When you spend money abroad or online in a foreign currency, banks sometimes add a mark-up to the exchange rate they give you, so even though they might not charge a ‘fee’, you may not be getting the best possible rate.
But when you spend money abroad with Monzo, we use the Mastercard exchange rate with nothing on top. This means you can use Monzo to spend in any currency, without any extra fees or charges from us.
Below are the rates you get when you spend in a foreign currency.
A quick look at how exchange rates work
In Europe, the European Central Bank (ECB) publishes reference exchange rates between currencies based on a daily average of european central banks, but individuals can’t get those rates directly.
When you spend abroad, your bank or credit card issuer will be using a card scheme (the two biggest are Mastercard and Visa), and that scheme can set an exchange rate which could be above the ECB rate.
Your bank or credit card issuer can then either pass on that scheme rate directly to you, or add a mark-up or fees on top to make money.
All banks are now required to show you the ECB rate and any fees or charges they add on top. So you can fairly compare rates between all providers, and see how good the deal you’re getting is. We've chosen to also show you the Mastercard rate, so you can see that we're passing it on directly with nothing added.