My first few days with Monzo MasterCard

A competely fee free pre paid card, with an app and contactless?  There must be a catch!?

Monitoring spending, on a personal level has got easier since joining online banking 5 or so years ago but I’m always looking for smarter ways of doing stuff.  I’m also not a “credit card” person.  I don’t get on with them.  So why get a Monzo card?

Monzo Card.png

Also my accountant has mentioned on several occasions that it would be better to separate business expenditure from personal spending.  So, in looking for a solution I discovered Monzo.  It’s an online contactless pre-paid debit MasterCard that is run entirely with an app on your phone.  It came highly recommended on Money Saving Expert too.

About 3 weeks ago, I did some research and found that they offer all all their services with no added fee’s.  That includes international spending and transfers.  I downloaded the app and  joined a queue.  Quite a big queue!  Thousands of  other people ahead of me on this.  I checked the progress hourly and my progress to getting a card was slow.  Monzo was crowdfunded back in 2015.  They raised £1,000,000 in a staggering 96 seconds!  

They aim to re-invent how banks work and are among a growing number of online banks starting to challenge traditional bricks and mortar financial institutions.  As of October 2016 they now have over 200,000 users.  They are currently rolling out current accounts too.


While I was away on business I got an exciting notification that my card was ready to be sent out, pending a couple of ID requests.  With those completed the App told me my card was on it’s way.  When I got back from Glasgow – there it was.  I opened it up and activated the card.  They insist that you top up £100 with a debit card.  As I did so, my balance was instantly updated.  They use the same software tech that make Amazon and Google work.  They are keen on user feedback too.  The queue didn’t take as long as I thought it would.  I was up and running!

I paid a visit to Tesco and spent around £9 on shopping.  I used my new neon orange contactless card and instantly it updated my balance.  The payment was located correctly and automatically categorised as groceries.  This is very handy!  Monzo, despite being pre-paid, allows real time access to my spending, and on what I spend on.  Before I would spend and that would be mixed in with other spending.  As my accountant isn’t really interested in costs that fall outside business spending – analysis of how much I spend on what would be discarded.

It’s also interesting that Monzo don’t charge for international use so for the future – it will be useful when travelling.

So, I will transfer £100 as and when I need to.  I will do that for a month to see what I spend on non-business related stuff.  The fact that it adds each transaction to categories and allows you to monitor and limit spending within those sections.


So, this Monzo card has no catches yet.  My main question is… how do they make money from us?  I’ll keep updating how I get on with Monzo and the results of my spending breakdown!


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