Monzo vs Starling Currency rates

I’ve been keeping an eye on an interesting issue with foreign currency. When withdrawing currency it takes a day or two for the rate to settle, and your 100€ can change from being £92.20 to £92.31 (completely made up numbers used as an example )

Starling seems to be near enough spot on every time, it will change by a few pence at most. Monzo however, was advertising a penny more; 1.12€ instead of Starling’s 1.11€, suggesting you get a better rate with Monzo but then by the time it settled it would settle at 1.11€ meaning instead of a couple of pence, the rate was often changing by 30 or 40 pence compared to Starling’s single digit change.

Yesterday I did withdrawals from both, both said 1.11€ to £1,


Once I’ve taken the cash out I always move the money out of Monzo back to Starling leaving a zero balance, so if the currency changes against the pound I slip into an unauthorised overdraft for a few hours until I move a few pence back. This morning I woke up to this:

I took considerably more out of the Starling account and yet the currency fluctuation on almost £300 was 9p. With Monzo it was 23p on less than £50. Given they both use the Mastercard rate, I can’t understand why there was such a large difference, and often seems to be?

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The cynic in me says that Monzo will be keeping in your example the .0058 and only giving you the 1.11, while starling will be giving you the full 1.1158. No idea if that makes the 14p difference, can’t be bothered adding it up :joy:

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Considering the Mastercard rate doesn’t change by the second, there is no reason for such a big difference.

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Would be good to get a comparison with Curve too, who use a different (and better) rate that changes hourly.

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Should a rate not be locked in at the point they agree to provide the service?

For me, the rate you get should be the MC rate at the moment the ATM provider (via the bank) decides you’re good for the money and starts dispensing the cash.

After all, isn’t that the point at which you have formed a contract?

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This is an interesting topic I’d like to know more about. Can you please ask Monzo in-app support for an explanation and report back here?

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When I use my Tandem credit card for a foreign online purchase, I get the “goods” (eg. a digital delivery) immediately, and I get a notification of the amount in £ immediately, but it could be days before the transaction goes from ‘pending’ to “real”, and at that point it’s a very different £ figure. I suppose they they do the currency conversion at the time the company really 100% requests the money, and not when you as a customer request and get your goods.

The same could apply to an ATM maybe? It is certainly counter-intuitive if it does, however.

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Given I’m not necessarily the most open minded when it comes to Monzo’s motives at the best of times I thought I’d reserve judgement and see what everyone else thought!, but I had some similar cynical thoughts :see_no_evil::joy:

What I’ll do next time is screenshot the amounts at the time of the transactions as well as the ones after they settle so if I ask I can prove to them the differences.

I did use Curve too but I’ve used my fee free allowance up now I think, so I’d have to wait a couple of weeks until it resets.

Curve’s rate has a bunch of stupid markups thrown in so be careful - why they couldn’t use the MC markup and bill your card with an authorization in the meantime I don’t know

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My understanding is it takes them a day or two (or a lot more if you shop on the weekend) for them process the transaction and during that time the rate can change. They’ve always said the rate you get is the one at the time they process the transaction and the instant in app amount is an indication.

I’ve notitced that sometimes it takes up to 5 days for N26 transactions to “settle”