Monzo is a new so-called challenger bank, which is trying to shake up the traditional high street banking model with strident mobile apps and neon cards. While it used to only offer charging cards, Monzo now has a fully-fledged current account that tracks your spending and breaks down how much you spend. It’s a great way to see where your money is going and where you can think about cutting back.
Regulated by the FSCA
It is also backed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCA), which protects up to £85,000 of your money should your bank encounter a problem. This means Monzo can offer customers the reassurance that their finances are safe, regardless of what they have just bought or how much they have spent on the day.
Monzo Bank Operates Online
As one of the new smart banks, Monzo is dispensing with physical branches and instead partnering with its smartphone app, which can be activated via the app on your smartphone or tablet.
It offers a full-fledged mobile current account that gives full access to all Monzo’s services, including credit and debit cards and an online bank account. This means you can discuss questions about your account directly from within the app without the need for a physical branch or even a bank branch.
Monzo’s Banking App Explained
The app’s website, which is currently in beta, describes itself as a “money platform” and will then create a list of financial products and services it believes will interest you. Other features include the ability to analyse your spending across sectors (e.g. when dining with retailers such as Pret a Manger) and create targets to save for specific purposes. This data can then be fed into various accounts, cards, and investments to track your current and future spending, as well as your overall financial situation.
The bank-based app can exclude those who cannot use a smartphone as easily as those who have limited or no access to a computer or mobile phone.
If you’re someone who regularly uses cash or receives cash by cheque, the Monzo experience can be a little frustrating. To add cash to your account, you will need to pay a PS1 fee and find a PayPoint store, while payment by cheque is dependent on the UK postal system.
Monzo Key Features
Monzo offers the option to send and receive payments without giving out your account details, but this won’t be enough without a workaround. Monzo offers a range of options to pay in a salary, set up direct debits, place standing orders, withdraw cash using contactless Mastercard and transfer money.
You can also manage your money instead of just holding it in a bank account or even a third-party account such as Visa or Mastercard.
For example, you can set up a savings pot with Starling Bank called a “vault” where you earn interest on everything. You can build up funds to set savings goals or set up different regular pots to transfer money. Monzo also has a feature that means you can deposit any changes you make to your debit card into a regular pot to round up your spending to the nearest pound.
Why is Monzo Popular?
As an app-based bank, Monzo has been able to research and implement many features that other banks do not, such as mobile app banking.
If you are the kind of person who always has your phone at your side and rarely or never uses cash, Monzo is perfect for you and it specifically targets this type of digitally savvy consumer.
While Monzo is constantly adding new features, the fact that there is currently no traditional savings account and no way to deposit cash can be seen as a possible drawback although many of its target audience are unlikely to see this as a negative as they are the cashless generation.
If you’re frustrated with slow payments or don’t want to put your foot in a branch, Monzo is the bank for you. For those who love it, it may well replace a High Street bank, but for those of us who prefer not to go into bank branches and spend our time queuing, it’s a great alternative to the tradtional banks.