More reliable bank transfers from Europe

We’ll be improving the the reliability and speed of inbound bank transfers from Europe and the rest of the world!

What will you be using this feature for?

Check here for progress updates as they happen! Follow along on Twitter or in the app, in your Help screen :grinning:

Update 20/12: We’ve just shared an update on the work we’re doing on receiving international payments.

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Hello!

Just saw this - not having proper integration with SEPA banking is the main thing stopping me from using Monzo as my main bank account.
I deal with people in Germany and elsewhere, and whilst it does work to receive money with using one of the auto-transformed IBAN generators, the integration with my other current account (with HSBC) seems a lot better than with Monzo at the moment.

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Any chance we can get support for SEPA direct debits, would be handy for paying for the EuroDisney annual passes! :slight_smile:

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Good luck with that. There may not be any SEPA in the UK after Brexit and the transition period.

Like :switzerland: and :norway:?

May not be. I wasn’t making a political point, but an objective statement.

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I had no idea that existed, I remember asking Monzo about getting my IBAN and being told it wasn’t available but it seems it’s simply GB84MONZ followed by the sort code and account number (12 digits, no spaces or dashes).

Surely this is all that’s required to receive international payments from anywhere? I have heard of BIC and SWIFT codes but no idea what they are.

Hi all,

Since we last updated you in July, we’ve been working to increase the reliability of payments from other countries into your Monzo account. This post is a status report on what we’ve been up to, and what we’re still working on.

NatWest is currently our correspondent bank

This means that payments to Monzo from other European banks in Euro get to us via NatWest. They have to take an extra “hop” before reaching Monzo, but this lets us take advantage of NatWest’s international presence and membership in Euro payment schemes like STEP2, which is the infrastructure underlying most SEPA payments.

In technical terms, we’ve told other banks about this arrangement via a Standard Settlement Instruction in SWIFTref. SWIFTref is a directory used by banks to look up information about how to route payments. Against Monzo’s Bank Identifier Code in the directory, there’s an instruction to send Euro payments via NatWest.

IBANs and international payments

One thing that we haven’t been great at in the past is using the right terminology around international payments when communicating with customers. “Having an IBAN” isn’t a feature: an IBAN is just an identifier for your account which can be calculated using a BIC and your account details.

At the moment, five things can happen to a payment sent to a Monzo IBAN (that’s not in Pounds):

  1. The foreign bank has a UK presence and is connected directly to UK payment schemes (e.g. CHAPS). They do the FX (foreign exchange) themselves and send the money to us in Pounds as a domestic payment, which we credit to the customer’s Monzo account.
  2. The foreign bank has a Pound correspondent, through which they can send the money to us. Again, they do the FX and it arrives to us as a domestic payment.
  3. The foreign bank has an EU presence and can send Euro payments. They send the money to us as a Euro payment (via NatWest). We then do the FX and credit the customer’s Monzo account.
  4. The foreign bank has a Euro correspondent, through which they can send the money to us (via NatWest). Again, we then do the FX and credit the customer’s Monzo account.
  5. The foreign bank has no UK connectivity themselves and no Pound or Euro correspondent. The payment cannot get to us, and will likely be returned to the sender.

SEPA

Our initial plan was to utilise the existing agency banking relationship, we have with NatWest (and their SEPA scheme connections), to let customers receive inbound SEPA Credit Transfers (SCTs) — the Euro equivalent of next-day bank transfers.

Unfortunately, this turned out to be a dead end and so we’re now looking to provide SEPA Credit Transfers ourselves. Brexit is making this a little trickier than we’d hoped, but we’re hoping to have something in place next year.

In the meantime, use TransferWise

Whilst we work to add the ability to send and receive international payments “natively”, through the app, we’d recommend using TransferWise for your international payments.

For outbound payments - use the TransferWise integration in your Monzo app
For inbound payments - use the IBAN within your TransferWise account (and you can then convert the funds and send it to your Monzo account. Simple!)

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Thanks for the update! I’m a little confused though – the top half of the post sounds like most of the routes are in place, but then the advice is still to use TransferWise.

Does not supporting SEPA mean things get lost, or just that they’re slow, and TransferWise will be quicker?

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If you were to send a Euro payment from a retail bank in Europe, the sending bank will most try to do this as a SEPA Credit Transfer (some more info here) - as Monzo aren’t yet members of that scheme, our BIC/your IBAN won’t show up as ‘reachable’ via this method and so this transfer wouldn’t work.

The work we’ve done so far is to improve the routing for payments that aren’t sent via a SEPA scheme (i.e. if the sending bank were to send a EUR-denominated payment, but via SWIFT instead).

For the time being, TransferWise has a couple of advantages in respect of transferring money from abroad, including the ability to receive incoming SEPA payments (via Handelsbank I believe).

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One question is why can’t monzo just integrate transferwise in to monzo for inbound foreign curency transfers problem solved

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Everyone is all waiting
When the step is taken, the bank will be a full bank. Please accelerate the opening of the international transfers

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Everyone is all waiting
When the step is taken, the bank will be a full bank. Please accelerate the opening of the international transfers
Thank u

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@bamesjerry Can we have an update on IBAN numbers for user accounts; Appreciate focus is on payments aspect, but majority of large corporates require IBAN for payroll systems and this is resulting in people like myself requiring multiple accounts and putting into question the viability of using Monzo without this being in place

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I’m afraid I don’t have an ETA for when we’ll start displaying your IBAN in-app but Nick’s recent post is a good update on where we’re at right now with regards to inbound SEPA payments.

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At the moment I’m at a loss for words as to why Monzo still have not decided about how to receive Int’l payments. This is particularly relevant to me as I work as IT contractor in Switzerland had the company needs to pay me in Euros to receiving bank account.
There are already bullet proof methods of sending/receiving Int’l payments - SEPA or SWIFT which are used by all other banking institutions worldwide. So it beggars belief since Monzo’s last blog nearly 12mths ago stating that these SEPA/SWIFT Int’l payments methods were unreliable given that currently millions of customers/banking institutions/businesses carry out daily transactions speedily without any fuss!

So either Monzo are effectively members of/or are looking to join membership of SEPA/SWIFT immediately in order to facilitate SEPA credit transfers/ SEPA Direct Debits payments / SWIFT Int’l transfers!

If Monzo find using NatWest’s routing for Int’l payments /receipts problematic then maybe it’s prudent for Monzo to do direct credit transfers/receipts rather than via a 3rd party saving considerable development time given it’s been nearly 12mths since 24-Jul-2018 blog discussing international transfers with no further credible progress to show as yet!!

Furthermore I now see that competition - Starling Bank already setup direct SEPA credit transfers/SEPA Direct debits & SWIFT Int’l transfers without use of a 3rd party!
Starling Bank are also introducing a Euro a/c to run alongside a personal a/c which would be of interest to me as I work in the EU as IT contractor and get paid in Euros so costs savings in transfer fees are highly beneficial!
If Monzo are looking to introduce ‘Monzo Plus’ charged at £3/month I’d be loathe to pay this given the current lack of fundamental services SEPA/SWIFT with no idea of when these will come into force! A year further down the line to wait for something fundamental is just not a viable option given the recent crowd funding generated for millions?!

If Monzo introduce ‘Monzo Plus’ charged at £3/month I’d be extremely irritated and angry to pay this for a service which doesn’t justify any fee given the above glaring limitations in banking services which at best need addressing & implementation asap first!!

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Seems like this is getting slightly better, my girlfriend lives in Austria so whenever she’s over I just pay for everything and then she transfers me the money to avoid bad exchange rates and fees. A while back she tried to send money directly to my IBAN but it failed (it actually resulted in a call from her bank to her too).

Anyway since then we’ve been using TransferWise, usually I convert the money to GBP before sending it to my Monzo account but this morning I decided to try sending 1 EUR directly to my Monzo IBAN. It took about 6 hours, but the important thing is that it worked and I’ve paid half as much in fees (0.63 EUR flat rate).

Next will be asking her to send 1EUR directly to me to see if that lands successfully now.

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I have this, and it’s great!
It’s only a personal Euro account - doesn’t seem to be available for business customers yet

Welcome to the Starling Bank community!

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