Assist us with sending money in non-GBP currency while abroad


(Felix Gardner) #1

Here’s an idea I had, similar to the stuff in this thread:

I guess the “travel mode” discussed in the thread might be pretty complex to implement, but something which would be easier for you guys to do and really useful would be helping us with non-GBP transactions while abroad.

For example, if I am in the USA, and I’m going to send my sister some money for baseball tickets, when I open the “Send money” window, Monzo knows I’m in the USA and gives me the option to see the USD/GBP exchange rate and to type in an amount I want to send in USD. Of course the money is actually sent in GBP equivalent and my balance remains in GBP but knowing the USD just assists with the transaction. This would be incredibly useful for us when travelling.

Hope that all makes sense. Would love to hear your thoughts.


Foreign Currency
(Alex Sherwood) #2

I’d be interested to hear the scenario you’re imagining - where you’ll need to send money while abroad. Wouldn’t you be sending money to someone who’s still in the UK or is at least a UK citizen (so their primary currency is GBP)?


(Felix Gardner) #3

I think it’s quite a real scenario, I’m going on holiday with some of my friends and we all have Monzo.
Say there are three of us and we have lunch and want to split the bill, which is €30.
I pay €30 on my Monzo (yay, no fees) and the other two transfer €10 each to me.
Normally they’d have to work out what €10 euros was in GBP, but with the feature I described the app would work it out for them. I would still get paid in GBP. Hope that makes sense.


(Alex Sherwood) #4

Ok got it. So you want to be able to calculate the converted amount in another part of the app, fair enough :slight_smile:


(Felix Gardner) #5

Of course the whole “travel mode” thing in the thread above where your whole Monzo app gets temporarily converted into your travel country’s currency would be awesome, but I think this might be a useful little feature which wouldn’t be super hard to implement. Although I’m no dev so I really have no idea.


( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #6

I must be missing something :slight_smile:

if all of your lunch friends were Monzo users wouldn’t you just wait for the settled amount on your app and get them to pay you in sterling - why would you need to work out how much their individual €10s were worth ?


(Felix Gardner) #7

I agree Ian, doing some basic division would work, but that’s not how we make Monzo the greatest card in the world!

I don’t know about you, but in certain social situations I prefer to pay my share to the person paying the bill before they’ve actually paid it themselves. Saves them having to ask for money, which I personally don’t like doing.

Just being able to know the exact local currency exchanged value on screen seems like a fairly small job for the team with some potentially big benefits.


(Alex Sherwood) #8

Just to pick up on these comments - maybe it is & maybe it isn’t but there’s design considerations too here so I’d focus on the use case, rather than trying to guess whether it’s easy to implement or not :slight_smile:

I agree with the rest of your comments in that post :thumbsup:


( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #9

I agree - some idea of amounts in local currency for top ups would be very useful also balance in local currency would save a lot of mental arithmetic :slight_smile: - which I mentioned back in Feb here

  • Monzo.me facility divides bills doesnt it at the table once the bill has arrived hmmm wonder if it divides in a foreign currency - probably not until its a settled amount ???

(Felix Gardner) #10

@alexs Understood, I shouldn’t speculate on the implementation. I’m sure if I sat down with one of the developers for 10 minutes I’d see very quickly how monumentally complicated a “simple” change like this is to do.

@iansilversides Showing the local currency would be a fantastic feature, something I would really appreciate. It really would make Monzo the ultimate travel payment card.


(Ben) #11

The split bill functionality still works when abroad. Whilst you would have to wait for whoever is paying to pay first, it works well and keeps everything in GBP.

Other than that, I must be missing something.


(Felix Gardner) #12

Lunch, 3 people, €30 bill, €10 per person.

Current method: person 1 pays €30 to restaurant, waits for Monzo to get charged, sees charge is ~£25, persons 2 and 3 do some division and pay their share of ~£8.33 to person 1.

Proposed method: person 1 pays €30 to restaurant, persons 2 and 3 go to Monzo “send money” screen and have option to send money in € equivalent. Persons 2 and 3 pay €10 equivalent each to person 1 (they are still paying in £ though). Person 1 receives ~£8.33 from persons 2 and 3 as before, just no division required by persons 2 and 3.

Hope that makes sense.


( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #13

presumably once Monzo are on current accounts we would still have the ability to ‘top up’ our accounts from other sources - i.e. savings accounts etc to keep our balance sufficient for our bills - so really being able to see a ‘top up’ amount when adding funds in local currency is still relevant - despite my feb post - and I agree if at all possible would be lovely to see our current account balance in local currency when abroad and revert to GBP when home - now that would be a great user experience and really, really helpful :slight_smile:


(Ben) #14

No division required, it’s all built into the app :-/


(Jolin) #15

Not to be picky, but there is still division required. €30÷3. It’s just that in your second scenario, the division is done on the euro amount; in the first scenario, the division is done on the sterling amount. I agree that in your example, €30 is much easier to divide by three. But this is an unlikely scenario – the euro amount is just as likely as the sterling amount to not divide evenly by the number of people.

My concern with the proposed feature is that it could be conceptually confusing. I’d rather pay, then use the split bill functionality to send requests to my friends (which works whether or not they have Monzo).


(Felix Gardner) #16

Genuinely had no idea about this feature. Thanks for showing me! That really does solve my problem I think, however I still think it would be cool to see equivalent currencies listed while you are travelling abroad. I.e. your balance shown in GBP and EUR while you are in France.


(Felix Gardner) #17

The split bill functionality is something I’ve actually just learned about and it’s very impressive and sorta makes this whole conversation a bit moot but it was still interesting. In my mind the only obvious thing Monzo could implement would be seeing all your abroad transactions / balance / split bill values in both your home and away currencies while travelling, that would be pretty cool. Otherwise yeah, the split bill thing looks absolutely fine.


(Jolin) #18

Yes, I agree with you there. If @hugo could figure out a non-cluttered/non-confusing way for Monzo to display balance and split bill values in local currency, that would be fantastic. Particularly the balance. Obviously it needs to be clear that it’s an approximation, but it would help a lot to avoid having to do the mental arithmetic every time you look at your balance when travelling. This has also been requested and discussed on some other threads, which you might find interesting.

So far, @hugo has resisted the idea because of potential confusion around the estimated rate that would be displayed, versus the actual rate you get when a transaction settles. I think this would be manageable, especially as we already have to deal with approximate rates when making a transaction.

Note that transactions abroad do already display in both local and GBP (perhaps a model of how the balance could be displayed in local currency as well) – see the grey text in my transactions below:


( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #19

yes when I pay a bill abroad and my balance is close to the amount of the bill I would have to do some quick mental arithmetic to verify I had enough on the app in my current account to pay the bill , before seeing the amount appear in the app as an approx payment before settlement - or not if I didn’t have the required funds and be embarrassed at the card decline :slight_smile:

as said before it would be extremely useful to see balance and top ups in both approximate local currency and GBP @hugo :slight_smile: when Im abroad - the apps raison d’être is to make my financial life easier to understand and control without getting my calculator out - I appreciate hugos reasons for wanting to keep the screen clean and uncluttered , but it is quite important information :slight_smile:


(Jolin) #20

Very much agree. And to expand on the point about the foreign currency balance being an estimate: at the moment, I’m doing a very rough estimate mentally. For instance, when I was in Iceland, it was approximately 100ISK=73p. So I’d look the cost of something, add a decimal two digits from the right, then do my mental approximation of 3/4, and compare this to my balance. So, 4100ISK I would estimate as £35. Actually, doing the calculation it turns out that 4100ISK=£29.93, so I was significantly off.

Though any local currency balance Monzo might display won’t be accurate to the penny (or kroner), it will be far more accurate than what I’m using at the moment, which is my mental approximations. And even if I did a live rate lookup and used a calculator, it would be no more accurate than a balance provided by Monzo, as the rate a transactions settles in will not be the same as the one I looked up.