Reducing the cost of debit card top-ups

(Tom ) #213

Thanks for the correction. Amended post to reflect.

1 Like
(Allie) #214

Are those not the people most likely to switch? My banking needs are pretty minimal too, if they weren’t - Monzo isn’t there yet. But for the 90% of us with minimal needs, it’s great.


Registered an account just to add my £0.02 to the discussion. Clearly there are lots of regular users here who are invested (emotionally or financially) in Monzo and follow these kinds of blog posts.

I’m a different kind of user. I only started using Monzo because my main debit card got ripped off twice in a year. My bank picked it up straight away on both occassions, but it was such a pain to have my account frozen and wait for a new card. Monzo seemed like a perfect solution.

I treat Monzo like a wallet. I wouldn’t carry more than £50 in my wallet, so I don’t in my Monzo. If I lose my card, or if it gets defrauded, I’ve lost an amount that, whilst hurts, doesn’t affect my ability to pay the mortgage. Plus I get pinged straight away when I make a transaction (as long as I have internet), and it is great to use abroad. Lovely.

I have not upgraded to a CA because I don’t really want a CA. I thought about it, but then saw that debit card top-ups weren’t available. This went against what was, for me, the whole point of Monzo. It’s disposable. It’s for small spending.

If there was a fee to debit card top-ups I will probably not upgrade at all. Yes I could use my bank app to transfer money, but in reality this would result in me transferring larger amounts, and I don’t trust Monzo with larger amounts. I’d rather get another high street bank current account and transfer a monthly spend into that.

Questions for me that remain before I would even consider using Monzo as an account with more than £50: Will they be able to detect fraud as fast as a high street bank? Will they block the fraudulent transaction and call me immediately to verify? Are their ethics really up to scratch compared to the Co-op who I currently use? Do I really want a bank with no telephone number?

No doubt many people here are able to tell me why I should have a Monzo current account. But the fact is that I don’t want one. Based on the foreign payments consultation I expect that they’ll put a fee in place. If that happens then next year, when they start forcing people to upgrade, is the end of the Monzo line for me.

If I do chose to not upgrade, I will keep an eye on Monzo and consider switching back if they’ve managed to have a couple of years of current account provision without any scandals.


Welcome to the community @IskarJarak.

I think you should know some really basic things about Monzo and fist is Mozno are a Bank, a proper UK bank just like your old High Steet Bank

Up to £85,000 is protected by FSCS

Monzo never intended to be a cash card they were clear from the start they are building a bank. I know not everyone follows this community and are not expected to but they have been sending regular email updates and you can always visit the website to know more.

1 Like
(James) #217

I guess I am also in the minority here but in the past, I used to pay for an HSBC Plus (or whatever it used to be called!) because of certain benefits such as access to savings accounts with better interest rates and lower transaction fees abroad. I am also one of the people who prefer to use Monzo more like a pre-paid card, topping up instantly via debit card when needed and not having to worry about dealing with my legacy bank app.

Now, as has been mentioned, this is not a use case that is financially viable for Monzo due to the fees. But I would be prepared to pay a monthly amount to cover this use case (it sounds like that might be around ~£2 a month but I would happily pay a bit more so Monzo can continue to grow).

I guess this would introduce the idea of a two-tier system, but it could also just be considered an alternative product. With curve, you can choose to pay for a different card and it gives you better cash back rates with their partner merchants, for example. If a lot of people seem to want this use case and a proportion of those people would be willing to pay for it, would it be a bad thing to offer such a service to those people?

1 Like
(Jolin) #218

Is there a particular reason you don’t trust Monzo? As Ali has said, your money is guaranteed by the FSCS.

Probably much faster.

The current rate of fraud is an order of magnitude lower than the financial services industry average.

Further discussion on that article:

And if there is a fraudulent transaction, feedback on this forum indicates that Monzo will credit your account immediately once you notify them through the app. Also, because of the instant notifications, you’re more likely to notice any fraud that does slip through much more quickly.

They don’t face all the same issues as the Co-op, as they aren’t lending to large companies, investing, etc. At the moment, Monzo either puts your money on deposit with the Bank of England, or uses it to provide overdrafts to other customers. Full details:

One area where I feel they’ve been better than the Co-op so far is in transparency and communicating with customers. You might also be interested in looking at their Transparency Dashboard.

They do have a telephone number, but it’s not the most efficient way to get support from them. Instead of waiting on hold on the phone, you can send a message in the app.

In terms of upgrading or not, the fact is that at the moment, debit card top-ups remain free. If charges are brought in while the prepaid card is still around, I imagine they will apply to both prepaid and current account (though I think it’s more likely the prepaid will be shut down before charges are brought in). You will lose nothing by upgrading your prepaid to a current account, and will gain FSCS protection as well as the ability to use faster payments (which is a good way if you ever need to get money out of Monzo as well as onto it). Additionally, the support hours for the prepaid card have been cut back, so even if you continue using your card as you have been, you are better off on the current account.


This may have been mentioned before, if so forgive me I haven’t had time to read this thread let alone other ones on this subject.

As an alternative to debit card top ups could I set up a direct debit at my legacy bank to pay Monzo. Then when I wanted to top up, click a button in the App and Monzo uses the existing DD to transfer funds. Is that any cheaper to process?

(MikeF) #220

Standing order is as close as you can get at the moment but that’s obviously fixed value/fixed interval so doesn’t really do the same job.

1 Like

As I understand it, FSCS protection protects me against Monzo going bust, not from fraud.

I think this is actually quite key. I don’t want to have to notify them, I want them to detect it instantly and stop it. What if I’m somewhere without internet, as frequently happens abroad and outside of London? If they currently do credit back immediately then great, but this is the sort of thing I will keep a watching brief on.

Thanks for the information about ethics and transparency.


I already replied to @jzw95 but…

FSCS doesn’t protect me from fraud or from poor customer service.

Monzo may have been clear that they were building a bank but they provided me with a product which they then allowed me to use in a different way to a bank. Which is why I said it seems like it’s the end of the line for me. I’m not making a judgement here.

(Jolin) #223

Correct. I brought it up as I wasn’t sure what aspect concerned you.

If you have a read of the blog post on fraud detection, you’ll see that they do, and their detection rate is an order of magnitude better than the industry average. (As an anecdote, my wife had fraudulent transactions attempted against her card in Paris at the beginning of the year, they were all blocked automatically. She didn’t realise until a day later as had notifications off for some reason, but when she did it was a quick freeze and chat with support and a new card was sent out, with an offer to send it to Paris.)

But no fraud detection system at any bank is perfect, and sometimes there will be fraudulent transactions that get charged to the account. The data suggest there are less of these on Monzo, but there will be some. Feedback on this forum indicates the response in these instances is excellent, and people have their money credited back in 30-40 minutes after notifying Monzo.

Have a look around, because the excellence of Monzo’s customer service is widely documented here. :wink:

The current account still provides you with that different way. You can literally use it in exactly the same way as the prepaid.

Your choice entirely, of course! Just wanted to make sure you have full information when deciding.


Thank you for taking the time, I appreciate it. It’s also good to know that anecdotes around customer service have been positive.

(Jamie 🏳️‍🌈) #225

Which high street bank provides what you are looking for, around fraud, ethics and customer service, out of interest?

1 Like

Right now I’m with the co-op as I believe they’re the most ethical bank. Their customer service is UK based, they have a branch near me that opens on a Saturday morning, and so far they’ve been great at spotting and refunding fraudulent transactions.

As far as apps (and sexy debit card colours) go, Monzo is of course a zillion miles ahead.


I’ve been with Monzo for a long time now and I use it as my main card and have updated to current account.
You first introduced cost when using the card abroad, which was a very good reason I signed up in the first place. Now you’re planning to introduce cost when topping up. That is punishing people for using Monzo.
Or just a way to force people to move their salaries to monzo.
I agree with a post earlier, I find your service not trustworthy enough to have my salary paid in it. There have been so many weekend I was asked to ‘carry another card with me’ because the processing system was down. Build a trustworthy rock solid system and then maybe think about charging people instead of forcing them to have their salaries paid in it.
If you start charging for top ups, that’s it, I’m done with Monzo :wave::wave:. Thank god there are alternatives. Your cool coral card is not enough to keep me anymore.
I know you operate in a loss and you knew it too, you’re a start up. That’s how it works. Users have supported monzo and how thank you is what, charging them? £24 per user per year is a joke.

(MikeF) #228

Remember that Monzo are here to offer the products they feel passionate about providing. I think it’s recognised that these may not initially appeal to all those who jumped on board for the prepaid ‘test’ card which is why no-one is forcing an upgrade on anyone.

As with all businesses, if what is on offer doesn’t appeal to us, we’re free to take our business elsewhere. There isn’t any malice in this on either side, business mature their products as customers mature their needs and sometimes these to paths move in different directions.

1 Like
(Brian Hunter) #229

Unless I missed something I think you misunderstood what they meant in regards to topping up. It costs Monzo roughly £24 per customer per year, not that they are going to charge us that. They are just encouraging us to use it as a current account as that was their intention, and how we get the most benefit from their current account.

The stability thing is fair, but that was on the pre-pay system. Moving to CA brought that processing in house and they promise that it will be far more stable.

(Tony, Secret Lemonade Drinker) #230

That was on the pre-paid card system, which was using an external processor. The current account uses their own purpose-built processor and has so far (touch wood) been much more reliable.

(Allie) #231

Why would you have lost anything? The point of paying by card is to protect you from losses, as you’ve already experienced.

If you don’t trust Monzo to deal with fraud and issue the appropriate chargebacks, you probably shouldn’t use them. I’d suggest reading actual experiences of customers, I think they’re likely to handle this far better than most banks.

If you don’t trust Monzo not to go out of business, you don’t have to - you only have to trust the British government as they insure up to £85k.

  1. That’s their loss if they don’t.
  2. Their loss but I hope to G-d they don’t start calling, that ruins it if you’re abroad. Push notifications. Internet is more reliable than calling.
  3. Depends on your personal ethics. I really like a lot of what Monzo is doing and it’s great for trans people (no titles, preferred names).
  4. There’s a phone number for card emergencies.
  1. That was the prepaid system.
  2. It’s good advice. You should always have multiple payment options. I generally go with a rule of threes:
    a. Three different banking providers (not just branded banks, but back end systems).
    b. Three different networks (Visa/MasterCard/American Express/UnionPay/JCB/Discover-Diners Club/etc).
    c. Three different places (wallet, bag itself, somewhere else reachable if both those get stolen).

P.S. To show an example of how I achieve that I usually carry: Monzo, Barclaycard Credit, Lloyds Debit, Halifax Credit, Metro Bank Debit, MBNA Credit, American Express Credit. These are mostly in my wallet but one is hidden in my bag separately. I also have access to them on my phone. All three criteria have at least three :slight_smile:


I know what they £24 is, didn’t mean they’re gonna charge that.
I consider this a way of forcing, not encouraging