Lessons I learnt from my last holiday

Today is my final day on holiday and after a week of using our cards I (or i) wanted to share what we learnt! :man_teacher:t5:

Disclaimer 1: These are the summarised collective experiences of a group of Monzo users in Donostia/San Sebastian. :es:(Sorry but there was no Basque flag)

Lesson 1: ATMs don’t make it easy to withdraw cash at the Mastercard rate that Monzo use. :thinking:

How to do it...

Here’s @Avishai amazing post that explains it! And it took me 10 minutes of tapping to get there so be patient. :weary:

Lesson 2: ALWAYS chose to be charged in Euro! :euro:

Lesson 3: Contactless works just as good as it always does! (and it charges in Euro as long as the terminal says so) :credit_card:

Lesson 4: Most shops will have a minimum card spend.

Lesson 5: Monzo/me links + WhatsApp group chat make for very easy split bills! :money_with_wings::calling:

Lesson 6: As soon as you can, add a photo of the transaction receipt to the transaction. Always best to have a copy just in case! :selfie:t5:

Disclaimer 2: Most of our spending was using Monzo cards but there was 1 instance a Tandem card was used to book football tickets as the site required 3DS. :man_shrugging:t4:


Feel free to add any tips you’ve learnt in your travels or ask any questions! :grinning:


I found this out the hard way! @Victor.S Care to explain why this is important, for our lovely community forum? :money_with_wings:

1 Like

Great question @brenda ! :grinning:

It’s important to chose the local currency because not only will you get charged a poor exchange rate to convert to GBP, you’re charged a percentage for the privilege. And these little charges add up! (This can be 3-5% of EVERY withdraw or transaction)

A great example is lets say we arrive at to our holiday and want to do a quick food and drink shop to stock up; at a guess the shop comes to €20. Using my Monzo card and paying in Euros right now would cost me £17.45 at 1 EUR = 0.872683 GBP. :slightly_smiling_face:

On the other hand let’s say I chose to be charged in GBP. The Bank would first use a poor exchange rate and that £17.45 would go up £18. Then I may be charged by the bank handling the shop’s conversion at 3% and the same shop is £18.54! :anguished:


Excellent explanation! Also, a lil’ information nugget: you can use the Mastercard exchange rate calculator (on 0.0% bank fee when you’re filling up the form) to figure out how much your chip and PIN/contactless transaction would be when you’re abroad.


@brenda I think it would be good if the MasterCard fx calculator was integrated into the Monzo app!


That would be awesome! :heart_eyes: One for Ideas, perhaps?


n.b when I was abroad I found a lot of terminals and ATMs would show the amount in local currency, then when I put my Monzo card in, that sneakily changed to “aha let us charge you this many GBP for your convenience, because we’d like the slice of this chunky commission pie rather than letting your bank eat it”, not knowing that Monzo is pie-less. So the correct response in these situations is to hunt for the “oh no you don’t, charge me in your own currency, you cheeky silicon swine” button.


Just spotted something: the Mastercard UK site footer has handy links at the bottom for all the banks that use their services, including one “Mondo”, linking to getmondo co uk - oops! Somebody should have a word!


Oh my days! :scream: Thanks for flagging, @vitaminj! I’ll let the team know.


Mind you I did see last year a website refer to HSBC as Midland Bank, but got them to change it!


This topic was automatically closed 180 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.