Monzo (previously Mondo) is a ‘challenger bank’, 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. It is targeted at people who want to get things done in a click and who do not want to visit bank branches.
It was founded as Mondo in 2015 by Tom Blomfield, Jonas Huckestein, Jason Bates, Paul Rippon and Gary Dolman, who met whilst working at another bank. In February 2016, Mondo raised £1m in 96 seconds via the Crowdcube investment platform.
Monzo was granted a limited banking licence, by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority and as of April 2017 these limitations have been lifted.
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 another company with a similar name.
On 17 July 2017, Monzo announced the current account preview.
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.
On 7 June 2018 Monzo announced an integration with IFTTT which allowed users to connect their account to smart devices and services.
During June 2018, Monzo gained notable public interest after fraud analysts with the bank recognised signs of and openly announced a Ticketmaster data breach in April 2018.
On 25 June 2018, Monzo advertised their team up with TransferWise to provide international money transfers from within their Monzo app.
In October 2018, Monzo reached one million customers and was also named the best tech startup to work for by LinkedIn UK.
Monzo announced on 13 June 2019 that it would begin offering services in the United States and will partner with Sutton Bank. The company faces a more difficult regulatory situation in the US than in the UK. One consultant told CNN that “US regulators are not that savvy as far as financial services are concerned. They’ve either been oblivious on regulation, or incredibly strict.”
Monzo started because of a belief that there should be an alternative to the banking of the past.
Investment ethics (current statement):
“We lend out a proportion of money stored in Monzo current accounts (up to 25% of total deposits) in the form of unsecured personal overdrafts and loans.
Money stored in interest-earning Savings Pots is held in an account at another bank, depending on which Savings Pot you opened. We’ll keep you in the loop on any future savings partnerships.
We use some money as collateral for payment schemes. The rest sits in cash and balances at central banks.
In the future, we’re likely to do more personal lending and invest some of the money in high quality liquid assets like UK government bonds”