Monzo Takes Its Act on the Road in Mobile Payments, Mobile Banking

June 17, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

The “challenger bank” is something of a new phenomenon, especially as regards the growing line of mobile-only banks that are offering customers something wholly new and different in the field. In fact, one of the biggest names in the mobile banking field in the UK, Monzo, is setting up a rollout in the United States as its signup level hits a staggering new milestone.

Monzo, an app-only bank, is now seeing an average of a quarter-million signups a month, which is impressive given that the bank recently crossed the two million customer mark. Now, with a substantial base behind it, it’s planning an international expansion into what is still the largest market on Earth—though China’s putting up a serious fight—the US.

This represents the first such expansion for Monzo, and it plans to launch a set of in-person sign-up events built around its “hot coral” debit cards, which have come to be a key way to identify a Monzo customer in recent months. Signup events are slated to focus on the major cities—New York and Los Angeles were both noted, as well as San Francisco—before the floodgates would be opened to purely online applications.

Monzo founder and CEO Tom Blomfield noted “It’s a great way to build an avid, grass roots community. Secondly, and probably more importantly, it’s a way of getting feedback on the product and how people use their money and think about their money. The way we’ve thought about our strategy so far is to pick one market and to really deeply understand the customers and how they think about their money and tailor the product.”

The idea of an online-only bank could have some appeal in the United States. After all, we’ve seen plenty of people make the move to mobile payments-only operations, and generally have a decent run of it. Banks may be a harder proposition to strike, though; we’ve already seen bank customers prefer a branch in case there are problems that arise.

Monzo has a decent chance of making some headway thanks to a device-enamored millennial population, but with competitors already in place and large portions of the market dead-set against a bank with no branches, it may have a tougher time than it sees coming.