Chris Skinner Blog - Monzo Growing Pains

Spotted a link to this in my Twitter feed today. Thought I saw it here earlier but seems to have disappeared


Just had a read of that. Some interesting commentary there. Quite speculative though from what I see. I do wonder if he’s onto something though with those comparisons to N26.

It would explain why Monzo was among the group of fintechs that had to email me a year or so after I signed up asking for more information that they neglected to collect during the on boarding. Without it, I don’t believe banks are allowed to offer their services to you. At least that’s the explanation I got from Atom when I queried it. So when Monzo and N26 came knocking for the same stuff, I just provided it.


This makes A LOT of sense. And this guy clearly knows what he is talking about.

The route into a full bank account from a pre-paid card, and lack of due diligence in that process, would explain why Monzo in particular has such a high–profile problem.


I believe it’s probably been removed, as the post was quite arsey and argumentative. So wouldn’t surprise me if it’s gone because of that.

At least you’ve posted the article up minus what was on from the last poster :ok_hand:

I didn’t see that bit :slight_smile:

I think you will find there was nothing “arsey and argumentative” about my last post!

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Since when is “arsy” a reason to remove posts?

Plus I had also posted it earlier, without any comment, and it also was removed in minutes.

Might need Specsavers, I’ve just been though :sweat_smile: maybe I need a refund

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It’s more than likely that an overzealous member of cc thought that no one would notice.

I also find it curious (yet again) there is nothing to say it was moved the the “removed posts” sin bin. I don’t want to take this offtopic but this silent deleting stuff looks very shifty

Ha! Whoever flagged this needs to get over themselves


Interesting read and a plausible theory. Though the bit about double Tesco transactions is a bit strange, isn’t that Tesco at fault and not Monzo?

Never had a double transaction from Tesco on my Amex. I haven’t used checkouts much these past months but it’s ok online

I rarely shop at Tesco but never had an issue with double transaction on Monzo.

I think we see few forum posts asking about double transactions on occasions and staff have explained it is the way Tesco process payments. Though I could be misremembering.

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They have, but I’ve not seen it happen on other banks personally. Perhaps Tesco’s system isn’t compatible with Monzo’s

My personal guess (and that’s really all it is) on that Tesco issue is that it’s something where Tesco do things slightly differently from the norm / Mastercard rules. That they do it in such a way that other banks/card providers have found work arounds/bodges to make it work, but monzo have not done so - either deliberately, because they like sticking to rules, or otherwise, due to lack of time or capability (which I find unlikely).

IF that was true, then monzo staff would be correct in saying that its technically Tesco’s fault, but it would also explain why other providers don’t have the same issue.

Isn’t it simply a case of Tesco not completing the original pending authorisation, but putting it through afresh, leading to a seemingly double debit?

The first authorisation would eventually get re-credited to the Monzo balance, but until then it’s unavailable to spend. Most other banks would ‘hide’ this in the ‘Available balance’?


Yep, these are quite common I notice. Monzo usually does hide them too, but from time to time one will slip through the cracks and I’ll get double charged and have to wait several weeks for the initial pending one to reverse.

Amazon is a common culprit in my case.*

*And by common, I mean very rare, but in that rare instance, it’s usually an Amazon transaction

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I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’s wrong. Firstly, I dispute that our KYC was ever lacking due diligence, although I won’t go into the details of how it worked for obvious reasons. But even if that was the case, in June 2017 there were heavier additional measures put in place to comply with EU AML regulation. At that time, the prepaid beta had some 250k accounts. Let’s say that 80% of those people are still Monzo customers today, so 200k people. That’s only 4% of the userbase. When you account for 30 day actives and you remove the people that barely use their accounts and thus don’t even have enough usage for there to be a chance of suspicious behaviour, you’re probably lower than 2%.

And from time I spent working on fincrime-adjacent tasks, I’d have to say there’s absolutely no chance in hell that even 50% of the accounts flagged were people who had been customers in the prepaid era. It was far, far less than that.

It reads like a plausible theory to an outsider. It’s not a plausible theory to me.

I firmly do not believe that Monzo closes or freezes more accounts than any other bank. What I do believe is that, as an app-based bank, these customers are far more social media savvy and far more likely to join such a group or kick up a stink on Twitter, compared to, say, somebody that got their account frozen with Barclays or HSBC.


As always it’s just another puff piece from an individual who can only stab into the dark about what the issues are.

I tend to take all these with a pinch of salt.

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For someone who claims to know the industry and Monzo, he sure does get a lot wrong.


Perhaps you’re in a good position to answer this one, if you’re able to!

About a year after being with Atom, should be sometime in 2017 which lines up with your dates, they sent me an email to ask for my tax residency info, stating that they needed that information in order to provide me with banking services and that they should have collected it during the on boarding but didn’t. Atom were the first bank to have done this, when I probed them on it, they told other banks will have collected that information when I signed up, and that if I didn’t provide them with it, I wouldn’t be able to have any accounts with them.

When Monzo launched their current account, I signed up for it. That was in 2018. They also did not ask for my tax residency during sign up. Sometime after signing up, I don’t recall how long, I received an email from Monzo that was identical to the one I received from Atom. So I didn’t ask any questions, and just gave them what they asked for and carried on as usual.

When N26 launched, the same thing happened there. A few months after launch, same email, so I provided them with the details. They also wanted my national insurance number, but I don’t recall if Atom or Monzo asked for that too.

Given that this appeared to be a regulatory requirement, I presume had I not provided Monzo my tax residency, they wouldnt have been able to offer me a current account and it would have been closed in a similar fashion to what we’ve been seeing? Perhaps that’s played a part in some of these, and lends some credence to Chris Skinner’s theory.