Monese Business Review – Transition into Banking for Business

Monese is transforming traditional business banking

Monese Business Review
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Monese is one of a growing number of companies that are expanding from personal banking products into business ones too. These challenger banks have transformed the way we think about finance. They’re offering convenient, easy-to-use products with low fees. This can only be good news for consumers, who now have more choice than ever. We take a detailed look at the Monese Business Account to see how it compares.

Quick Look – Pros & Cons

Weighing up the positive and negative points of a product can often give a snapshot of whether it’s right for you. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the points we liked and disliked about the Monese Business offering:

Pros:

  • Incredibly easy to register and open an account.
  • Allows you to manage your business and personal finances all in one place.
  • Has some useful budget management features.
  • Good exchange rates on foreign transactions.

Cons:

  • You need to have a Monese personal account to apply for a business one.
  • You have to have a business that’s registered in the UK to be eligible.
  • You’re only allowed six free cash withdrawals per month.
  • Some traditional banking features aren’t available.

Overall, this is quite a balanced set of pros and cons. Whether or not this is the right account for you depends on a few factors, as we’ll see.

What is Monese Business?

Monese launched its first banking product in the UK back in 2015. They were the first company in the country to offer a 100% mobile current account. All customers need to do in order to qualify for an account is to provide proof of ID, and address. The bank has gained a lot of traction since, thanks to their simple approach to finances. In 2018, the company announced that they were launching their business accounts.

Again, Monese’s focus with this product is to provide a quick and easy way for companies to open an account. It’s entirely mobile-based and can be set up in minutes.

How Does Monese Business Work?

It’s easy to get started with a Monese Business account. The first thing you’ll need to do is download the Monese App on your mobile phone. From here, you can complete the registration process and upload your ID for verification. The whole experience takes just a few minutes, and all you need are details of your UK-registered company and a passport. Unfortunately, although you can open an account from anywhere in the world, you have to have a UK business. You also have to have a Monese personal UK and Euro IBAN account too. 

Once your account is open, you can start managing your business and personal finances through the app. You’ll get sent a Monese Business Mastercard too, allowing you to make purchases and withdrawals just about anywhere in the world.

In their blog post on the launch, the Monese head of Content & Community outlined plans for the service to grow and expand. It seems that there are plenty of features that are in the works. Business banking is becoming increasingly diverse, so it’ll be interesting to see where Monese takes its service.

What Features Does Monese for Business Have?

One of the criticisms that we’ve had of other similar services is that there’s not always enough features. Customers will often have to have additional accounts to get the full banking experience. So, how about Monese? Below, we’ve outlined the main features that come with a Monese Business account:

  • Quick and easy to open. It takes just a few minutes to sign up, and you get full access within a few hours.
  • Local payments are free. You don’t have to pay any fees when making local transfers.
  • Competitive international transfers. Cross-border payments cost fairly little, charged at the Mastercard exchange rate plus 0.5% of the transaction value (minimum of £2).
  • Free, contactless business card. A free Mastercard that you can use just about everywhere.
  • Cash deposits. There are over 40,000 locations in the UK where you can make cash deposits, although fees apply.
  • Available in ten languages. Useful, although you still need a UK business to open an account.

This is a fairly comprehensive set of features, although there are some fees involved. And, if you need to deposit or issue cheques, you can’t do so with this account. 

What Are the Fees for Using Monese Business?

Monese isn’t free. Unlike some other competitors, there’s not even a free, limited-feature version. The monthly cost of a Monese Business account is £9.95. Although this isn’t too steep, it’s not quite the comprehensive service that some businesses need. There are other fees associated with the account too:

  • After your six free ATM withdrawals, you’ll have to pay £1 per following withdrawal.
  • Paying money in at the Post Office costs £1 per transaction.
  • Paying money in using PayPoint costs 2.5% of the value, with a minimum of £1.
  • Replacement cards (after your first one) cost £4.95 each.
  • International currency exchange costs the Mastercard wholesale exchange rate plus 0.5% of the transaction value. This applies to both ATM withdrawals and app payments.

Overall, the fees are competitive but not the lowest we’ve seen. If you make a lot of cash withdrawals and deposits, the amount could soon add up. The same applies to those who make a lot of international payments, although these fees are actually quite reasonable. 

Who is Monese Business For?

Monese Business accounts are aimed primarily at small and medium-sized companies. There is a £50,000 limit on the standard account, and a £100,000 limit on the Plus account (which costs the same and has the same set of features). Larger businesses will find these amounts restrictive. It’s also an account that’s only for UK-based companies.

Given the monthly fees, Monese is really only suitable for those who are going to make full use of all the features. If your company is only making a few transactions each month, there are free accounts from other providers. Conversely, if you make a lot of international transfers and payments, the rates that Monese offer are incredibly competitive, even for the monthly fee.

Eventually, Monese hopes to launch an EU business account. This could be hugely beneficial for those who deal in the UK and the EU, as you’ll likely be able to easily switch between the two.

What are the Drawbacks of Using Monese Business?

Monese isn’t perfect (few banks are), and there are certainly some downsides to the service. Perhaps the most notable is that, even with the monthly fee, it’s not a complete banking service. You can’t deposit and issue cheques, for example. Although this isn’t all that common, some businesses still rely on the feature. If you make a lot of cash withdrawals, you’ll also end up paying for all but the first six each month.

Although the monthly fee is quite reasonable, there are other providers offering free accounts. Smaller businesses making only a few transactions each month would be better off choosing one of them. Also, if you’re primarily living in the UK but your business is based overseas, you’re not eligible for a Monese account.

So, it’s not a totally flawless experience, but depending on your business circumstances, this may not matter.

How Safe is Monese for Business?

For most challenger banks, security is one of the most important aspects of their business. Monese is no exception. All money that you deposit into your account is ring-fenced and covered by FCA regulation. This means that it’s protected no matter what happens to Monese, and it’s not invested or loaned out.

The app also has tight security on it. Features such as biometric unlocking and backend encryption keep your data and your money safe. Everything is controlled by the app, which is also protected by a PIN code. Each time a transaction is made on your account, you get a notification on your phone. Overall, it’s a safe and secure way of business banking.

Monese Business Verdict

Monese has built up a stellar reputation in the UK over the last few years. Because of this, we were excited by the prospect of their business account, and we’re not disappointed. There are some really useful features on show, making it a good choice for most small and medium-sized businesses. The monthly fee, although a little disappointing, isn’t too high and the features mostly justify it.

There are a few niggling problems. Limited cash withdrawals, the lack of ability to deposit cheques, and fees for cash deposits aren’t ideal. However, for those who don’t need to worry about those, the Monese Business account is a very good choice.

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