🇺🇸 Monzo in the USA [Discussion]

(Stephen Douglas) #310

Yup choosing credit as was advised in many previous posts… So circle k appears to be an issue.

Unrelated, but still travel. Monzo froze my card yesterday day 20 I think, and partners. Card. Frozen today (think she was day later using it) - is there an auto freeze after 3 weeks?


Could you unfreeze it from the app? (“Defrost it” sounds odd!)

(Luiza Cruz) #312

Hello people! My question today is slightly different from the topic but I guess I can find some insights here.

I’m moving to the US in a couple of weeks and am currently researching what bank I should use there. I have been in the US a few times in the last 2 years always using Monzo and it’s been great!! But now I’m permanently moving there and will need something from there I suppose. And I’m a little skeptical about their banking system, seems so outdated in comparison. So I wanted to see if anyone has any suggestions of banks I could use. Something simple with good online interface, no fees, not particularly interested in investiments, basically an American Monzo haha

Please let me know if you know anything like that :smiley:

(Richard) #313

Maybe these guys? Can’t comment on them… or alternative… N26 when they arrive.

(Luiza Cruz) #314

Thanks! Will check it. Google also tells me about Moven, and maybe Ally and Chime. Any comments?

(Richard) #315

Nope. Could ask some of my US colleagues… but I suspect they’ll use normal banks.


If you’re not going to need a branch network, I’ve found Alliant credit union to be really good (They are based in Chicago but you can sign up online or by mail anywhere). You have to part of a certain occupation for free membership but its only a one off 10$ donation for membership otherwise. The debit card also has a low forex fee (Just the 1% Visa fee) and they reimburse ATM fees charged at any ATM worldwide. Once you’ve had a regular deposit for 6 months they’ll also generally pre-approve you for their credit card (3% cashback on everything, one of the market leading cards in the US). They also don’t charge to receive wire transfers, which is rare in the US.

I’ve also had a good experience with TDUSA (Toronto Dominion Bank), they are Canadian but also operate as a bank in the US. They aren’t as competitive but I’ve had some really good service with them. They are generally pretty tech savvy and have all the bells and whistles. They can even print you a debit/credit card in branch (if you live near one). Which I find a tad bizarre as in Canada they are a pretty archaic bank!

(Josh Bray) #317

So here’s a question. Free ATMs aren’t really a thing in the US. So which brand of ATMs have you found to be the cheapest to use. I’ve seen some charging me $6 access fee which is stupid.


@Jkb114 McDonalds usually have ones that are around a dollar. Foreign banks are also usually cheaper, if you see a Bank of Montreal (Or BMO Harris, mainly in Florida, Texas and Illinois) or TD (Toronto Dominon) Bank (In NY/New England), they are often only between 1$ and 2$. BMO will also do an over the counter cash advance with any MasterCard for free as well (TD do the same for Visa cards).

If you happen to have a bank account or credit card with Barclays, Bank of America ATMs (as well as Scotiabank ATMs in Canada) are free (you’ll still be charged the forex fee but for lower withdrawal amounts its cheaper).

(Andre Borie) #319

TransferWise Borderless?

(Larissa ) #320

Hi Fran, so you didn’t get extra charge when purchasing using it except from cash withdrawing? That’s good to know.

(Josh Bray) #321

So we found that wells Fargo enabled me to pull out money for nothing.

(Daniel Smith) #323

Hello guys, hope this is in the right place and not to stupid! I am going to New York next week and the signature on the back of my card has smudged and is not readable and the magnetic strip on the back is very faded, I know this are used as payment in the USA, will this be an issue?

(Jack) #324

You can always test the strip on your next purchase in the UK just swipe instead of chip and pin.
I wouldn’t have thought the signature would be an issue. No one ever checks them! Not when I was in New York anyway.

Enjoy your trip :slight_smile:

Worst case you can request a replacement card before you go, should arrive in 2 or 3 days.

(Thomas Perman) #326

I went on a trip to Miami/NYC in first couple of weeks of November. I actually hadn’t signed my card before the trip, but was unable to since the signing area material had worn away. I never had my signature checked against the card, so I don’t think you’ll have an issue.

The only trouble I had using Monzo was with the NYC Subway ticket machines, where the card was declined. I contacted Monzo who said that this was a known issue. Otherwise I was surprised to find that contactless (Google pay works!) and chip&pin is becoming more common than my last trip a couple of years ago.

Have a great trip!

(Jolin) #327

Not sure this is true. If a retailer uses swipe on a card that supports chip and PIN, then the liability for any fraud/chargeback on the transaction shifts to them (instead of the bank/issuer). If I were a retailer, I would definitely not allow someone to swipe if they have a card with a working chip. It would be suspicious and leave me open to losing out.

(Andre Borie) #328

If I were a retailer, I would definitely not allow someone to swipe if they have a card with a working chip.

The service code on the mag stripe of chip-enabled cards would let the terminal know and it will not allow to swipe in those cases anyway.


You can still swipe it, it’ll just say "chip card, insert’, It still means the magnetic stripe is readable. If it wasn’t readable, you’d get a mag stripe error or told to swipe again.

(Daniel Smith) #330

Thank you for the response, glad to know the signature doesn’t matter, going to take my card and take the risk! :grimacing:


Worst case they’ll just ask for ID if it’s not signed.