More reliable bank transfers from Europe

(Naji Esiri) #1

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.


Paid in Euros
(Nik) #2


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.


(Martin Perry) #3

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


(Jamie 🏳️‍🌈) #4

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



Like :switzerland: and :norway:?


(Jamie 🏳️‍🌈) #6

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


(Michael) #7

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.


(James) #8

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.


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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Third parties and Monzo
(Nick) #9

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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(James) #10

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).


(William Brown) #12

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

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(Mohammed Ben Suliman) #13

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


(Mohammed Ben Suliman) #14

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


(Andrew Gifford) #15

@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


(James) #17

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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