Holiday Money

(Mega Charizard) #1

When I go on holiday to America I take cash, a post office card with dollars on and a first direct debit card.

So with Monzo is that better than any of those three methods. If so… Why?

(Kieran McHugh) #2

Hey Sebastian,

I’ve also taken my Monzo card to the US, and it proved absolutely invaluable. Things to look out for:

  • You get the “true” MasterCard exchange rate from Monzo. Many prepaid debit cards (the Post Office might be one) give you a poorer rate and keep the difference for themselves.
  • Monzo do not charge any non-sterling transaction fees either, nor do they charge you a percentage for using your card in stores.
  • You get an allowance for free foreign ATM withdrawals too, in case you wanted to get some cash out when you were there. This costs Monzo money, so I personally avoid it where I can, and bring some cash with me in advance (sounds like you do this too).
  • If you lose your Monzo card abroad, the customer support will respond very quickly and get a new card out to you fast.
  • You’ll get real-time notifications of all your spending, and at the end of your trip, a nice breakdown of exactly what you spent.

I would say give it a go, you’ll be impressed!

Hope this helps,


That is a bit vague. I think it is worth pointing out it only £200 over a 30 day period. Anything above that £200 is at 3%.

(Mega Charizard) #4

That sounds great then. Makes me a little happier knowing this. I have always had additional (albeit) small seperate charges when I’ve used it abroad per transaction.

And in regards to withdrawing Ive never done that in USA because I thought it’d work out very pricey. So will stick to cash and Monzo then this year.

(Kieran McHugh) #5

Thanks for clarifying. For me personally this is more than enough, especially in the US, where everywhere accepts card. When withdrawing cash, you lose so many of the benefits that Monzo offers. So I try to avoid it.


Great. Avoiding cash, improves your budgeting data in the app but also saves Monzo a lot of charges.

(Allie) #7

Monzo supports contactless magstripe mode, which most British cards don’t. This greatly improves contactless compatibility and decreases declines in the US.

(Kolok) #8

Does this mean it does ‘magstripe emulation’ like Samsung pay?

(Allie) #9

No, Samsung Pay is actually sending one track of the magnetic stripe through electromagnetic induction, so no contactless reader needed.

This is an old contactless mode where the reader reconstructs a magnetic stripe-format track using contactless data. It’s protected from true cloning by a rotating CVC3, but it’s far less secure than modern EMV contactless and is vulnerable to pre-play attacks.


I was typing the same thing, but @GalaxyMergirl answered far more eloquently than my rambling words

(Allie) #11

Thanks :slight_smile: It’s worth noting: its use in the US is odd. It was intended to be used for processing systems that couldn’t handle EMV transactions as a stop gap to rapidly roll out contactless. Now, in the US, most shops can handle EMV contact. But a majority of those that support contactless (many have it disabled in part due to trying to promote their own alternatives) still use magstripe mode… I guess it saves them a second certification, but it’s a security and compatibility disaster.