Fintech in Europe? Monzo Alternatives

(Sam) #1

I am British Citizen and am leaving the UK to work in Paris.

While here in the UK there seems to be a plethora of mobile-first banks like Monzo where you can open accounts in minutes and hold multiple currencies.

Does the community know of any EU/French fintech companies that are the same? I don’t want to open a bricks-and-mortar account over there. Many of the UK fintech only offer free cash withdrawal for the first €200.

Transferwise Borderless Account held in Euro is the better option I could find here, but something native in Europe would be great?

What is out there?


N26 might be worth a look:


Not much.

N26 or Bunq come to mind, but they use German and Dutch IBANs - which theoretically should be fine in the euro zone, except French utility companies apparently seem to like hardcoding the FR prefix, meaning you’ll have to bank with a French bank. :frowning:

If this either doesn’t matter to you, or is no longer a thing, this might also be an option if you’ve still got a UK address:

If it were me, I’d probably give N26 a go and get on the list for a Starling euro account.


Fire Bank - I don’t have any experience of this bank, but do know you get both a Euro and Sterling account which may be of benefit to you. They’re based in Ireland so you do have to pay small fees for certain things…


10c per card transaction, 1 euro per ATM withdrawal, 49c per direct debit




I use monese in the euro zone. They do both UK and euro accounts. There’s several referral codes in the wiki.


Plus one for bunq

If French utilities won’t accept your IBAN, you should report them to the French regulator, whoever that is…


Well that’s true.

(With hindsight, having country prefixes in the euro zone was probably counterproductive)


There’s a long thread on problems with IBAN acceptance in Germany on their forum here

Some more relevant chat here

IBAN discrimination is a general problem…


I’m agreeing with you! (But little comfort when things don’t work in the short term though)…


There is a lot of options in France, but many charge.

You have hello bank that may be suitable. It’s fee free.

Possibly Fidor


There’s also Orange Bank. @Rjevski is a fan (#jokes)


Their app is also terrible

(Christopher) #15

Hello Sam, congratulations on the job and the exciting move to Paris!

To echo a lot of what people are saying, not sure there’s currently a French bank that fully meets your requirements. I think the big battle in French retail banking is the challenge to fee based banking. Hello, Orange (sorry Andre) and Nikel are the main contenders in this race.

As has been previously mentioned you could encounter IBAN issues with a non FR domiciled bank, so it might be useful opening a French domiciled account if you’re planning on establishing yourself there. Where your salary is originates is also worth a consideration, as your employer may not pay into a French domiciled bank.

A couple of my friends use Hello, which is essentially BNP Paribas and they have had no drama, and just pretty happy they don’t have to pay a monthly fee for essential transactional banking (!)

Personally, I use a combination Banque Courtois (cobwebs) and HSBC, formally a BNP customer, but I closed that to switch to HSBC, as I hold an account with them in the UK. It made opening (marginally simpler), plus their Global View product made it easy and convenient to transfer without fees, though offered FX isn’t competitive.