🇵🇭 Monzo in the Philippines [Discussion]

This post is not to moan about the imperfections of Mondo, but rather to make other alpha testers aware of issues I faced while abroad. Hopefully they will be fixed which will make our Mondo card even better.

I was in the Philippines over the last 2 weeks and I loved using Mondo! My AMEX charge card was charging me about 3% for the privilege of using it. That’s another £3 for every £100 spent, so that quickly adds up. I loved the way that I knew instantly how much I’ve spent after a few seconds in GBP.

Mobile internet speeds was slower in Manila than in London and I think this is something we take for granted. This affected the way the app refreshed. Also, I’ve noticed slight variations to amounts after a few hours or even days. Yes they were pence difference but it wasn’t clear that once a foreign transaction went through that the exchange rate would still change?

Love the Apple Pay integration but if you’re in a place (abroad) with a slower internet connection, it could cause topping to fail? I tried a £250 top up on my card via Apple Pay and I was charged but didn’t go through to my Mondo card. I panicked. Mondo support was awesome though and Tom & team came through, they sorted it out and I had my money in minutes rather than days. But I think there’s something to do with the slow connection that caused it to fail.

Being abroad it was really hard to withdraw cash using my mondo card. Apparently there is an issue with non chip and pin ATM machines and declines transactions if it was a magnetic stripe ATM machine, when I contacted support over failure to withdraw money multiple times. It actually came up as ATM declined on my mondo app. I resorted to my UK debit card that charge about 5% (2% coversion & 2.75% foreign currency).
Would have loved to got that free on the Mondo card but had no control on the type of ATM machines available at the place I was at at the time.
However I faced no issues using my mondo card for purchases. I was simply asked to enter my pin.

Guys thanks for a great product and for saving me some dough on foreign transaction charges.
Please let’s make it better. I might just love you forever!


Looks like that will be made clearer in the future.

Keep an eye on this thread.

Good feedback though, would be interesting to see what could be done about the app’s network traffic when abroad. Not only are most networks slower and less reliable in some countries but there’s also potentially expensive, low data caps to consider if you’re not on a carrier like Three in a Feel at Home location.

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I had the same problem with notifications and updating on dodgy wifi in Pakistan. I didn’t try using cash points but did find the peace of mind of being able to see (almost) real time transactions and the ability to lock down my card at the touch of a button meant I had a much more pleasant experience than I might otherwise have done :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the feedback @jeno! Two weeks in the Philippines sounds very exciting.

As you have noticed, the GBP amount changes between the time of the transaction and the final settlement if the exchange rate changes. The variations are normally small but it is confusing when the amounts is your feed suddenly changes so we are working on making it more clear what happens and when an amount is “final”.

It is a great point about testing slow internet connections - something we need to do more of in the future.

Hola @ole!
Yes, in London internet speeds are much faster (and cheaper) than other parts of the world, so testing it with slower internet connection speeds would be helpful and beneficial especially a majority of Mondo Alpha/users are also globe trotters. We are quite lucky in that sense but when it comes to real world scenarios, we struggle because our expectation is the same to what we are used to. I quickly got over the topping up issue because Mondo support is superb. My bank First Direct weren’t very helpful and were quick to wash their hands when my funds were in limbo.

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Good to know. I’m going to the Philippines in a few weeks and I was thinking of withdrawing cash on my Mondo card to avoid carrying the cash. Were you able to withdrawn any cash over there at all? Also, could you tell the difference on those two types of ATM machines?

When I travel abroad I always use pre-paid currency cards to withdraw cash and my credit card for purchases (no foreign transaction fees). However, there are no pre-paid currency cards for Philippines Pesos and I would hate to use my debit card to withdraw cash, they charge so much! I hope I can find a C&P ATM when I’m there…

Hi Cathy, look for newish Banco de Oro (BDO) or Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) ATMs - they will be chip & pin. The Philippine banking system is moving to EMV and is in it’s implementation stage, this is the reason some new ATMs are C&P and older ones aren’t due to them not being upgraded yet.

However, all machines nationwide, in my experience, charge P200 per transaction. I would suggest withdrawing the daily card limit £300/day or ~P20,000 to maximize this fee. There are 2 exceptions, Citibank and HSBC ATMs do not charge these but their branches/ATMs are very scarce and mostly in Metro Manila.

Enjoy the Philippines!

Perfect! Thanks for the info!

I’ve just returned from the Philippines :cry: so I wanted to add my experience as well for other users planning to going there.

I recommend using MetroBank cash machines, even the ones on the shopping malls worked for me while the other ones didn’t (normally they have a group of them to withdraw and I tried them all). I tried the newish BDO and BPI as jeno suggested but they weren’t C&P, except for one at a convenience store, at least in the places I went to: Manila, Cebu, Bohol and Palawan. However, even though MetroBank’s machines didn’t look new (that’s why I left them for last) they worked.

Another thing worth mentioning is that not only MetroBank machines work, they don’t charge the P200 (~£3) per transaction, which I find outrageous because the ATMs have a withdrawal limit of P10.000 for everyone. So the time I was able to withdraw form a BPI I had to do it twice, P10000 + P5000, since my daily cash withdrawal is only £250 daily. That’s over £6!

I found the experience very stressful since in the Philippines you need to carry cash ALL the time. Here in London I hardly ever carry cash as I pay everything with my card or via contactless, even for amounts less than £5. Even fast food restaurants or port ticket offices didn’t accept cards, so it ended up being a hassle finding an ATM that worked and then waiting for the next day to withdraw more so it would last for the week (I was paying for 2).

Next time I will bring more cash with me :slight_smile:

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Yep, agree - a totally great experience using the card abroad. Although only France, not as glamorous as some of the other travellers here.
It was refreshing not to have charges every time we wanted to withdraw cash, I don’t like having to withdraw large amounts of cash to avoid the withdrawal charge eating up my holiday money, or to have to top up a min £50 (as Post Office card has for example).
Shame you can’t get the money off easily once its on there - my fiancé isn’t registered for Paym so I can’t send the money to anyone - few people I know are Paym registered and I work in FS - so I’ll just spend on the card here. I can’t see why I can’t send the money to myself however.
I’m off to Cuba in a few weeks however so it will be interesting to see if the card works there, although we will mostly be cash given their restrictions and reluctance on anything US related (mastercard).

Thanks for the info provided so far, I am headed to the Philippines on Friday so this is quite useful!

I’m currently in the Philippines. BPI doesn’t work and metrobank charges 200PHP per transaction with 10.000PHP limit… Disappointed, reading the comments here I didn’t expect that

Have you enabled Magstripe withdrawals? On iOS enable Magstripe withdrawals from Card > Profile > Security. If you’re an Android user, you’ll need to ask support to enable them for now.

You should also check that you’re a verified user, as foreign ATM withdrawals are disabled for unverified users. On iOS you can compare your limits from your Profile in the app with the limits for verified users listed here or if you’re an Android user, message the support team to check - again, this won’t be necessary :soon:

Unfortunately those limits & charges are set by the Metrobank so they would apply to cards from any bank.

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I had no problems using BPI during my month long visit to the Philippines in Dec 2016/Jan 2017.

I also used BDO cash machines. I made sure to enable the Magstripe each morning before going to the cashpoint.

The comments above made very clear there was a 200 PHP charge for cards, they even said to goto HSBC if you wanrted to avoid the 200 PHP charges.

The only issues I had in the philippines was at the Hard Rock Cafe Shop were they refused to charge me in PHP and instated on paying in GBP.

Everywhere else including the Hard Rock Cafe Restuarant where happy to charge in PHP.


Hi, just got back to UK after a week in Boracay. We tried several banks including BDO and unfortunately was unable to use Monzo to withdraw cash. This was mostly because many of the ATMs and Banks didn’t accept MasterCard (only Visa). Was pretty frustrating and we resorted to using our bank card which we had to pay for (transaction fees).

For anyone else going to Boracay - the ATM at Kalibo Airport doesn’t take Monzo and there is no foreign exchange at the airport. I would suggest you exchange prior to entering the country if that is your first port of arrival. And yes, cash is king nearly everywhere there (except the Shangri-La).


Hi imabanana,

That’s such a shame!
I was in the Philippines in Feb 2017 and I was able to get cash successfully in most places - the issue I encountered was down to the machines not being chip enabled but there is a setting on the app which allows you to enable mag stripe withdrawals. The downside is you have to switch it on while you have internet access but the setting stays on for 24 hours.

Regardless of card used (I always have my Nationwide Flex Plus - no overseas cash fees! as back-up) Philippine ATMs always charge a P200 transaction fee. This is levied by all banks on foreign bank-issued cards.

Hope this helps!


I have been in Manila for the last 3 weeks and Monzo has been brilliant. Spent over £700 using it here.

I have had no problems using it anywhere except a few food places that don’t take card.

Most bank machines charge 200-250pesos to withdraw although my hotel’s BPI ATM did not charge so I stuck to using this when I wanted cash.

Combined with a local SIM I felt much safer using Monzo over my debit card. Other benefit is the 60+ php to £1 vs. The 50-55php I got exchanging cash in the UK.


I’d just like to add that I haven’t had any problems using BDO or BPI machines when I’ve been in Makati and other areas of Metro Manila.

Like other users I just make sure I enable the mag stripe feature each day.

These machines will ask you if you want to withdraw money from your Checking, Savings or Loan account. When I’ve used my NatWest debit card in the past, only Savings worked so I always select Savings when I use my Monzo card. I’m not sure if the other options work with the Monzo card so I would recommend always selecting Savings.

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I used my Monzo card a little in the Philippines just two weeks ago: the very first experience has been a disaster. Tried to get some cash at the ATMs on the right side of the Arrival Hall in MNL and after choosing the task and inputting Pin etc the card was spit out with no results as if the program restarted, with no error message or else. At the last attempt, I got my money deducted and nothing showed up from the machine, I waited and waited and waited many many minutes. I have now completed a form asking for the refund of that sum debited, hopefully I will have it back on the account. Otherwise, the card worked very well in shops/bars. I never tried to use it again in any ATMS in the Philippines to get cash.

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Thanks for sharing this feedback :raised_hands:

Have you checked that you’re a verified user & had you enabled Magstripe withdrawals?

iOS users can enable Magstripe withdrawals from Card > Profile > Security, here’s the guide. Android users should go to Settings > ATM - guide.

Foreign ATM withdrawals are disabled for unverified users.
You can check your limits in the app where you should see a note underneath the Limits header confirming which level of verification you have. The guide to the in-app limits are here (iOS user’s guide & Android guide).

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