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20 Oct 2020

Monzo launches Premium packaged account - is it worth the £15 monthly fee?

Perks include 1.5% AER interest and worldwide travel insurance

Monzo has announced the launch of Monzo Premium, a new packaged bank account that comes with a host of additional services, complete with a weighty white metal card.

The catch? It costs £15 a month and you have to sign up for a minimum of six months.

The new deal comes just over three months after the launch of Monzo Plus, which costs £5 a month and purportedly had 50,000 people sign up in the first four weeks.

Here, Which? explains what Monzo Premium offers and how much you'd need to use it to make up for the £180 a year price tag.

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What does Monzo Premium offer?

There's a fairly lengthy list of offers and features that come with Monzo Premium, which currently costs £15 a month.

If you decide to sign up, you'll have to do so for a minimum of six months, so it's worth making sure you're going to get £90 worth of use out of the card before you jump in.

We've set out the main features of the account below.

Worldwide travel insurance

AXA provides travel insurance for Monzo Premium. The provider got an overall customer score of 72% when Which? researched the best and worst travel insurance - for context, the best score was 83%.

The policy offers worldwide family and partner travel insurance, covering winter sports including skiing and snowboarding, with an excess of £50. You're covered for up to £10m in medical bills, lost valuables up to £750, cancellation up to £5,000 and payouts of up to £300 for a four-hour baggage delay which goes up to £700 for a 48-hour delay. It also covers trips in the UK.

Crucially, the policy has been updated for coronavirus cover. This includes cancellations if you or a family member get coronavirus or another infectious disease, if you or someone on the policy has been told to self-isolate by the UK government, a family member you were due to stay with has to self-isolate and you have nowhere else to stay or if the place you're travelling to comes under a number of travel restrictions.

You're also covered if your trip is cut short due to certain coronavirus-related situations and if you become ill with the virus while you're away.

Mobile phone insurance

Monzo Premium's mobile phone insurance is provided by Assurant, which covers loss and theft, and accidental damage including cracked screens. Phones are covered up to £2,000, with up to £300 on accessories, and an excess of £75 per claim.

1.5% AER interest on your balance

At the time of writing, the only other way to get 1.5% AER is to lock up your savings in a five-year fixed-term account. However, this interest is only paid on the first £2,000 - meaning over the course of a year you could earn up to £30.

White metal card

Metal cards have become increasingly sought after in recent years, and this is Monzo's first foray into that space. The Monzo Premium white metal card is made from a 16g single sheet of steel, so it's a pretty weighty addition to your wallet.

If you're someone who's forever losing your bank card, you might want to think hard about this one - there's a £50 replacement card fee (unless it's stolen, expired or had the details used for fraudulent activity etc).

Other Monzo Premium features

Several features of Monzo Premium are already available with Monzo Plus, which you can get for £5 a month. We've set these out how these compare below.

Fee-free cash withdrawals abroad

Those with a standard Monzo account can withdraw up to £200 abroad every 30 days before a 3% charge kicks in. If you have Monzo Premium, this allowance rockets up to £600 every 30 days - that's £200 more than with Monzo Plus, which has a £400 fee-free limit.

Virtual cards

As with Monzo Plus, when you receive a Monzo Premium card you'll also have the option to set up five additional 'virtual cards' to use online. Each has its own unique details, so if your physical card is lost or stolen you won't have to worry about changing the details for subscriptions.

Linked accounts from other banks

The open banking technology already enjoyed by Monzo Plus users is also a feature with Monzo Premium - you can see all of your credit card and debit card transactions from most other providers in one place, and it now includes Amex.

Granular budgeting information

To get a more detailed look at where your money is going, Monzo Premium allows you to set up your own spending categories, split your spending within each transaction - for instance, to reflect buying groceries and gifts in the same shop - and the option to export spending data to Google Sheets. Monzo Plus offers the same service.

Monthly credit score updates

TransUnion will give you an update every month so you can see how your credit score is doing. This service is also available with Monzo Plus.

Discounts on spending

As with Monzo Plus, you can get 15% off Patch Plants when you spend £50 and 25% of a FiiT home membership.

In addition, Monzo Premium offers discounted access to LoungeKey, which is worth an average of £91. Showing your card at 1,100 airport lounges around the world will allow discounted access for you and anyone you're travelling with.

How does Monzo Premium compare?

Due to the range of features it offers, Monzo Premium has similarities with several kinds of bank accounts - so we've compared it with a couple of types.

Compared with packaged bank accounts

We've previously identified Nationwide's Flexplus as the best packaged bank account.

This costs £156 a year, so it's £24 cheaper than Monzo Premium, and comes with travel insurance, mobile phone cover and car breakdown cover - that last one is a service Monzo Premium doesn't have.

Monzo's travel insurance matches Nationwide's in terms of offering family worldwide cover that includes winter sports. The policies are also matched on excess, cancellation cover and medical cover.

But there are a few instances where Monzo Premium's cover inches ahead; it covers trips of up to 45 days compared with Nationwide's 31 days, pays up to £250 more for valuables, covers £30,000 for accidents compared with £25,000 and it's baggage delay cover is much more generous.

Compared with high-interest current accounts

The 1.5% AER Monzo Premium pays is among one of the highest rates for high-interest current accounts - but it can be beaten.

The Virgin Money Current Account currently pays 2.02% AER, it's free and there are no debit card fees abroad. However, this rate is only paid on the first £1,000 - meaning you could only stand to earn up to £20 over a year.

Nationwide's FlexDirect account pays 2% AER and it doesn't have a monthly fee, either. However, there are other restrictions. The interest rate is only paid for the first year, after which point it falls to just 0.25% AER. It's also only paid on the first £1,500 - meaning the most you can make is £30 in a year. And it also requires at least £1,000 to be paid into the account each month; there's no minimum funding requirement with Monzo Premium.

Should I get Monzo Premium?

The main thing you'll need to think about before signing up for Monzo Premium is whether you'll get enough value out of the account to warrant the monthly fee.

While you could get back up to £30 from the interest it pays, that doesn't come anywhere near the £180 it costs per year.

Instead, you'll have to consider the value you'll get from its insurance products, its discounts and savings you'll make on foreign ATM withdrawals.