income here). As Monzo Plus only costs £5 per month, this extra earned interest for trusting them with your savings can help pay for the other features.
Bonus Features for Budgeting & Saving Money
With its relaunch, Monzo Plus’s largest changes were created to help users budget and save money. To start, the platform allows for purchases to be sorted into custom categories, that allow account holders to see precisely where they are spending their money in a completely user-friendly way. As a bonus, transactions can even be split between each of the custom categories.
In order to help people save money, Monzo Plus also offers a great roundup feature for users to automate the process of stowing extra cash away. Whereas 20 years ago, most people had a jar at home for their spare change, this feature allows for small bits of money to be saved with each card transaction.
In an ordinary Monzo account with the roundup feature can be activated, a £2.50 transaction will automatically deposit the remaining 50p into your savings account.
With Monzo Plus, this “spare change” can be automatically doubled or multiplied by five or ten. For those looking to save more money, this feature relieves some of the guilt when purchasing snacks or a fancy coffee drink.
Increased Cash Available Abroad
For travelers, Monzo Plus can be a valuable thing to have that may very likely pay for itself in the long run. While in a foreign country, Monzo Plus users can withdraw up to £400 in cash completely fee free. This is twice the amount available to ordinary Monzo customers (which is also fee free).
Of course, this feature may not be that important to those who do not spend a lot of time in different countries. On top of that, there are also a few digital banks that offer similar, greater, or unlimited cash withdrawals abroad.
Free Cash Deposits
Unlike traditional banks, many digital banking platforms (including Monzo) take a small fee from any cash deposit that users put into their bank account. With Plus, Monzo account holders can place one free cash deposit per month. Any additional cash deposits are subject to ordinary fees.
Upon the release of the platform Monzo has illustrated open banking and external integration as one of the primary features of the premium service. Unfortunately, adding outside bank accounts is currently limited to a select amount of verified institutions and users report difficulty and excess lag-time in seeing all of their information within the Monzo Plus app.
Who Can Use Monzo Plus?
To open a Monzo Plus Account, users must be 18 years of age. Current Monzo users can easily upgrade to a Plus account through the smartphone app in a matter of minutes. If you are not a current Monzo customer, simply download the Monzo App to get started.
Currently Monzo Plus is limited to UK residents. Early adopters of the original Monzo Plus platform (back in 2019) are also entitled to two months of free access to the new software. Although the company previously released a limited version of the app to US customers, Monzo Plus is not currently available to Americans.
What Are People Saying About Monzo Plus?
Although the reintroduced platform is relatively new, Monzo Plus is already receiving a lot of feedback from around the UK’s financial community. The new service has generally been received well with many critics citing the company’s transparency and customer-driven improvements as factors contributing to a better overall user experience.
Of course, Monzo Plus has not launched any new features that can be considered “earth shattering.” Most reviews for the new platform are overwhelming average, without any glaring bonuses that set Monzo Plus apart from its competitors. However, fans of Monzo’s ordinary platform are sure to enjoy the new features if an extra £5 isn’t too much each to ask for each month.
What Are The Benefits Of Banking with Monzo Plus?
- Tons of Added Features
- 1% Interest Rate Earned on Savings
- More Cash Can Be Withdrawn Abroad
- Increased Auto-Savings Features
- Relatively Cheap Among Premium Competition
- All of Your Banking Info In One Dashboard
What Are The Disadvantages Of Monzo Plus?
- Costs £5 Per Month (Who Needs Another Subscription?)
- Features are Just Okay, Not a Ton of Added Benefit
- Many Features Can Be Found On Other Platforms (Occasionally For Free)
Monzo Plus Alternatives
For UK residents, Monzo Plus is far from the only option available for digitally managing your finances. In fact, we’ve covered a few alternatives before. Whereas the fintech industry is constantly changing, here are a few of alternatives to Monzo Plus:
Obviously, every platform is going to have their own pros, cons, features and fees. Customers must consider what is valuable to them personally before ultimately choosing the best digital banking platform for their needs.
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