It’s been rather quiet over at Monzo US as of late, but I did happen to notice that the most recent android update for Monzo US says we’ll be receiving personalized names on our cards soon. This update came out this week FYI.
Do bank cards in America not have your name on them by default?!
It’s because the US cards are prepaid I think? Did the UK prepaid cards have names on?
No no. Monzo US stated it says “Monzo Beta” where the name would normally.
The Monzo US cards are surprisingly not pre-paid. It’s a full checking account and can act as a regular debit card.
No. Caused much hilarity when I was at a dinner with four early adopters and they all threw their cards into the centre of the table when time came to pay. Waiter picked them up, put the first one in the machine, and it took a couple of attempts before the right person put their PIN in
It was probably situations like this that gave Monzo the idea for shared tabs!
(Although you could have opened the app to cross-reference the card number).
Edit: Forgot to say, good to see some progress for US customers - hopefully a full debit card is on the way soon.
I’m hoping so too. I think this is the first major development I’ve seen since they mentioned they were applying for a US banking license. Hopefully next up is cheque imaging and possibly the ability to order our own cheques with our Monzo details on; it’s an unfortunate reality but cheques are still very much a thing here.
I understand completely what the context is around cheques in the US, but given how reluctant Monzo have been to support imaging in the U.K. product I wouldn’t hold my breath on this!
They have publicly said in the past that they consider them obsolete and they want to build a product for the future, rather than bother with them, so I expect they will only allow them further on down the line.
However, you at least have the benefit that cheques are not a separate payment scheme as they are here - so it would be easier for them to support. I imagine Sutton already has cheque support too, so this would again cut the amount of work needed on the Monzo end. This might persuade them to think it’s worth it!
I can absolutely get behind their vision of a cheque-less future. I’m just thinking about it in conjunction with the recent moves they’ve made in the UK with regards to fees- they’d have a tougher time getting people to make Monzo their main account here without those features because a lot of small businesses still pay with cheques for cost reasons. For example, I have a small business that I run as a sole trader. Were I to need it, my bank charges $25/month to send up to 25 electronic payments (salary deposits or vendor payments) per month. That same $25 could get me 600 cheques from a third party cheque printing service, which would last years.
I agree. I’m honestly of the opinion that once they offer check imaging, that would be enough for me to go “Full Monzo” and close down my Wells Fargo account.
Cheque books are usually provided free in the U.K., but not as many people use cheques now so you usually have to request one (it’s till free) rather than get it as standard when opening an account.
Then again, electronic payments are also usually free unless you have a business bank account (even then, they are still sometimes free).
Edit: Also, I personally feel that a cashless future would probably be easier than a cheque-less future. I just can’t see them going completely for absolutely ages, if ever!
Yeah, even before electronic payments were commonplace, cheques used to cost money at most traditional banks, and you’d only get maybe the first 50 or so free. You’d turn to third party cheque printing services to get them for cheaper than the bank would provide them for (which never fully made sense to me). The first bank I used that didn’t charge for cheques was Schwab, a brokerage-owned bank. The next one that didn’t charge was Discover.
And I should note that what I mentioned above was specifically for business banking- personal electronic transfers are usually free even at the bigger banks. With some of my other accounts I can send transfers to my own accounts at other banks, or to people whose banks are also in the Zelle network without charge. It’s just to send electronic salary payments and vendor payments from a business bank account that costs that much money.
Interesting information, thanks for posting!
I have to say that, as a British person with loads of accounts here, the one I am a tiny bit jealous of that you can open in the US is the Charles Schwab High Yield Checking - I think that’s the title.
It sounds great to have your ATM fees reimbursed internationally and no fx fees on transactions. No need to bother looking for free ATMs! Plus, a chequebook with free cheques and cheque imaging in the app for deposits. It’s a perfect account in terms of features, although obviously not as slick as Monzo. How is operating it in practice?
I suppose it’s just a loss-leader for them and they offer it to hope you invest in their brokerage platform.
In practice, it’s served me well for the first few years. No account maintenance fee, no international transaction fee, ATM fee reimbursements, full support for cheques, it was as much as I could ask for in a bank account, and served my relatively simple needs for day to day spending through my student years (I was 14 when asked my parents to take me to a Schwab office to sign up right before leaving for China long-term).
I mainly left them for Discover because I had returned to the US for university so didn’t need an international-friendly account as much anymore, Discover offered most of the same but included rewards on purchases (initially 10 cents for every debit card purchase, every cheque written, and every bill payment up to $10 back a month, changed to 1% back on debit card purchases and no more rewards on cheques and bill payments once they left their invitation-only beta period), a “high-interest” savings account, and more importantly, what they call a zero-fee policy- they charge for absolutely nothing except for outgoing wires (I had been stung a couple of times by Schwab’s $25 returned transaction fees for preauthorized debits). Later on, Discover also added Zelle functionality, which Schwab still doesn’t yet have. The trade-off was that they didn’t reimburse international ATM fees, and their debit card doesn’t function at all outside of North America. I still keep my Scwhab card around, although I don’t much use it anymore. For day to day banking these days I mostly use Discover, fiddle around with Monzo and SoFI (some amount of spending and ATM withdrawals on each), and have inactive accounts with Aspiration, N26 (they suspended my account for “verification” and wouldn’t say anything for two and a half months and while I understand that banks sometimes do checks, they shouldn’t tell me to expect an e-mail with more details and a request for documentation in the “next few days” after I first called and then not actually send any such request), Revolut (I found out about the weekend FX markups and said “bother this nonsense”), Robinhood (their current account is about as functional as Monzo’s right now so I don’t really have a reason to use theirs) as well as accounts at Service Credit Union (German IBAN and VPay debit card on a US-based, US dollar current account), a local credit union (to deposit cash through), US Bank (opened it for a switching bribe, too lazy to close the account) and BMO-Harris (to deposit money from Canada).
I want to draw specific attention to Service Credit Union. If Monzo can pull off whatever magic they did to be able to directly tie a German IBAN to a US-based account and offer something similar (UK sort code and account number to directly credit and/or debit a US account and vice-versa, offering the ability to use US routing/account number to directly credit/debit a UK account) that’d be a real advantage for them for people who move across the pond a lot.
Sounds like a good setup!
So is the Discover card Discover Debit (like Visa or Mastercard do debit and credit)?
I didn’t realise they had a debit product, next you will be saying there is a debit Amex (yes, I know they do charge cards!)
You can sometimes use Discover internationally, anywhere Diner’s Club International is accepted, and sometimes I have seen the Discover logo here or in the EU (which is very weird when we don’t have the cards at all). But you are right that those occasions are rare.
I personally have at least one each of Visa and Mastercard credit and debit (with no fees abroad) plus Amex (fees abroad but would use in an emergency). I still want a Maestro or V-Pay card for the EU but not sure of how to get one. I did read that Revolut may offer Maestro in the future, but I think it was speculation. I do have a Euro account with Starling and one based in Ireland, plus TransferWise Borderless and, of course, Revolut too.
Yes. Discover has always had a debit tier available, but it’s niche at best; only a few regional banks in the US offer it aside from Discover themselves.
Prepaid, not true debit, but yes. Serve is their “own-brand” while Bluebird is offered in partnership with Walmart. Of these, Serve is a bit more… predatory, with a monthly fee if you don’t have $500 salary paid in every month, a fee if an ATM decline occurs (incorrect PIN or tried to withdraw more money than you have available), a 2.7% FX fee, and cheques deposited using cheque imaging take 10 days to clear unless you pay a 1% fee. Bluebird charges none of these fees except the “instant clear” cheque imaging fee, with the additional ability to pay in cash at Walmart for free, and offers cheques for a fee ($20 for 40). There’s basically no reason to go with Serve over Bluebird.
And while Discover credit cards do work where Diners Club is accepted, for some reason this was never extended to debit cards, nor were their Asian partnerships (BC Card, JCB, and UnionPay). Debit cards will decline with a generic “transaction not allowed” message, and Discover has confirmed that they imposed this restriction but no front-line representative seems able to offer any explanation.
I didn’t realise this was the case and assumed it would be the same, I’m very sorry for spreading misinformation (unintentionally) and thanks for correcting me!
i have the monzo beta (testflight) ios app, and earlier this week i got a notification on top of my feed telling me that personalized cards are here!
Have you ordered one, then?
If you have, then how is the ordering process and do you have the option for Preferred Name as we do in the U.K.?