If you travel a lot like me, then the last thing you want to see when you get home from travelling is huge foreign exchange fees all over your bank statement. This was happening every time I would travel with my normal debit card.
I would come home to see my bank statement for that month sprinkled with foreign transaction fees. Though these fees might seem small as one offs here and there, but they do add up over a course of a few weeks or months.
After a few statements like this. I was determined to find a travel card with a 0% foreign exchange fee. So, I could continue to travel without the bank taking half my money in fees.
This is where my Monzo bank card comes in - a bright coral coloured travel card. That I’ve been using over the last year. I’ve taken my Monzo card abroad with me to Prague, Rotterdam, Cologne and Amsterdam and can’t tell you how good it feels to know that, there wouldn’t be any pesky 3% foreign exchange fees to pay. This travel card is also great if you're travelling in London.
Because I’ve used this card so much and love it. I wanted to put together a little Monzo card review together to help you. In case you are looking for a travel card to use while abroad. I can honestly say that my Monzo travel card is one of the best travel card I’ve use so far.
For more from my London travel guide series check out my best things to do in London, where to stay in London, bottomless brunch Shoreditch, Neals Yard Covent Garden, best brunch in London, things to do in Brick Lane, 5 day London itinerary and day in London.
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Who or What is this Monzo travel card you ask?
Monzo is an app only bank. That originally starting out as a prepaid travel card or a prepaid travel money card, which could be topped up via an app (the Monzo app). The Monzo prepaid travel card has now been switched to the Monzo current account.
Monzo bank is currently only available to UK residents, but they hope to eventually expand to other countries.
How to apply for a Monzo Bank Card?
UK residents aged 16 or over can apply for a Monzo account through the app. That is available to download at both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
To register for a Monzo account you simply download the app, scan your ID and make a little introduction video. It takes only a few minutes. Then all you do is wait for your account to be approved.
Once activated you’ll be sent a nice bright coral bank card. The Monzo app was designed with the customer in mind. It had a beautiful, simple user-friendly interface with well thought out functionality.
My account took less than a week to be activated and a card to be sent to me. I did all this in the comfort of my own home in my bathrobe! Guys this is truly the bank of the future.
What are the benefits of using a Monzo card abroad?
There are so many benefits that you can expect when using your Monzo card abroad. I’ve listed a few below.
0% foreign exchange fee
The number one benefit for me when using my Monzo card abroad was that I no longer had to pay those annoying 3% banks foreign exchange fees. That my bank use to charge me. Let’s be honest these fees look small on their own but added up for two weeks, or more and this can take a seriously large huge chunk of your money. This could eat into the money you saved up for your travels.
No more notifying your bank with Monzo
I used to hate calling my banking and notifying them that I was travelling because I usually forgot and had to do it while at the airport about to board a flight. No more!
A Monzo debit card can be used abroad without having to notify the bank. There is no charge for point of sale transactions (such as spending in hotels and shops and) outside of the UK.
Likewise, there is no charge for making online payments in a foreign currency. I am currently also using by Monzo account for my international subscription that I pay in a foreign currency. Which can incur an extra charge bydoing this I have been able to save a few pounds a month.
£200 Monzo cash withdrawals limit
I no longer fear withdrawing my money from ATMs in other countries with my Monzo travel card.
With Monzo there is a £200 fee-free withdrawal limit for overseas ATMs over the course of a month. If you withdraw more than £200, then a 3% charge is applied to any withdrawals that exceed £200 during a 30-day period. Monzo daily cash withdrawal limit is £200, with a 3% charge thereafter.
Usage of this fee-free allowance can be monitored within the app to prevent any baller travel spending (because we are not Drake – we can’t YOLO our travel money away).
Mastercard exchange rate = Monzo Card exchange rate
All transactions in a foreign currency are made at the current day’s Mastercard exchange rate. This ensure that a competitive rate is offered that responds to the live market.
Freeze your card if you lose it
If like me you’ve had the pleasure (or mental breakdown) of losing your bank card while travelling and then spent most of your time calling your bank (and bawling) for help. Seeing If they could cancel your card along with your life. As the fear of someone spending all your money like no one’s business is just too much.
Then Monzo can help.
With Monzo it’s easy to freeze your card within the app as there is a Freeze card option. And if your card was only missed place the you can ‘Defrost’ it again and go on your merry way.
Monzo’s welcome intros when you arrive in a country
When you arrive in a new country you’ll get a welcome screen. This gives you the basic information about the destination such as the current exchange rate, and any fees (if any) for the destination.
Track spending while travelling
Another thing I really like about the Monzo card, is if like me, you like to keep an eye on your money whether in London or travelling. Monzo makes it easy by sending a notification of every transition to your phone instantly. No more waiting for a few days for transaction to clear like normal banks.
There is also a summary breakdown of where you spend your money in categories like: transport, eating out, travelling, and bills.
You can also see a summary of your spending with Monzo when you leave your travel destination. Seeing a summary of how much you spent whilst you were away.
Where can you use your Monzo Card
You can use Monzo anywhere Mastercard’s are accepted.
Monzo is one of the best travel cards that I have used, and it has made travelling a lot easier. There’s nothing worse than getting back from travelling and having to pay an arm and leg in exchange fees. So, using Monzo has helped me saved money. As well as using my Monzo bank card abroad, I’ve been using my card in London for some of the benefits listed above and it’s made managing my money a little more fun. Who knew a bank could do that.
If you have more questions about travelling with Monzo check out their travel FAQ.