British fintech Monese has launched the Polish-language version of its mobile app. But it will have to expand its offer in order to compete on a market dominated by Revolut
Monese is a British startup that offers a contactless, pre-paid Mastercard card and an accompanying app for managing a euro or British pound account. The service is similar to that offered by Revolut, but there are some significant differences.
Monese allows customers to set up bank accounts in Great Britain or euro area countries even if they don't have a permanent address or a credit history there. The Financial Conduct Authority granted the fintech an electronic money institution license in 2011 and the company started offering its services in 2015. As opposed to Revolut, which offers a great deal of its services for free, Monese charges for most of them. While you can set up a new account for free, each ATM withdrawal will cost you 1 euro. Monese also charges a 2 percent commission on currency exchanges and almost 3 euro for issuing a Mastercard contactless debit card.
If you choose a ‘Plus’ account for 4.95 euro a month, the company will offer you a free contactless card, six free ATM withdrawals and a 0.5 percent commission on currency exchanges. Revolut customers can exchange currencies in real time for free. It also offers free ATM withdrawals all over the world.
Before opening an account with Monese, you will go through a registration process. The app requires entering a PIN code that you will use to log in and your phone number. You will then receive a text message with a verification code that you will need to enter in the app. It will be displayed in the beginning of the message, which means it will be visible in the text message notification and you won’t have to exit the app to read it.
As far as Monese's account functionality, I found two drawbacks. First of all, you can only transfer money to the account via a SEPA bank transfer or an international transfer. It's not possible to connect a payment card from another bank and use it to withdraw money, contrary to Revolut. The second issue I see is that you can only make transfers to the account in euro or pounds. In this aspect the Revolut app proves more convenient again - it lets you transfer Polish złoty to the account and then exchange it to any currency.
It’s worth mentioning that Monese won the European Commission's European Fintech Award in 2016 and was granted 1 million euro for research and development. The company says that it has tens of thousands of customers and the value of their transactions in 2017 exceeded half a million pounds. Revolut announced in November last year that its app had just under one million users and the value of their transactions was approximately 5 billion dollars.