Foreign ATM charges with Monzo current account

(Kirsten) #1

Will ATM withdrawals be free up to £200 per month as with the previous pre-paid card?
I’m looking for an alternative to a credit card that is widely accepted across the world and keeps the hefty charges to a minimum when using a card abroad.

With the pre-paid card no longer available, it would be useful to know how your current account stacks up and how long I’d need to wait to get one.


(Andy Little) #2

Check out the Halifax clarity credit card. You get the same rate as Monzo but with no limits. They do, of course, charge interest if you pay it off late.


It’s a credit card so charges apply immediately on cash withdrawals.

(Andy Little) #4

Not with that one. Here’s their page for it:


Yes. It is slightly different in that multiple withdrawals to £200 in a rolling 30 day period may be made.


It clearly states that interest charges will apply.

(Andy Little) #7

They do, if you don’t pay the balance on time. Just like every credit card I’m aware of.

I think it’s safest to set a direct debit to pay the full balance each month. That way you avoid interest charges.


My final attempt:

Interest-free period

Maximum 56 days for purchases if you pay your balance in full (including any balance transfers and money transfers) by the payment due date and you also paid your previous month’s balance in full by the due date.

No interest-free period cash transactions.

There is no interest free period for balance transfers or money transfers (if available) where these are outside promotional offers.

Interest charging information

We calculate interest daily for all transactions (purchases, cash transactions, balance transfers and money transfers) based on the total amount you owe. We add together all the daily interest amounts in each statement period and add the total to your balance on your statement date. There are three exceptions to this rule:
Annual fees: We do not charge interest on annual fees (see below for details of whether your card has an annual fee).
Purchases: We do not charge interest on purchases during the interest free period, as detailed above.
Default charges: We do not charge interest on default charges for the first 28 days after the day we give you notice (usually in your statement) that these charges are payable. After that we charge simple interest, so we will not charge interest on interest.

(Andy Little) #9

I never paid interest for withdrawals abroad in February, but looking at that perhaps the terms have changed in that time.

Perhaps rather than being snide with me you could offer a better alternative?

(If there's the wrong end of a stick, you'll find me holding it.) #10

I wish I’d known about that. Could’ve withdrawn the credit limit every month and stuck it in an interest bearing account before paying off the credit card and repeat next month.


I am not being snide. I am pointing out that you are incorrect. A better alternative is Starling currently.

(Jolin) #12

Yes, you will be able to withdraw up to £200 fee-free at foreign ATMs in a rolling 30-day period. All spending in shops and on the internet overseas remains free. Full details explained here:


This is a pretty good resource for travel cards

Personally I have used the Halifax for years, and only paid very minimal interest by paying off any cash withdrawals the next day using online banking. Then came around Monzo and revolut and with two cards each between the two of us that gives us plenty of free withdrawals within the respective limits, even though I tend to travel to countries where cash is the predominant payment method.

As I have argued elsewhere: I much prefer credit cards for foreign spending, and use Monzo and revolut for cash only, as that saves me the minor hassle of paying off the withdrawal while still on holiday, but that’s just me…

(Kirsten) #14

Thanks Nanos. Good to know.

I think a pre-paid travel card is the way to go for me, personally, over a credit card.

(Allie) #15

I’m curious why? I think prepaid cards tend to be very poor, with certain debit and credit cards, like Monzo, Halifax Clarity, MBNA Everyday Plus, etc having clear benefits and a lower cost.

I can see that with Revolut, and its awful customer service, but why do you say that for Monzo? Obviously, a fee-free American Express (none left in the UK, sadly) takes the cake for foreign spending in countries where DCC is prevalent, and a credit card is great for hotels, car hire, fuel, etc where large authorisation holds may be placed. But for day-to-day spending, Monzo seems great and if anything goes wrong, they have fantastic CS to make it right!


I agree that a Monzo card is great for everyday spending abroad. But now in case I want to withdraw cash from an ATM abroad I would take a Starling card on any trip. I then can not see the point in also taking Monzo too to use at a POS when I can do that with the Starling card too. So instead of Monzo being a primary bankng solution it becomes relegated to a secondary or tertiary account.


But the only reason Starling still allows you to do this is they’re happy to take the loss to build a customer base; once they’re big enough and/or their cash runs dry they’ll introduce charges as well.

Unfortunately I’m not sure there is a solution to this - maybe once challenger banks start making enough money (via marketplaces, etc) they will be able to again afford giving away free foreign withdrawals but in the meantime I think every single challenger bank out there will eventually introduce fees (or make up the loss another way, by scamming you like legacy banks do).

(Allie) #18

We don’t know all the incentives Starling might have to maintain this. Schwab, in the US, even pays fees charged by ATM operators. My understanding is they do this to increase their cash reserves for the riskier parts of their brokerage operation, but who really knows? We have nothing like that here, but it’s proof that even negative fee foreign usage (and domestic, most US ATMs charge fees, and Schwab pays them all) can be sustainable in the big picture for a business.

Hmm, I’ve generally found cards so unreliable, I like to have a few fee-free cards on different networks when I’m abroad, and I rarely ever use cash in countries where avoiding it is possible. Thus, I’m not sure I have the same concept of primary cards. Also, my main spending is in Android Pay, whereas ATMs need a physical card, for the most part, now. I’d be hesitant in not taking at least 3-4 cards with me on a trip, minimum. But maybe I’m paranoid, or have just had awful experiences… Definitely the latter, since I’ve had more than one occasion I’ve had to just start handing over cards from my wallet until one works!

For anyone curious, here’s a few types of places I’ve found the need to ‘just start handing over cards until one works’ is more common: train ticket machines (anywhere in the world, it seems), fuel pumps (US, mainly, but there are enough UK examples on here…), anywhere in Japan, certain websites.


Possibly, but the big draw to Monzo was its association with MSE pushing it as a ‘best buy’ pre paid travel card. Now that that facility has been curtailed the CA uptake doesn’t match the prepaid users and that includes opening up the list to new applicants. Starling is advertised as a bank that just happens to have fee free ATM use.

The point of Monzo is to eliminate cash use. Use of even the UK ATM network costs money and of course cash transactions don’t earn fees for the issuing bank.


It has nothing to do with Monzo or Revolut specifically. Although I find reconciling my accounts extremely tiresome on mobile only services (I know you think that the API playground is sufficient for an online interface, but I don’t think so), so that alone puts me off using either of those for anything but the odd transaction here and there.

It is more to do with seeing credit cards as superior to debit/prepaid cards, especially when abroad. The primary reason for me is that they deal better with large authorisations for hotel and car hire. However, I also feel that the fraud protection is much better. I have never had fraud on my Monzo card, but from what I heard from others, they primarily rely on me noticing fraudulent transactions from instant notifications. I have had fraud on my other cards, and in all cases the bank noticed fraud, blocked/reversed the transactions, then contacted me. Since I tend to turn off mobile data when travelling (I like to switch off!) I wouldn’t get instant notifications. Additionally,if fraudsters were to drain my current account, and my mortgage direct debit goes out the next day (i.e. before monzo had a possibility to reverse the transactions) I’d be in a bit of a pickle. No such problem if fraudster were to max out my credit card.

Add to that the fact that Monzo’s main USP for now seems to be instant notifications, which I don’t have on holiday, because I don’t want mobile data, there is just no way in which I perceived monzo to be superior to my credit card. This may very well be difficult for others, and that’s great! :slight_smile: