I work as a freelance photographer. I'm fairly well-respected in my field and have won numerous awards for my work. All my social media are verified and I also have a Wikipedia page, so it's fair to say that is easy for an institution like a Bank to know who I am - what I do; also that this is a trustworthy account of my experiences.
I opened my personal bank account with Monese in 2016. At the time, I was more than satisfied with the overall experience. The bank offered good saving opportunities and excellent services. For three years, everything was positive. At one point, I was even toying with the idea of closing my main account with HSBC and doing all of my banking with Monese, but thankfully I never did.
Fast forward to 2018 when with some colleagues I set up a UK ltd company that provides photography workshops in a number of destinations throughout Europe. For this, of course, we needed a business bank account. It wasn't long before this that I had received an invitation to join Monese Business Banking.
Our business is successful, we're the number one ranked photography workshop provider on TripAdvisor in a number of cities. One of these cities is Venice, a highly competitive market where we have over 800 'excellent' ratings.
Our turnover was in excess of 100,000 Euro in less than one calendar year, and all this went through Monese. Also, all of our five full-time photographers hold personal accounts with Monese. Our credit card payments were processed by Stripe and Mango Pay, and in the five years we used them we never had one single chargeback. Our payments to Monese Bank Account consistently came from such reputable companies as Viator, Expedia, and GetYourGuide.
It was in May 2019, that things started going sour. I received an email from Monese asking me to confirm that I was using the account solely for business. I explained to them that, due to my line of work as a freelance photographer, I would often receive royalties from a number of sources when my images were used in publications etc. They let me know that this was fine as long as I was working as a freelancer.
Compliance Team (Monese)
19 Aug, 12:09 BST
…… In cases, where you are operating as self-employed/freelancer you do not need a business account, that is correct. But all the transactions linked with your company should be done from your business account.
I thought that this was the end of the issues, but it turned out they had only just began.
On October 16th, 2019, I received an email from Monese informing me that my Euro and GBP had been closed with immediate effect. The first reason I was given was that they were enable to gather enough information on the Business and me. WOW after 3 years!!!
Then this changed into …. I was using my personal account for business transfers, which of course wasn't true.
To make things even worse the Monese staff didn't realise that I held a business account with them, and this was only closed ONLY after I told them of its existence. In around two minutes after receiving that email, all of my accounts were blocked. This caused havoc for my business, with both incoming and outgoing payments were being bounced.
I remain adamant that I never used my personal account for business. It would be highly illogical as our business is a limited company that we opened a business account especially for. Even if, on the off chance, I had made such a huge mistake, I would expect better service from a bank that I was a loyal customer of for many years. I had zero opportunity to discuss this issue or rectify it.
Anyway I accepted it and I gave them the Bank Accounts where to transfer the balances held on Monese=
Compliance team (Monese)
16 Oct, 11:23 BST
Hello Marco, We are very sorry for the inconvenience,
Unfortunately we have closed your account due to business transactions. As mentioned in our terms and conditions under section 3.6, a Monese personal account is for personal use only, not for business use.
We will transfer your bank details to our payments team and they will process the payment for you.
Thank you for understanding.
Their decision has distressed all of our employees, and we've requested that funds be transferred to alternative accounts. Over two weeks have passed and we have still not received OUR money from Monese!
After about ONE week I still had not received the money and I enquired with Monese Customer support …only to be told that if I wanted my money I had to supply the Banks details (!!!!)
23 Oct, 10:45 BST
Thank you for contacting Monese.
Please refer to the email you received from our compliance team on the 16th of October.
We are yet to receive your response.
So on the 24th October, I did send, once again, the details and I got a confirmation that mye mail had been received
24 Oct, 08:10 BST
Thank you for your response.
We got all your mails and your account details has been passed to our payments department, you will get a confirmation when it has been made.
Have a great day
As at today, 29th october still no money….. It is in my view unacceptable that a private or a company should be possibly kept without the money for such a long time.
30th October I got a call from a super kind and helpful Support Manager from Monese. He was very apologetic and told me that somewhere along the lines there was a mistake and things took few wrong turns and…. ended up in misery. He understood my strees erc My accounts have since been reopened, new cards will be posted free of charge !
I WAS VERY UPSET AND STRESSED IN THE LAST FEW DAYS BUT HEY ERRORS CAN HAPPEN!! Even more with Fintech ….and super technology. It is always nice when a company of the size of Monese recognise that something went wrong…. but also that this error will help them to understand what and where it happened to avoid the same in the future!