Getting a Monzo Bank Account as a Recent Immigrant to the UK

(Tristan Thomas) #1


As part of our focus on Financial Inclusion this week, here’s some information about what we’re doing to make sure that recent immigrants are able to get set up with a bank account - which is a huge barrier to accessing other things in society, like renting or getting a phone.


Just wondering, is Monzo still limited to the UK App Store? If so that might be a problem; changing stores is not a trivial task (you’d need a local payment method, but someone looking for Monzo would not yet have any other local card, making it a catch-22).


If I remember correctly I installed the Monzo App whilst I was in the Swiss App store. But maybe someone from Monzo can confirm that it’s available in other stores as well.

(James Nicholson) #4




I can confirm that Monzo is flexible. I used a “Driver Card” (digital tachograph smartcard) instead of a DVLA or DVLNI Driving Licence and it was accepted.


Having gone through the painful process of opening a bank account in the UK as an immigrant I really appreciate the Monzo approach to make the process as simple as possible. I wish Monzo would have been around at that time.

(Alistair) #7

Does it check for GPS location during signup, or could they go through the signup process before leaving their country and have the card delivered just in time for day 1 when they arrive to make life even easier? (e.g. international students)

(Eve) #8

I love this and wish it had been around when I first came to the UK. Even with my university smoothing over part of the process, it took 5 weeks for my account to be opened (something that apparently hasn’t been changed, judging from the massive queue at my student union to pay the first installment of school fees via a foreign bank). I paid £5 every month for this privilege :roll_eyes:. The initial interview was pretty much pointless chatter and recommending services, a video would have sufficed.


judging from the massive queue at my student union to pay the first installment of school fees via a foreign bank

Would it be possible for you to spread the word about :mondo: there?

(Eve) #10

Monzo did do a promo at my uni when it was still in prepaid beta and my friend told me they did the same maybe last year (?) at the Uni of Oxford too. I didn’t think they were doing it so recently since the one in Manchester must have been two years ago or something! I had recommended it to him multiple times but he took his own sweet time thinking about it until he was finally handed a card in person :roll_eyes: he loves it now though

(Jorge) #11

When I came to the UK (July 2015) I had a horrible experience with legacy banks: I had to get a job which I couldn’t land without a bank account, which I couldn’t open without a proof of address, which I couldn’t have without a job.

No bank assistant was able to tell me why their legacy bank started needing a proof of address whereas a couple of weeks earlier they only needed a passport. I thought it was completely unnecessary and it literally felt like institutional xenophobia (the change of policy was introduced 2 weeks before the wave of immigrants like me moved to Scotland trying to get a job in the Fringe Festival) It was also not even intelligent from a business perspective bc I only needed a bank account so that I could pay my wages and incidentally GIVE THEM BUSINESS!

Those weeks were a freaking nightmare, definitely not great for a person with a fairly fragile mental health. I am sooooo glad to see that :monzo: is moving in the right direction! Well done peeps! :+1:


My ex had a similar problem when they came to live and work in London. The only way around it at the time was to convert a secondary account I had into a joint account and then she used that as if it was her own account. Thank goodness Monese and now Monzo are helping new imigrants overcome the bureacratic walls of the big branch banks!

(Jun Siang Cheah) #13

Although, as an international student Monzo probably isn’t going to cut it as your sole account until Monzo supports SEPA/SWIFT, since your funds are likely to come from overseas.

(Eve) #14

True, though perhaps transferwise could be an option :thinking: just waiting for my last transfer in before I switch for good :raised_hands:t3:


Or Azimo?

(Omer Celik) #16

Hey Tristan, I hope you have seen my replies on twitter: (check above). Thanks


Oh, I love that reply “we do accept cheques” :rofl: where does an immigrant get a cheque from? You know that the developed world doesn’t use those anymore, right? :smile: and even if they came from the US: does monzo accept checks?

More seriously: you are making a very valid point. Using transferwise azimo and similar services are your best option for now.


This seems to depend so much on personal judgement. When I came to the UK I had managed to change my correspondence address for my German bank to my UK address.l before I even left Germany. Barclays was entirely happy to accept my German bank statement as proof of address.


Good feature, however… Those who are temporarily in the country will regularly need to deal with the Home Office, as well as visa offices of other countries if they need to apply for visas of other countries from the UK. All of these government agencies require paper-based, bank-stamped or bank-mailed statements to prove their financial status for any visa or immigration applications. To allow them to use Monzo as their primary bank, some form of official statement availability is really essential and currently missing.

(Marcel Ruhf) #20

It is already offered by contacting in-app chat.