Monzo vs Revolut: The battle for premium subscribers

By Aisling Finn on Monday 26 October 2020

FeaturesDigital Banking

An in-depth comparison of the two most expensive subscriptions from Monzo and Revolut.

Monzo vs Revolut: The battle for premium subscribers
Image source: Monzo Premium

Last week Monzo officially launched its second subscription service, Monzo Premium, just three months after relaunching its first paid-for product, Monzo Plus. 

The firm is not the first fintech brand to release a paid-for banking service that comes with a fancy metal card. Revolut launched its first subscription service all the way back in March 2017 and then subsequently launched Revolut Metal in August 2018. Revolut’s latest numbers encouragingly show that it is starting to help its bottom line

The road to subscription services has not been a smooth one for Monzo, however, the digital bank previously shuttered its ill-fated original attempt at Monzo Plus just five months after launching the product in September 2019.

In mid-July, the world of fintech was rocked when it was revealed that Monzo was going to give its paid-for service another go, (re)launching Monzo Plus on 16 July 2020. 

In its first month, Monzo Plus garnered 50,000 subscribers, nearly all of whom would have been tied into their contracts for the minimum three months, unless they fancied paying the cancellation fee. 

Recently, AltFi reached out to Monzo to ask about Monzo Plus’ subscriber numbers three months down the line, Monzo declined to reveal how many subscribers the service currently had. 

But what makes Monzo Premium special? Will it be able to draw customers away from main rival Revolut?  

Let’s compare the two top premium plans for Monzo and Revolut to see how they stack up. 

Age before beauty? 

First things first, it’s important to note that Revolut’s subscription services have been around for a lot longer than Monzo’s and so have had the chance to evolve with the fintech’s customers. 

The fintech’s subscriptions are also incredibly popular, generating £39.5m in revenue for the digital banking service in 2019 alone.  

That being said, it’s still impressive that Monzo attracted 50,000 subscribers in Monzo Plus’ first month alone and I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how many are drawn to the digital bank’s newest offering. 

Money makes the world go round 

The first point of comparison is price.  

Monzo Premium costs £15 per month, or £180 per year, with a minimum contract of six months—pretty long when it comes to banking subscriptions.  

In comparison, Revolut’s top subscription costs £12.99 per month, which might not seem like a huge difference, but Revolut also offers a discount when you pay upfront. 

So, instead of Revolut Metal costing £155.88 per year, customers can get it for as little as £116, which makes Monzo’s offering seem a lot more costly. 

Take a look at the table below to see what you can get for your money with both subscriptions: 

As you can see, the two plans are similar. 

Both Monzo and Revolut offer attractive interest rates for their top-paying customers, 1.5 per cent AER (or 1.49 per cent Gross) for Monzo Premium, but only on deposits up to £2,000, which includes any money held in savings pots. 

Revolut offers 1.35 per cent AER for its Metal customers but, unlike Monzo, there’s no limit on how much money will earn interest in a Revolut account.  

Also, Revolut, which doesn’t let customers deposit cash unlike Monzo, lets you withdraw up to £800 for free when abroad, compared to Monzo’s £600... however, Monzo customers can make five free cash deposits, a leap up from the one free deposit offered with Monzo Plus. 

The two challengers are also attempting to tempt customers with exclusive perks, both Monzo and Revolut offer discounts at retailers such as food box subscription service HelloFresh. 

Personally, I’ve always found these kinds of discounts pointless, they’ve often restricted to new customers only, and are the same deals you could find with a bit of Googling... but each to their own. 

We can also see from the table that Monzo Premium users can integrate their account with fewer banks that Revolut’s customers, 16 versus 14. 

An important difference here is that Revolut doesn’t make its customers pay for its account aggregation services, all Revolut customers can see their other bank accounts in the Revolut app, whereas Monzo’s users have to, at the very least, subscribe to Monzo Plus to access open banking. 

A spokesperson for Monzo has confirmed that it has integrations with all banks that currently support the Open Banking Standard and has plans to add more to its list of supported institutions soon. 

Similarly, a Revolut spokesperson confirmed that while it currently integrates accounts from 16 other banks, there are nine more banks soon to be added to that list. 

Around the world in travel insurance 

Monzo first revealed its desire to launch travel-friendly products for its customers just two weeks after Monzo Plus officially launched in its annual report 

Now, because so much of Monzo’s new subscription is based around insurance, we decided it was best to break down both insurance offerings to paint a clearer picture. 

If we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic where international travel has been nearly completely halted, I’d say it’d be a great time to launch a travel insurance package, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. 

Luckily for Monzo, it has seen that, and while now is probably not the best time to launch travel insurance, it has included coronavirus coverage, something which Revolut does not cover. 

Despite including coronavirus coverage, Monzo’s insurance does have some Covid-caveats. For instance, while emergency medical coverage is included, if you choose to travel despite knowing that someone you are staying with has coronavirus you won’t be covered by Monzo’s policy. 

Monzo’s travel insurance is underwritten by AXA and Revolut’s by White Horse Insurance. 

Interestingly, Revolut also offers travel insurance to its non-fee-paying customers.  

Standard Revolut customers can pay for travel insurance for as little as £1 per day or pay a flat fee of £30 per year if they want coverage but don’t want to upgrade to Revolut Premium or Metal. 

Revolut also covers twice as many days abroad than Monzo, a whopping 90 days under Revolut Metal compared to just 45 with Monzo Premium.  

So, which plan is better? 

It’s hard to discern which plan is ‘best’ given that Monzo Premium is so new and hasn’t had the chance to evolve like Revolut Metal. 

According to Monzo, it’s Premium customers could save £76 per year on average on insurance alone... but will anyone be planning any big trips in 2021? 

When asked if Revolut could provide an insight on how much its customers could save, a spokesperson told AltFi that because of the large numbers of variations between plans and add-ons, it’s too hard to work out.  

There’s also the question of price, Monzo Premium can also cost up to £64 more per year than Revolut Metal, a pretty big price difference for a very similar product if you ask me. 

And finally, when both packages are aimed at regular travellers it begs the question—are they really worth it when international travel is so restricted at the moment?

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