Won't be using Monzo abroad again due to ATM charges

Just returned from Thailand where every ATM imposes a 220 BHT (£5) for any withdrawal, no matter how small. The only reason I got the card was on the promise that ATM withdrawals would be charge-free, but it transpires that in fact you will be charged anywhere between 2.5% and 100% on each transaction depending on the amount. You are then coerced to make a single £200 withdrawal per month to minimise the damage.

Which begs the question - what n earth is the point of this card? Locking in pre-loaded currency in an interest-free account that you are then charged to withdraw from. Turns out every town in Thailand has banks and currency exchange offices that were happy to exchange sterling cash at as good a rate as Monzo offers but with no charge for the service.

In future will take enough sterling cash with me to cover costs. In any case, on what planet is £200 realistic amount for a month abroad?

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Monzo don’t charge the ATM fee, that’s the bank that owns the machine. It’s not a currency/travel card. The overseas charges were voted on. And it’s withdrawn in a few weeks anyway if it’s the prepaid you’re using


The ATM charges are not from Monzo. They are likely from the ATM operator.

It’s not a travel card.

Makes sense if you are away for a month.

You might want to look at Transferwise Borderless as a prepaid travel card, if that’s what you need.


Hey @stannoo,

I’m really sorry to read about your experience here :frowning:

As @Rat_au_van mentioned, it sounds like you were using ATMs that charged you to use your card. Some of them charge to convert the currency into Sterling - perhaps you had that option enabled?

In future, to get the best value out of the card it is a good tip to make sure Direct Currency Conversion is turned off, and you’re being charged in the local currency (in this case, BHT).

As you alluded to, we have a £200 free allowance on a 30 day rolling period. We then only charge 3% of the transaction on amounts above that. I believe @simonb recently went on holiday to that States for 6 weeks and only used an ATM once!


It’s not really of interest to me who imposes the charges - Monzo or the banks. The fact is the charges make its use prohibitively expensive.

As for not being a travel card, that is precisely what I understood it was from the 2016/7 marketing, and I’m sure that’s precisely why most users signed up for it.

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Everyone is charged those charges by the ATM operators, regardless of whether they use Monzo or any other card.


No, I wasn’t using the currency conversion - just plain savings withdrawal (I am fairly adept at using various cards abroad to avoid charges).

And it wasn’t just the ATM I used. I spent a considerable chunk of time trying every ATM in my area in Bangkok (around 12 different banks) and they all charge a standard 220 BHT so no avoiding it.

I’m not sure what you were expecting, though. A card that reimburses you for these unavoidable charges?


That’s very interesting :thinking:

I’m afraid I can’t immediately think of a reason, other than the ATMs charge for foreign card withdrawals? Did you try with another card?


To be used as your main bank account (like any other bank) and not be rinsed as a ‘travel card’ as per MSE forums.

Clearly you didn’t read the T&C’s or anything else for that matter as you are not “coerced to make a single £200 withdrawal per month” you simply can withdraw £200 from an ATM before you get charged.


Fair enough. If you can find a card which somehow negates the ATM operator’s charge’s, please let us know. I’d certainly be interested.

I didn’t see that marketing. I signed up for a prepaid card, and that’s what I got.


@stannoo You might like to look at the thread here;


This definitely sounds like a third party misrepresentation of Monzo.

Monzo themselves haven’t really done much in the line of conventional marketing as far as I’m aware and instead very cleverly went for the viral approach via the use of Golden Tickets, which I’m sure you’ve seen as well as social media following.

Technology and Financial blogging sites have been writing up about the card and I know that MSE have defined it as a travel card. Trust the brand and the community when we say it’s really much more than that. It’s primarily designed to be used worldwide including in the UK as a full current account.


Update July 2017 ALL atms in Thailand now charge 250thb service charge (a prob £5.20) for using a foreign card. No exceptions.

So that makes Monzo an extremely poor choice as a travel card. Draw the Monzo max £200 and get hit with 2.6% atm fee or try to minimise the atm fee by drawing more and get whacked with the 3% Monzo fee.

I agree with the OP, when travelling leave your Monzo card at home there are far better options.

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Travel Cards -

if you are going to destinations that function on cash payments there are better cards if you require more than £200 cash - for example Starling don’t charge for ATM FX , if you visit destinations where you can generally use POS purchases Monzo, Starling, Revolut offer virtually the same rates


Just remember that whatever card you use you’ll still get charged by the ATM operator.


Good point. Does Anne know you’re recommending her product :wink:


Im sure she has her spies :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


Other options include WeSwap travel card where you top up the card in advance and can hence lock in an exchange rate


not to keen on "locking in " rates :slight_smile: are they going to be good rates or bad rates in a weeks time , a months time ?