Monzo - ATM fee chat

I was on holiday last week and missed being able to comment on the recent dedicated thread.

If Monzo are obliged to implement a % fee for currency withdrawals at foreign ATMs - doesn’t that just put them into the same ballpark as the mainline “High Street” banks ?

I took out a Monzo card for trialling abroad, mainly to take cash from ATMs, however as it has worked flawlessly in Germany and Spain in stores etc. I was impressed enough to retain if for all travel purposes.

That attraction would disappear if ATM fees are introduced.

We have Nationwide FlexPlus for medical insurance and it has no ATM cash fees - Metrobank have no fees in SEPA (which effectively is Europe, less Turkey) - Santander have no fees (as far as I know) using their debit card at their branded ATMs in Spain and Canary Islands - there’s even a credit card (Barclaycard Platinum Travel Card) which has no ATM fees for a fixed number (2022 ?) of years. Then there’s Starling, although they might have go implement fees at some point in the future as well.

If I had to choose one of the options it would have to be an annual fee free allowance for hole in the wall transactions.

Sorry you missed the chance to vote and contribute to the discussion. However, you’ll be glad to know that the issues you’re writing about were raised in the big discussion thread, and the option which most closely matches your preference also won the popular vote. So maybe you haven’t missed anything after all. :wink: Also sounds like you’ve got some alternatives sorted for yourself for when fees are introduced on overseas ATM withdrawals, which is great.


If Monzo are obliged to implement a % fee for currency withdrawals at foreign ATMs - doesn’t that just put them into the same ballpark as the mainline “High Street” banks ?

Monzo is building a smarter bank, not a bankrupt bank. High Street banks have mortgages and overdrafts they make money off of, Monzo currently only has overdrafts. Since very few customers currently have a current account, and very few of those (I’d wager) make use of overdrafts, Monzo cannot sustain itself without having customers offset some of the costs incurred by the customers.

A lot of us who love Monzo loves it because of the conveniences (an actually good smartphone app, better transaction metadata, not having to call people and be subjected to useless “security verification” - no-one could guess our date of birth, after all - for simple things like address changes, etc).

Those who only joined Monzo for the favourable exchange rates and lack of fees, I have to ask; How long do you expect Monzo to be drinking from the fountain of Venture Capitals before either the tap is closed, or the VCs own a controlling interest in Monzo and thus ruin Monzo’s user friendliness with profit-chasing?

I’m really curious as to what exactly you thought was going to happen.


Exactly. OP, amongst a lot of the other customers who commented on the original ATM fees thread really seem to be missing the forest for the trees. Monzo is not a prepaid travel card. That’s not what the end goal ever was nor was this ever described as a main selling point.

The point, as I see it, is to build a better current account and associated services. It’s about technical innovation, superior security, a better user experience and smarter banking - leveraging technology that legacy banks have ignored for years.

If someone is of the opinion that all of that is irrelevant in the face of some ATM fees that are a necessary evil for sustainability, I really think they’re missing out.


I missed the discussion on charges but one thing to bear in mind with a normal bank or credit card they charge both a % currency fee plus they make on the exchange rate. So even if we get a % fee hopefully less the the other charge we are still winning.


And legacy banks apply fees to online transactions and POS transactions too, which Monzo won’t. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Unlike some, I’m not an operative in the money world so I don’t have the qualified insight that professional finance people might have into major league beancounting - just an ordinary rank and file foot soldier who was attracted to the no ATM fees abroad.

I realise it’s not designed as a prepaid travel card per se, however if it has that facility I can’t see why users are be criticised for availing themselves of it.

If Monzo don’t want it used as a fee free foreign currency tool then they should not have included that option in the first place, or should withdraw it soonest, after advising card holders accordingly.

I have used the card several times in retail outlets and resturants in Germany and Spain (Mallorca) this summer, only once to pull cash from a hole in the wall - I was very impressed by the ease of which it functioned and its universal (so far) acceptance, along with my iPad access to manage the card.

I intend to keep it for holiday use and for POS transactions in shops etc. when abroad - if a fee is introduced for ATMs then I will desist from using it for currency withdrawals.

If Monzo are unhappy with that model of customer profile I’ll happily terminate the account.

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As repeatedly stated, the prepaid card programme is being wound up by the end of the year anyway so keeping it won’t be an option. The current account that is being introduced now will carry whatever fees are decided on and you’ll be free to open one or not.


Happy to have a current account in due course, regardless of ATM fees decision.


POS will always be free and at MasterCard exchange rate. Currency withdrawals are being designed so it is affordable for reasonable amounts.

Was there ever a formal decision notification on this issue? I know there was heated debate, we voted and everyone argued but I’ve not seen a formal decision post (been off-grid for a few days so may have missed it).


As in the charging structure for foreign ATM withdrawals? No - that has yet to be announced.

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Richard, I think you know this is incorrect. Monzo clearly stated that the three overseas ATM fee options presented were cost neutral – simply covering the costs incurred from foreign ATM networks. Whilst a 3% fee is higher than the costs on EU ATMs, it covers the £200/month fee-free withdrawals and the higher non-EU ATM costs.

I know you don’t like this option, and I personally would also have preferred the EU 1%/RoW 2% option which simply covers the costs with no fee-free withdrawal allowance. But we lost the vote. :disappointed: However, it’s disingenuous to say that Monzo will make money off the 3% ATM fee, as they have stated they won’t. The higher percentage covers the free £200 withdrawals.

Overdrafts and the marketplace are Monzo’s current plans for making money. I think this has been well covered.

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I voted Option 1



We’ve not announced this yet but will be sure to communicate the final decision across all platforms when we do (or at least a link to the blog post) This should be in the next week.


They will be making money off those travelling in Europe and using it to subsidise withdrawals elsewhere in the world

All withdrawals will subsidise the free £200 allowance, as 3% is also higher than rest of the world withdraws. But the fact is that as a whole, Monzo will not be making money off ATM withdrawal fees. They will be making money off overdrafts, as you stated. I don’t think conflating those two helps.

The fact is if I withdraw money in Europe with a 3% charge they are still going to be making money out of me but if I go elsewhere it is likely they are paying part of my withdrawal costs. Just because their main revenue stream is overdraft fees does not negate from the fact that ATM charges look likely not to reflect true costs fairly for all but be skewed by an allowance meaning a number of customers play the system abusing the free allowance while others are charged 1-2% over the odds

To quash any inference in differentiating between subsidising ATM withdrawals and making profit as a whole, :monzo: Monzo have been VERY transparent:

"…we have three suggested options to put to the community. We’ve modelled these extensively based on historical data to get to numbers that are:
—Non profit making: We want to pass on the fees that ATMs charge, at cost price, and not make a profit ourselves…


That seems plain to me, Monzo are aiming to break even on ATM fees worldwide (having presumably modelled transactions in europe versus the Rest of World) and are not “making money” by charging travellers 3% to withdraw cash (after the first free £200)

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Yes…break even as a whole across ALL the ATM transactions they have, not per individual transaction… So that still means some users losing out if the 3% option is selected instead of the 1%/2% option