|Headquarters||38 Finsbury Square|
London EC2A 1PX, UK
|Tom Blomfield, CEO|
Gary Hoffman (chief executive), Chairman
Number of employees
Monzo Bank Ltd (//), is a digital, mobile-only bank based in the United Kingdom. Originally operating through a mobile app and a prepaid debit card, in April 2017 their UK banking licence restrictions were lifted, enabling them to offer a current account. Monzo was one of the earliest of a number of new app-based challenger banks in the UK.
It was founded as Mondo in 2015 by Tom Blomfield, Jonas Huckestein, Jason Bates, Paul Rippon and Gary Dolman. The team had met whilst working at Starling Bank. In February 2016, Mondo set the record for "quickest crowd-funding campaign in history" when it raised £1m in 96 seconds via the Crowdcube investment platform.
Two weeks prior to the name change, Monzo was granted a restricted banking licence, by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority and as of April 2017 these restrictions have been lifted. Monzo had a number of prepaid debit cards in operation which it issued to users for testing purposes. These cards were in use until current accounts were made available to all and the prepaid programme was closed on 4 April 2018.
On 16 May 2017, Monzo announced that over £250 million had been spent through its prepaid card, between 200,000 customers.
Monzo is registered at Companies House under the legal name 'Monzo Bank Ltd' and initially traded as Mondo. On 13 June 2016, a company blog post announced that the "Mondo" trademark had been legally challenged by an undisclosed company with a similar name. As a result, a naming suggestion contest was organised and the new name, "Monzo", was announced on 25 August 2016.
In October 2016, Monzo announced an 'interim' funding round valuing the company at £50M and raised £4.8M in the process led by Passion Capital. This round was followed by a second £2.5 million Crowdcube crowd-funding campaign with the total pledged quickly hitting the target amount.
On 17 July 2017, Monzo announced the current account preview and began inviting eligible customers to sign-up for a preview of the full current account. Initially, customers attended events at the company's offices in London but cards have also been sent out via post. In line with the company's general stance on transparency, the Monzo website includes a live counter showing progress on the rollout.
In October 2017, Monzo announced that it would be discontinuing free ATM withdrawals abroad, replacing them with a free monthly withdrawal of up to £200 and a charge of 3% on subsequent withdrawals. This change came into effect on 18 December 2017.
On 7 June 2018 Monzo announced an integration with IFTTT which allowed users to connect their account to smart devices and services. For example, connecting Monzo to Amazon Alexa.
During June 2018, Monzo gained significant public interest after fraud analysts with the bank spotted signs of and publicly announced a Ticketmaster data breach in April 2018, before Ticketmaster had spotted the breach themselves, and two months before Ticketmaster admitted the breach had occurred.
On 25 June 2018, Monzo announced their team up with TransferWise to provide international money transfers from within their Monzo app. Existing TransferWise customer can connect their account to use along Monzo app. It was later announced in November 2018 that interest would be paid on savings (in 'Savings Pots' above £1,000) in collaboration with Investec.
Monzo initially issued (with partner company Wirecard) a variety of alpha, beta and investor cards to its customers who wanted to be early adopters. These were prepaid Mastercards which the user could top-up via bank transfer or via an existing debit card. The balance on the card could then be spent via contactless, chip and pin, magnetic stripe or online. From early on, Monzo has issued cards in a neon "hot coral" colour - initially intended as a temporary measure during prototyping - but later, a deliberate decision arising from the success of the "eye-catching" design.
In December 2017, Monzo issued new Debit Mastercard cards to all its existing and new customers as the bank began rolling out current accounts. Customers signing up for the current account are issued a Debit Mastercard.
Monzo has released mobile apps for both iOS and Android phones. Payments made with the Monzo cards will trigger push notifications in real-time to phones running the apps, where historical transactions can also be viewed. Users can categorise their transactions, freeze the card (if lost), mark company expenses and view an overview of their spending habits.
Where available, the apps will show a map depicting the location at which the transaction took place, along with the company's logo. Transactions will be auto-categorised based on the company involved in the payment, with data accuracy improved via crowd-sourced suggestions.
On 29 September 2016, Monzo made the Android app publicly available for anyone in the UK to use. This was preceded by a private beta with consumers who visited the office in-person to collect a card.
Banks in the UK currently offer customers limited or no programmatic access to their financial data. Whilst the UK Government is looking into legislation to require existing banks to comply and adopt standards for secure and open APIs, Monzo has already released a prototype API based on the OAuth standard within a year of the company's founding.
The company has also hosted four hackathons and previously maintained a "Monzo Developers" Slack channel for developer discussion and support. The API allows developers to view transactions and accounts, receive notifications for events via webhooks and create their own items to appear in the app. The responses are encoded using JSON which allows for data access in any programming language with JSON support.
The company has expressed its intention to do away with a number of banking traditions such as physical branches and chequebooks which it regards as obsolete. Co-founder Tom Blomfield said the bank "will not be right for everyone", and described the company's target demographic as those who value convenience and technical innovation.
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