Using Monzo Abroad With Phone At Home

(Mark Diddams) #1


Please can someone tell me if it’s possible to use monzo abroad without taking your phone? I’m planning a trip to south america and I don’t want to take my phone with me due to roaming charges and other possible issues like breaking it, losing it etc.

If someone could confirm my card will not be blocked because i’m using the card in one country and my phone is in another I would really appreciate that information.


(Marcel W.) #2

I think it should work. Maybe good to turn off locations on your phone, not sure how monzo is using your phone’s location to prevent fraud exactly.

(Marta) #3

What @marcel_w said, although I’d ask Support to explain location thing, I’m not sure what impact it exactly has. :slight_smile:

If you are going to country where magstripe payments are still used, you might want to ask support to enable your magstripe for longer time period (usually it’s done in-app and for 24h ahead, so without phone - you need to resolve it before you go).

And definitely take backup card. :slight_smile:

(Herp Derp) #4

As fair as I was aware (I may be wrong) If the physical card was used in France for instance yet your phone was in the UK it would get blocked.

Not sure if this feature is now or being lined up to be added but I did see something like this being mentioned before

(Bob) #5

@MarkDiddams: Could you perhaps get hold of a cheap, older smartphone for your trip? You could install the app, along with any messaging apps you might use to keep in touch with friends and family back home. At least this way you could manage your account easily, use location based security and activate magstripe for older ATMs.

You could use a cheap local SIM card for data or just rely on wifi if not too far off the beaten track.


I can’t imagine travelling without my smartphone!


America, the land of free wifi. Not too sure exactly where you are going but there are loads of places to get wifi to avoid roaming charges.

As others have suggested, maybe a cheap smartphone that the app will work on could be the way to go though.

(Graham - Mental health professional) #8

Good compromise, Bob.

(Nathan Voller) #9

A response from :monzo: regarding location-based security:

The last known location of your phone is just one of the signals that we use to detect fraud so please don’t worry about us blocking your card if you don’t have data access. In the absence of data access we can also be a little bit more intelligent about how we use your phone’s last known location. Obviously, if we can tell that your phone was last seen in London 2 minutes ago and we see your card is being used in a bar in Ibiza then there’s a high probability that something is awry. Conversely if we last saw your phone 10 hours ago near Heathrow airport and now we see a transaction in Ibiza then perhaps you’re on holiday. That’s just a simple example but hopefully it illustrates the point.

If you leave your phone at home with it switched off (so its not acquiring a location or sending data) it sounds like the Monzo fraud system is intelligent enough to figure this out.

You can also turn off ‘location-based security’ in the app, via settings just to be safe. Perhaps this setting is designed for users like yourself who aren’t always carrying their phone with them.

Theres certainly a lot of confusion around the location-based security system and exactly how its implemented, so as others have suggested its probably best to speak to customer support :smile:

(Mark Diddams) #10

Thanks for all the help guys. nathanvoller was correct and I confirmed this feature with Monzo today. So I should be safe. Looking forward to when they become a bank.

Keeping prepaid card for those who want both
(Bob) #11

I dunno about being safe. If your card gets cloned the only way you’ll find out is when you’ve nothing left in your account.

( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #12

yes I agree part of the security of Monzo is the instant (with t’internet connection :slight_smile: ) notification of spend - if you decide not to take your phone on holiday doesnt that somewhat negate that part of the security feature ?

(Bob) #13

Being unable to activate magstripe could also become and issue with some South American ATMs.

This worries me even more. If Monzo Support can enable magstripe for the duration of the holiday, cloning could become an even bigger issue. Couple this with being unable to freeze the card in the event of card fraud/loss… :fearful:

(Marta) #14

I see what you mean, but I think that’s a bit too much! :wink:

Some countries need magstripe enabled.
Not all users will have internet connection (and/or phone) while travelling.
Only way to make purchases then is having magstripe enabled for longer time periods.

Monzo is already way better than most, because you can disable magstripe when it’s definitely not needed. But when it’s needed, there’s no workaround, it has to be enabled. Regardless if user doesn’t have phone/internet or just internet, outcome will be the same - delayed notifications.

(Bob) #15

I honestly don’t think I’m overeacting… the potential is there to make a right mess of a holiday for the sake of very little outlay.

Given the option of forgoing features such as location based security, ability to freeze card, ability to enable/disable magstripe at will, instant transaction notifications… against using a cheap/old/second-hand/borrowed/found in back of draw smartphone with local data SIM and keeping those features, I think I’d choose the latter.

There are very few places in this world where I’d find myself without data/wifi at least once every 24 hours, and if I were in such a place it’s likely that I’d find little use for my card anyway. For my own piece of mind I would want to be able to keep a regular eye on my account and Monzo offers me the most convenient way to do that.

I’m not suggesting that what’s good for me is right for everyone, rather pointing out some of the obvious things that should be considered when travelling abroad without the app at hand.

(Marta) #16

I’m not saying that I want to remove phone from my life on holidays. It’s definitely safer, more convenient and so on.

But for users who WOULD like to get rid of phone/internet for holidays, it doesn’t mean lesser security at all. There’s no real difference between:

  • Taking barclays card and leaving phone at home. Magstripe is enabled anyway all the time. No notifications.
  • Taking monzo card and leaving phone at home. Magstripe can be enabled for 2 weeks. No notifications.

It should be user’s choice to resign from some security, because banking product shouldn’t require your phone at all times in order to ‘work’.


Except that your Barclay card will have more get go to recover any funds as it’s not your money. Not saying Monzo won’t get it back, but still.

(Bob) #18

I don’t disagree with you. The OP suggested that he “should be safe” by not exploiting the extra ‘security’ layers we get from using Monzo. You are right in saying that it’s no different from using a legacy bank card.

What happens if a legacy bank card gets cloned whilst you’re half way round the world? I imagine that would be inconvenient to say the least, and you’re unlikely to find out before you suffer a serious loss. At least with Monzo there is a much lower chance of having your magstripe skimmed and you should be able to notice fraudulent use sooner with instant notifications.

Having only just recently got used to that level of security I’m reluctant to accept anything less now, but hey, it’s just my opinion and I’m only pointing out the negatives of not having your phone with you whilst travelling abroad. In the end it’s up to the user to weigh up the pros and cons, but having all the info available to make an informed choice is not a bad thing.