Monzo in Sri Lanka 🇱🇰 [Discussion]

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I’ve likewise found that merchants can be sometimes quite cheeky trying to put through transactions in GBP rather than LKR and so you have to be quite persistent.


I just got back from Sri Lanka, where Monzo was my main card. I also signed up for the Trip Report beta so I have some feedback on that too.

I didn’t have too many problems with Monzo at all - not many places we went took card, but where they did I had no problem. I used the card in shops, restaurants and hotels with no problem at all. Our biggest problem was that sometimes ATMs wouldn’t take foreign cards at all - neither my Monzo nor my HSBC/Visa card, nor my boyfriend’s bank card. If you’re in Sri Lanka, keep an eye out for ATMs from Sampath Bank, Bank of Ceylon or Hatton National Bank as all of those were fine.

I didn’t have any problems topping up the Monzo card when I was on wifi, it went through straight away.

It was really really helpful to be able to keep an eye on the exchange rate through Monzo while we were abroad as it fluctuated a bit - so Monzo was so great as I got to take advantage of the better exchange rates with no fees!

The main thing that was a bit weird/confusing was that I bought something in a shop, and the transaction didn’t go through. The shop assistant tried to run the card three times, and it declined every time - on two different card machines. Then on the fourth time, the transaction went through. I used the shop’s wifi to check what had happened on Monzo - and I saw that actually, one of the transactions went through but was then immediately refunded, then the fourth transaction went through.

In terms of the trip report, this is actually a bit annoying, as there are two purchases counted in my expenditure - not the refunded amount, and I can’t see a way of removing it - so that means the trip report ‘total spend’ is kind of pointless as it’s not my total spend at all - it has an extra chunk that I didn’t spend as the transaction got refunded immediately. So for me, it’s not been as helpful as I’d hoped - but obviously it’s still in beta! It would be good to have a way of removing that if possible?

As for trip report feedback otherwise - it would have been good to categorise the transactions within the holiday, so I could see a breakdown of how I spent my money on holiday, and perhaps to see a breakdown of how much I spent in each city, but these are just suggestions for future consideration :slight_smile:

Thanks all :slight_smile:

(Edit: Also just noticed that the tag for this still says ‘Travelling with Mon do’ ;))

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Yes, I had the same thing as Anna where transactions went through and then immediately refunded, distorting travel spend as the refunds aren’t captured. Also the spend element of the double transaction still shows as pending weeks later.

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Currently in Sri Lanka :sri_lanka: and using Monzo is a dream so far :heart_eyes:. In big towns cards including Monz are accepted in most hotels/restaurants/stations etc and ATMs don’t charge, but there is a 50,000 LKR daily withdrawal limit. However in smaller towns it’s often cash only and ATMs either don’t accept foreign cards or can charge you a nice fortune, so be sure to carry cash at all times :moneybag:


Hey Nikita, I’m there next week :slight_smile: Were there any fee free ATM’s at the airport?

Yep! There are 4 ATMs in the airport of which 2 or 3 have the MasterCard symbol. Although when I arrived a week ago only one of those had cash in it. Got an exchange rate of £1 = 182.41 LKR and no fee. Enjoy, it’s beautiful here!

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Im currently in Sri Lanka and ive got to say Monzo have made the trip a breeze! No fees, the best rates and instant notification when things decline (i had miscalculated the exchange and went over the £200 limit) Ive told numerous people ive met on my trip to get a card as soon as they get home

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@alexs are there fees for using Monzo in Sri Lanka?

Thanks for all the insights on this thread. My first time using the Monzo card overseas (in Sri Lanka), and my initial worries turned into amazement when the Commercial Bank ATM spitted out LKR at such an amazing exchange rate despite the ATM fees (400 LKR as of Aug’18). Do note that the ATM actually provides the option of doing the currency conversion for you, so do select the option to NOT convert.

Keep up the awesome work Monzo! :rocket:

Heading to SL this weekend and planning to use Monzo as much as possible for cash withdrawal and spending. Just to confirm the daily ATM limit - there’s nothing to stop me going to different ATMS (even if they are the same bank?) in the same day and withdrawing the limit? Want to make sure I don’t run out of money between Colombo and Kandy (stops in between are Unawatuna and Ella)

you can look at your spending and allowance limits on - Account - manage - limits and allowances

mine has a £400 max - 24 hr ATM withdrawal limit :slight_smile:

thanks - i’ve got the same limit but wondering if I can take out the 40,000 limit that ATMs have more than once in a day i.e. go to two different ATMs in 24 hours and take out 40,000 each time.

Hi Alex,

Thank you for the information, I am going to stay with relatives who lives in Sri Lanka, so its only payments to the shops.

Kind Regards