Have you ever struggled with opening a new Bank Account? Have you ever thought about blocking your card temporary (can’t find it), but because of the hassles, you didn’t? Have you had difficulties reconciling your bank statement? Have you ever wanted to see your expenses by categories like supermarkets, eating out, transport, shopping, etc.? Have you ever been shocked by the high taxes charged on your card when you use it abroad?
These are one of the many questions every banking customer of the traditional banks has. Many of the banks use incredibly old systems you won’t believe. However implementing or changing a system in a bank is an extraordinarily complicated task.
These challenges lead to many inefficiencies and therefore more costs to the customer. The banks need to maintain a lot of staff supporting the old systems as well as running a lot of underutilised bank branches.
We are living in an era where almost everyone has a smartphone and many services can be integrated. However, integration is a remarkably painful task for the banks. Well, there is an incredible opportunity for disrupting the traditional banks with providing fast, reliable, integrated and efficient service to the customers.
There is an amazing startup called Monzo which has the potential to disrupt the banking sector and give the customers the information they need to manage their finances effectively and efficiently.
Disclaimer: I don’t have a card yet and I will make an update after spending some time with it.
It is worth saying that Monzo is still in “Beta” phase and they provide only prepaid cards, but recently they got an “intermediate” banking license in the UK and they are planning to become a fully functional online bank in first half of 2017.
There are several distinctive features of Monzo.
- Automatic Categorising
- Temporarily freezing of the card
- Online Chat Support
- Agile and Scalable IT System
- Free of hidden costs or taxes
- Business Model
- Managing your cash
- Transparent Roadmap
Automatic Categorising – is a feature which automatically recognises the brand/shop name and assigns it to the related category such as shopping, groceries, eating out, transport, etc. I think it is a fantastic feature which can help the customer to understand where their money go.
Budgeting – You can even set targets for your spending and be notified of the progress during the period.
Temporarily freezing the card – it is a feature where you can instantly block or unblock your card directly from your smartphone without the need to call or write to anybody.
Online Chat Support – if you have questions about your transactions you can ask directly in the application in a “Messanger / Viber” style. Personally, I have bad experience talking to robots and appreciate this way of managing customer interaction.
Agile and Scalable IT System – they claim that their system is scalable and it can accommodate a lot more users if it is necessary. In the same time, they are building the system in such a way so it can be easily extended without disrupting the well-established functions.
Free of hidden costs or taxes – there are no charges for using your card in the UK or abroad. If you use it overseas, you receive the standard Master Card exchange rate.
Business Model – Because Monzo doesn’t need running expensive branches or enormous IT department. Therefore they don’t need to squeeze the customer a lot to make the business profitable. One of the ideas for making profits is providing reasonable interest rate Overdrafts.
Managing your cash – Banks are making money out of the cash you hold in them by providing loans, overdrafts, leanings, etc. The traditional banks usually invest 70%+ of your money, but Monzo is stating it will commit only around 10%. This means less risk for your money in addition to the BoE deposit guarantee scheme of 75k GBP.
Transparent Roadmap – You can find their transparent roadmap here. They use the feedback from the customers to prioritise their development. I don’t think there a better way to develop a product when the customers prioritise the development.
As at now, there is a long waiting list for getting the prepaid card, so it is worth signing up as soon as you can. You will probably wait a few weeks before your turn comes. You can do that here. If you want to get your card quicker, you will have to invite three friends bringing you on the top of the list.
I am certain Monzo will bring disruption in the banking industry and the customer will be the biggest winner. I already use innovative fintech services like TransferWise and Revolut and I am eager to start using Monzo.