Wise Vs Monzo: Which Is Best In 2024?! [In-Depth & Unbiased]

Bradley Williams
Written By:
Bradley Williams
Last Updated:
January 2, 2024
Here is an in-depth rundown of the differences between Wise & Monzo. Discover which is the best choice for travellers (as well as day-to-day use) and why.
Wise vs Monzo

Planning a trip has to be one of the best things in the world.

Discovering where you’ll stay, what you’ll do, and what delicious foods you’ll try.

However, people often forget about one of the most important factors - the money! 

Nobody likes spending their hard-earned cash, even when it comes to travel. That’s why it’s vital you make the most of your money, and one of the best ways to do this is by having a great travel card. 

There are plenty of them to choose from, so honestly, it can feel a little overwhelming if you’re deciding which one to go for.

That’s where we come in! 

In this guide, we’re going to be looking at the similarities and differences between Monzo and Wise.

We’ve been using both these platforms for several years now, so have got plenty of experience with each one. 

Both of them have a lot to offer, and each has its own benefits.

So let’s take a look at which one is most suited to you…

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Great Features of Wise for Travel

Wise Multi-currency Account for Travel

For this section, I’m just going to be talking about Wise’s free personal plan, as I’ll compare the business plans later on in the article.

Wise is a fantastic option for frequent travelers, as they offer so many handy features. 

Here are some of the benefits of having a Wise account:

  • They offer multi-currency accounts so you can hold money in 50+ currencies
  • Money can be exchanged between currencies for the real exchange rate
  • You can withdraw up to £200 per month for FREE from international ATMs 
  • You can spend a Wise debit card in 175 countries
  • Wise is available in over 60 countries, and your card can be shipped out to you (for a fee, this differs depending on where in the world you are)
  • Great security with two-factor authentication and the ability to freeze your card if it gets lost or stolen
  • Wise offers virtual cards as well as a debit card 
  • You’ll benefit from low transfer fees
  • Wise is great for receiving payments in foreign currencies
  • Although not specifically travel-related, a Wise account is FREE to open, and there are no monthly fees

For more information on this awesome travel card, you can check out our in-depth Wise Review!

Wise Business

Wise Business Plan

Now it’s time to look at the benefits of opening a Wise business account. Unlike personal accounts, these are tailored specifically towards self-employed individuals or digital nomads who work on the go. 

The best part about having a business account with Wise is that they’re FREE to open so you’ll be subject to no monthly charges or hidden fees. However, there are so many other handy features.

So let’s take a look at the benefits of opening a Wise business account! 

Key Features of a Wise Business Account

  • You can earn up to 0.5% cashback with a Wise Business debit card
  • Wise offers batch payments; you can pay up to 1,000 people in just one click
  • Virtual cards can be created to separate expense types
  • Wise Business accounts can be connected with other platforms like Xero
  • Quick payments - 50% of payments are instant or arrive within the hour
  • Money can be moved between currencies in seconds

Great Features of Monzo for Travel

Monzo Personal for Travel

As with Wise, this section is just going to detail Monzo's free personal plans. We’ll take a look at their business plans later on. 

  • You can withdraw between £200-600 per month for FREE from international ATMs (depending on which plan you choose)
  • Monzo offers a fantastic exchange rate, as it’s based on Mastercard rates 
  • You can freeze your card if it gets lost or stolen
  • Monzo offers an overdraft feature, and you won’t be charged if you go into it
  • You can order a replacement card to over 100+ countries (free if you’re in the UK, but you’ll need to pay £30 for international shipment)
  • There’s a bill-splitting feature which is extremely handy if you’re traveling as a group 

Additional Monzo Features 

Here are some of Monzo’s other awesome features:

  • The ability to sync up your salary
  • Saving pots - includes Cash ISAs and easy-access saving accounts
  • Compatible with both Google and Apple Pay
  • You can apply for loans with Monzo
  • Monzo offers clear monthly budgeting 

Monzo Paid Features 

Monzo has two paid plans, and these offer specific features of their own that you can’t access on a free plan.

Here are some of the ‘paid features’: 

  • Virtual cards - handy for online payments if you’re using a Monzo card abroad
  • Credit tracker - this allows you to track and monitor your credit score
  • Included travel insurance
  • Discounted airport lounge access
  • Interest on balance and regular pots - 1.50%/1.49% AER/Gross on up to £2,000

Comparing Monzo Personal Plans

There are three personal accounts available with this platform; Monzo, Monzo Plus, and Monzo Premium.

Monzo Personal Account Plans

To give you more of an understanding, the table below will help you to grasp the key differences.

Monzo Plans Comparison Chart

The below screenshot offers a snapshot of the key differences between just the two paid plans if you aren’t interested in the free option.

Monzo Premium vs Monzo Plus

As you can see, Monzo has a lot to offer when it comes to their personal plans. The paid plans offer the most features by far, as you’ll benefit from higher fee-free atm withdrawals abroad, virtual cards, and interest on your balance and regular saving pots. 

Monzo Premium and Monzo Plus also offer you phone insurance, worldwide family travel insurance, and discounted airport lounge access. 

Don’t get me wrong, the free plan offers all the basic things you’ll need and is still fantastic value. However, there are plenty of reasons why you may want to upgrade! 

Another great thing about Monzo is that they also offer joint accounts, Monzo Flex (which is an alternative to a credit card), and accounts for 16-17-year-olds.

Our Monzo Review goes into all these accounts and their benefits in more depth if you’re interested. 

Monzo Business Accounts

Monzo Business Account

Monzo offers two business plans; Monzo Lite and Monzo Pro. We haven’t used Monzo specifically for business, as we have a fantastic Revolut account that does everything we need.

You can read more in our in-depth Revolut review here.

However, we’ve read some great things about these business accounts, and customers seem to be very happy with them!

Unlike Wise which only offers a free account, Monzo also offers a paid business plan. Let’s take a look at the differences between this and the platform’s free plan, so you know what you’re getting for your money. 

Comparing Monzo Business Accounts 

The table below will give you a quick idea of the key differences between Monzo Lite and Monzo Pro. 

Monzo lite vs Monzo Pro

Of course, the main difference between these two accounts is that one’s free, while you’ll have to pay £5 a month for the other. However, paying this amount is well worth the upgrade in my opinion. 

With Monzo Pro, you’ll have extra features such as virtual cards and tax pots, and multiple users will have access to the account. 

If you’re after a business plan then just make sure you do your research, and then you can decide for yourself. When it comes to money, it’s best not to go solely off someone else's opinion. 

Some of the additional features that Monzo Pro offers include:

  • Invoicing
  • The ability to integrate your account with other platforms - Xero, FreeAgent, or QuickBooks
  • Auto-export transactions - any transactions will be added straight to a Google Sheet so you can keep track of your spending

What are the key differences between Wise and Monzo?

So what are the differences between a Monzo account and a Wise account? To make this section easier to digest, I’m going to split it up into personal plans and business plans.

Then afterward, I’ll take a look at each company in more depth, and what each one has to offer. 

Comparing Wise and Monzo personal plans

Wise Personal vs Monzo Personal

As the table shows, there are plenty of differences between Wise and Monzo. For starters, both platforms offer a free account, but Monzo also has paid plans available. 

One of the best things about Wise is its widespread availability, as you can open an account in 65 countries. With Monzo, you have to be in the United Kingdom or United States so you’re a lot more restricted.

Nevertheless, Monzo allows up to £600 monthly no-fee ATM withdrawals abroad (depending on the plan you choose), while Wise has a limit of £200 which is significantly less. 

In all honesty, there’s a nice cohesion there between the two, especially when it comes to international transfers. However, I’ll talk about this more later! 

Comparing Wise and Monzo business plans

Wise Business vs Monzo Business

First of all, Wise only offers a free business plan, while with Monzo, you’ve got two options. 

Now, there are plenty of similarities when it comes to these two platforms including multi-user access, integrated accounting, and virtual cards. This is rather impressive considering Wise business accounts are FREE to open! 

Wise also offers bulk payments which are extremely handy for business owners, whereas Monzo is yet to introduce this feature. 

However, with Monzo, you will have access to budget and categorized spending and other additional features that Wise doesn’t offer. This includes tax pots, invoicing, and auto-export transactions. 

Both platforms have impressive business plans available, and you’ll want to dive a little deeper into the specific features and services before you make a decision. 

Wise Vs Monzo: A Breakdown of the key differences

Both Monzo and Wise have a variety of fantastic features and services, however, it’s time to compare them and see who comes out on top. 

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most important features when it comes to travel cards! 

1. Withdrawing money from ATMs abroad 

Withdrawing money from ATMs abroad

Arguably one of the most important factors for frequent travelers - withdrawing money from an ATM while abroad! If you’re not careful, you can lose a lot of money by doing this.

Both Wise and Monzo allow you to withdraw up to £200 of no-fee ATM withdrawals, with their free accounts. However, if you opt for a paid plan with Monzo you’ll be able to withdraw up to £600 (depending on which plan you choose). 

This is a much larger amount, although you can just opt for a free account with both, and take advantage of the combined no-free withdrawals.

Anyway, thanks to its high monthly limits, Monzo wins this one hands down!

2. Virtual Cards 

Monzo and Wise Virtual Cards

Both Wise and Monzo offer virtual cards, and these are a vital feature for security purposes. 

This is especially the case if you need to pay for things online such as a visa or tour tickets, as it’s all too easy for your details to be corrupted (unfortunately, fraudsters are very smart these days).

As virtual cards have different details compared to your standard card, they can simply be disposed of afterward. 

For this feature, you’ll need to opt for one of the paid personal plans with Monzo, as they’re not included with the free plan.

As you can use virtual cards with Wise for free, they’re the clear winner for this one.

3. International money transfers

International money transfers

The interesting thing about Monzo is that you can’t receive or send money overseas through the platform. Instead, they have a partnership with Wise that allows you to do international transfers. 

The overseas payment fees are set up by Wise, and you’ll need to research this separately. These fees do change depending on the currency and the amount of money you’re receiving or sending. 

As you can’t receive international transfers to your Monzo account, you’ll need to have a Wise account too. You can then transfer money between the two via a domestic bank transfer.

As Monzo requires Wise for international transfers, Wise wins this one. 

4. Replacing lost cards

Wise vs Monzo Replacing Lost Cards

Both Wise and Monzo allow you to freeze your card if it’s been lost or stolen which is extremely reassuring. Each platform will also send replacements out to you, but the price of this will differ depending on where you are in the world.

With Monzo, if your card has been stolen or you’ve been a victim of fraud then there’s no fee for UK delivery. However, for other reasons, you’ll need to pay £5. Wise charges £2.50 for UK delivery. 

Both Monzo and Wise will also ship the card internationally. With Monzo, this costs £30, whereas, with Wise, it all depends on where you’re shipping it to.

I’m going to say there are no winners for this one, as it’s hard to compare without Wise’s specific prices for international delivery.

5. Transfer fees

Wise vs Monzo Transfer Fees

Both Monzo and Wise are known for their low transfer fees. However, Wise actually put up their fees back in 2022 and this seemed to increase the cost of our conversions.

For that purpose, I’d say Monzo is the clear winner! 

With Monzo, there are no transfer fees for depositing money in a Monzo bank account or any other UK bank account.

However, as I mentioned previously, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t apply to international money transfer services as you’ll also need a Wise account. This is thanks to their partnership, so just keep that in mind. 

6. Locations where you can open an account

Wise Vs Monzo Locations

No matter the features or services offered by a platform, they’re of no use to you, if you can’t open an account in your country of origin. 

You can only open a Monzo card in the United Kingdom and the United States, and that’s relatively restrictive when it comes to travel cards.

Thanks to its widespread availability, Wise is easily the winner!

You can open a Wise card in 65 countries at the minute, which means it’s available to millions of other people compared to Monzo. Just make sure you check it’s available in your location before downloading the app and applying.

Other differences between Wise and Monzo that aren’t travel-related

1. User-friendliness

Wise Vs Monzo UI

This is another key factor to consider when choosing between Monzo and Wise. You want to make sure you opt for a travel card that’s simple to use, and one that allows you to access your account quickly.

We’ve used Monzo and Wise for several years now and in our opinion, both of them are easy to use. 

Monzo and Wise both have a popular app that allows you to access your account right from your mobile phone. However, you can also use the desktop version if you wish.

I’d say there are no clear winners for this one, as both travel apps and desktop versions are very simple to use.

2. Customer Support

Wise Vs Monzo Customer Support

No matter how careful you are with your money, it’s likely you’re going to need customer support at some point. This could simply be due to a technical fault or error, but either way, this is something to think about. 

Wise offers great customer service, as they have an online help center and a support team. This team can be contacted through a variety of platforms including email, Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp.

The best way to contact Monzo is on the phone or through their Monzo app.

Both Monzo and Wise offer 24/7 customer service, however, Monzo offers a live chat service within their mobile app which makes them the winner. 

3. Reputation

Monzo vs Wise Google Play Ratings

Monzo has a rating of 4.1 on the Google Play Store, and 4.9 on the Apple Store. They have thousands of excellent reviews, with people commenting on the wide variety of features, and great customer service.

However, there are some negative reviews regarding technical glitches within the app, and the fact that they’ve brought in limited free card replacements. 

With a rating of 4.8 on Google Play and 4.7 on the Apple Store, Wise has got plenty of amazing reviews too. Some of these include comments about user-friendliness and smooth transfers.

Some of the negative reviews focus on app malfunctions (like Monzo), customer support, and technical issues to do with their account.

There seems to be pros and cons to both, but Wise seems to have the better ratings.

4. Additional Features

Monzo vs Wise Features

In terms of additional features, Monzo has to be the clear winner! 

Although Wise offers a multi-currency account, plenty of banking services, and they’ll save you money on fees, there aren’t too many additional features.

They are starting to roll some out now like assets and saving jars, but Monzo has a lot more to offer in this regard.

For starters, they offer loans, overdrafts, Monzo Flex (which is similar to a credit card), interest on saving pots, and joint accounts. 

There are also plenty of awesome features for travelers if you opt for a paid plan. This includes family travel insurance, discounted airport lounge access, and phone insurance.

Overall Verdict: Wise Vs Monzo - which one is better for travel?

When it comes to using Wise and Monzo abroad, there are endless benefits. From Wise’s multi-currency accounts and widespread availability to Monzo’s additional features, both of these platforms are great options. 

Monzo bank accounts are covered by the FCSC (Financial Services Compensation Scheme), whereas Wise is covered by the FCA (the Financial Conduct Authority) in the UK. So, no matter which one you choose, you know your cash is in good hands. 

A Monzo travel card is suitable for everyday use in the UK and abroad, while Wise can be used in 175 countries so both offer plenty of flexibility. However, the fact that you can hold up to 50 currencies with Wise is a big stand-out feature!

Another thing to consider is international transfers as you’ll require an account with both if you opt for Monzo. With Wise, you also don’t need to pay for virtual accounts as they come included with the free account. Unfortunately, they’re only included in Monzo’s paid plans.

Wise is a fantastic option for sure, but Monzo has so many incredible features that Wise just can’t match. This includes loans, overdrafts, Monzo Flex (a credit card alternative), and joint accounts. 

Not only that, but the paid plans include worldwide family travel insurance and discounted airport lounge access - both extremely handy for frequent travelers! 

Overall, I recommend that you go for one of each as they both have so much to offer but I’ll go into this more now…

Why not go for both Wise and Monzo?

To be honest, it’s not so much which one of these you should go for, but rather, why not just have both?

For starters, you can get a free account with both platforms and each one offers slightly different things. You’ll also get to take advantage of two lots of no-fee ATM withdrawals!

If you’re looking to do international transfers with Monzo then you’ll need an account with Wise anyway, so it makes sense to try them both out.

This way you can see which one works best for you, or simply have an account with both which is what we do!

The Future of Wise and Monzo 

Both of these providers are a great option when it comes to managing your finances. However, what suits one person may not suit another, so it’s important to do your research. 

At the time of writing, Monzo has far more to offer in terms of additional features but this may change in the future. Likewise, they currently rely on Wise for international transfers, and Wise itself offers an incredible multi-currency account. 

If you want my opinion, then I recommend keeping an eye on these companies, as they’re bound to introduce more features in the coming years.

How to sign up for Wise and Monzo

Signing up for both Wise and Monzo is extremely easy. First of all, download the app for each platform:

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll be required to enter some personal details like your name, birthday, email address, and home address.

After entering these details, your account will then need to be verified with a form of ID. This can typically be a passport or driver's license, and with Monzo, you’ll then need to do a selfie video for comparison.

Once that’s sorted, you just need to wait for your card to be sent out to you. If you’re in the UK, this will take a couple of days but allow longer if you’re abroad. 

Remember with Monzo, you’ll need to pick which account you want to go for too. As Wise only offers one type of personal account and it’s free, you won’t need to take any further steps.

Other travel cards to try 

1. Revolut

Revolut Travel Cards

Revolut is a fantastic alternative, and it’s one of our favorite travel cards! 

Not only do they offer one of the best exchange rates around, but you’ll save tons of cash when it comes to transfer fees, foreign currency fees, and sending money abroad.

You’ll benefit from tons of additional features too including cashback, cryptocurrency trading, stock trading, and the ability to ‘split bills’. Better yet, the paid plans include travel insurance, and even FREE airport lounge passes in some cases. 

Not only that but there are a variety of personal and business plans to choose from with Revolut.

For more information, you can check out these two in-depth guides:

2. Starling Bank

Starling Bank Travel Card

Like Monzo, Starling offers fully-regulated bank accounts which are protected by the FSCS. This means Starling can be used as your primary bank account, and they have a super easy application process. 

The highlight of having a Starling bank account is that there’s no cap on FREE ATM monthly withdrawals. Yes, you heard that right, and that’s a huge bonus for us travelers! 

You’ll also have access to 24/7 UK-based customer support. However, if I’m being honest, we’ve never been huge fans of this bank.

Unlike other travel cards such as Wise, Monzo, and Revolut, they don’t seem to offer any other additional features. Not only that but when we looked into them, the exchange rate didn’t seem to be as good.

Wise Vs Monzo? Which one takes the top spot for you…

Choosing the perfect travel card isn’t easy as each one has so much to offer. This is especially the case when it comes to Wise and Monzo! 

Hopefully, this guide has given you an idea of what each platform has to offer. Whether you’re looking to send money abroad or withdraw funds while on holiday, both Wise and Monzo can save you lots of cash.

As I previously mentioned, I honestly believe you’ll benefit from having an account with both. But of course, that decision is entirely up to you! 

Companies are constantly updating their features too, so you might find that these platforms will offer even more services in the months and years to come.

Here are some other guides that you may find helpful:

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Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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