Prepaid travel cards, also known as currency cards, allow you to load them before you go abroad than just use them as you would a debit card to spend or withdraw cash as you wish. You can also use them to lock in a rate, plus, because they’re preloaded, it allows you to keep tight control of your spending.
This card from Monzo charges no fees at all – it’s free to spend and withdraw cash (though individual ATMs may charge). Plus, it uses the rate set by Mastercard, which is near perfect.
The Monzo card has no fees to use in the UK and works more like a debit card. You don’t convert Sterling into a particular currency; the conversion is done when you use the card, so get home with cash left on it, and you’ll pay no hefty fees to get to your money – simply withdraw it from an ATM.
How does it work?
The Monzo card is a pre-paid MasterCard (debit card). This means you don’t get a bank account or a sort code or account number for things like Direct Debits and Standing Orders. Fully fledged cards are on the way, and Monzo will soon issue full debit cards too.
For now, you can top up the card from the app on your phone and use it at cash machines, in-store and online. It’s also contactless so you can use it at the same terminals you would with other cards.
The app isn’t just for topping up the card (though you do have to do that – including a £100 top-up to start with) – it will also instantly update your balance, provide handy notifications (including why a transaction was declined) and more, such as a neat visual way of seeing where you spend your money. You can also use the app to suspend the card if it’s lost or stolen, that’s peace of mind straight away.
There are other benefits including adding notes or receipts to transactions, and the card also won’t be blocked if you go abroad – you don’t need to notify Monzo about travelling. Plus there are no fees or charges when using the Monzo card outside the UK.
How do I get a Monzo card?.
There are around 40,000 people in the queue for a Monzo card so click here and get waiting for yours to arrive. Once you have filled in all your details online, it will ask you for identification, this is a simple picture of your passport, it will then ask you to say a brief statement stating name and that you would like a Monzo card. This then will be saved and all you need to do is wait for your new travelling buddy to arrive.
Mondo or Monzo?
If you’re a bit confused about Monzo’s name, don’t worry: it wasn’t always Monzo. When it first launched, the app was called Mondo but was forced to change the name thanks to a trademark dispute.
The company reached out to its users to suggest new names, with the sole requirement that they begin with ‘M’, and after receiving 12,560 suggestions, settled on Monzo:
So if you see someone out and about with a Mondo card, don’t worry, it isn’t a fake – they’ll just have joined the app before the name change. Either way, Monzo or Mondo, the app and service are exactly the same.
Everything is instant and the way you can view and analyse your spending is on another level compared to traditional banks, despite most recently trying to update their systems. Using the card abroad is just as easy, and it’s an ideal option for frequent travellers – with no extra fees and plenty of useful analysis of your holiday spending.
For some, the Monzo card will be just what is needed to manage and keep track of spending, while for others the travel benefits alone will be enough to justify signing up. The pre-paid card could also be used as a very modern way of giving kids pocket money or simply limiting your own spending if you’re prone to getting carried away.
So being a prepaid card, topping up is required but it’s easy as pie.
There are two possible ways you can top up funds onto your card. One is almost instantaneous, the other takes a bit longer, but both are actioned via the app (below).
With the debit card transfer, all you need is an internet connection to top up £100 at a time. It’s really easy.
1, No fees to spend or withdraw cash.
2, Apply before 3.30pm and the card will be sent the same day.( unless you’re on the waiting list)
3, You must initially top up £100 to get the card. After that, you can top up a minimum of £10 by debit card.
4, You can top up less than £10 via bank transfer, but this takes at least one working day to clear. Debit card top-ups show up almost straight away.
5, You must apply and manage the card via the app, available for iPhone and Android.
6, You’ll receive the card within one to two working days if you go via our link above.
7, Monzo is now fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, though the prepaid card isn’t protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). However, it is backed by prepaid card provider Wirecard, and any money loaded is ring-fenced so in the event of bankruptcy, your money is protected.
8, you can withdraw up to £250/day and £1,000/mth, but only to a maximum of £3,000/yr.
9, There’s no name printed on the card, to make it easier to send out cards. If you’re using the card for online payments, just enter your name as usual, and the card number. You shouldn’t have any problems.
I am not a financial advisor and so if you rack up a lot of debt using the Mastercard I have written about in this post it’s your own fault, I will not be held responsible for any part of it, happy travel!