Make your money travel further overseas with Monzo

Okay, Monzo’s bright orange/ pink colour leaves a lot to be desired, but this little card is about to become your favourite travel companion.

I heard about Monzo by word of mouth, and I have not been asked by anyone to give a review. This handy little card just impressed me so much that I think it should be an essential item for any traveller out there.

All you need to get started is a £100 to put on the card (all of which you can start using straight away) and to download the free app. No other rules and restrictions, set up or monthly fees. You simply use the app to top up from your everyday account whenever you need.

The big winner here though is that it has fee-free transactions and free ATM withdrawals overseas.

Monzo is a Mastercard with contactless enabled so you can whip this little baby out at most shops and restaurants, with confidence that you are paying cost-only with no conversion fee or transaction fees.

How can I be sure? Because every time you use the card it automatically notifies you on your phone (via the app) how much you just spent in your home currency, and your remaining balance. No more waiting a day or two before your balance is updated on your account, like with some banks.

The app also helpfully shows your spending for that day, how much you have left on your balance, and even breaks down your spending by theme such as food, transport etc. You can actually visually see where all your money is going. This is really helpful for everyday spending at home as well.

I tell you, Monzo is brilliant for travelling and keeping to a budget. It’s so much easier to monitor your spending on the road, and if you start to run out, just use the app to top up more. No fees. Simple.

Oh, and if your card gets lost or stolen, just use the app to cancel or block it right away.

One of my favourite aspects is that you can use the app to instantly pay your friends your share of a purchase, or you can send a request that they pay you!

I trialled this card on my recent trip to Croatia and Montenegro. Between the two of us, we would only need to take one card out during the day with us to use as a spending card for both of us. This afforded us piece of mind that if we were mugged or lost the card, we would still be able to use the other person’s card for the remainder of the trip.

So as we travelled, the total cost of a purchase (calculated in £) would instantly come up on my partner’s phone (if he had internet access) and I would whip out my phone and send him my half of the money right there and then. When we lost data coverage in Montenegro, we would wait until the end of each day when we are back in our accommodation with wifi, and just we’d tally the day’s spending and update our balances.

No arguments. No trying to work out the exchange rates. No fees, and no hassle. It all sounds to good to be true, doesn’t it. I was a sceptic at first… there had to be a catch. But so far, I haven’t found a one!

Just recently, however, Monzo alerted all its users that it was having trouble absorbing the fees for a recent surge in foreign ATM withdraws, and asked its consumers to help decide what steps should be taken to ensure this service remains sustainable.

Amongst this they are considering introducing low rate fees for overseas ATM withdrawals that exceed a certain limit per month, but encouraged users to suggest other ideas. The fact that we have a say in shaping this service to ensure it is the most user-friendly international transaction card out there, whilst ensuring its long term sustainability, just solidified my respect for this elegant upstart company.

Monzo is available all over the world and can be used all over the world. So why the hell haven’t you signed up for one yet?

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