Well hello there team
You haven’t heard from me a while, as I’ve been away! I took advantage of the wonderful benefit Monzo gives to folks who have been here for over four years; a three month sabbatical. I spent the time travelling South America with my partner – we went to Colombia, Ecuador (including the Galápagos Islands), Argentina and Brazil. We had a really amazing time and saw some incredible things!
Any of you been to South America? What are your highlights if you have?
Obviously, whilst out there, I used Monzo. I have a few reflections that I thought might be worth sharing, as a Monzo fan.
I was lucky enough to nab a physical Flex card just a few days before we headed off in early March, and I really liked using it. I used it as a credit card – I used it for hostel and hotel deposits and to rent a couple of cars.
I was glad to have it as a physical card, as not all card machines out there supported contactless just yet (although most did).
It was also really useful for some of the bigger expenses, like the cruise we did in the Galápagos Islands and our flights between countries. For those – rather than paying for them straight away, it allowed us the freedom to pay over time. What was particularly great was that we changed our mind on a few of these – one we decided not to pay over time anymore, and it’s super easy to just pay back in the app.
Whilst we were out there, the team shipped the ability to choose your default payment type on your Flex card. I changed it to “Pay in full” so Flex behaved like a traditional credit card by default, but then it gave me the extra flexibility to go back into the app and change payments after the fact.
In Brazil, it was pix, which from what I could tell was a government/central bank-backed QR payment system. Everyone had it: from street sellers to big department stores. There were different, more fragmented systems in the other countries, but all countries we went to had them and preferred using them.
It made me think about how we might use QR codes more and more, and whether the UK would ever accept them as much as those countries. Monzo customers can already show their Monzo.me QR code to get paid by friends, and Monzo Business customers can do the same to get paid too – can’t wait to see these catch on a little more as people get more and more used to QR codes.
And it worked out pretty well! We liked having a little folder for our travels and keeping track of those travel expenses specifically. By the end of the trip, the total at the bottom was a very scary number! But I was grateful to be able to see it so quickly and at a glance.
I also used Trends to compare how our spending compared to my usual monthly outgoings using the Yearly view, and although we obviously spent more as we were doing more activities than I’d usually do day-to-day at home, it was really surprising to see how much less we spent on food and drink compared to when we go out in London (although, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise, we’re talking about London!)
I really liked seeing my Flex and Current Account balances as soon as I opened my app, and seeing spending from both of those in the main feed. I felt like I could move between Pots and some of my Premium features a lot quicker too, which is the whole point! I felt more organised at a glance and a swipe.
There were a few websites that we booked activities from that didn’t feel super trustworthy, so I appreciated having virtual cards with my Premium account, to create and delete as soon as we’d made the booking
It was great to see so many Hot Coral cards amongst the British travelling crowd we met in hostels and bars
I’m just very grateful to Monzo for giving me the opportunity to go see the world!
Oh, final thing – I’ve got a new job. I’m still at Monzo obviously, but I’m moving from Product Marketing to Brand Marketing. It means I’ll be working on what Monzo means to people and how we can grow awareness and love for Monzo across the UK (and eventually, the world!). So less product updates from me in the future, but hopefully we can still chat about some fun stuff
Because I work here and because I’ve mentioned Flex and Premium I’ve gotta make sure I give you the details!
You have to have a Monzo account and be over 18 years olds to apply for Monzo Flex. Ts&CS apply.
Flex is 0% interest when paying in full on your payment date or in 3 monthly payments. If you want more time, it’s 29% APR representative (variable) for 6 months or 12 monthly payments.
Carefully consider the cost of credit for purchases. Missed payments can negatively impact your credit score and you may lose the interest-free rate on existing plans.
Representative example: 29% APR representative (variable). £1200 credit limit. 29% yearly interest (variable).
Lastly, if you want a Monzo current account you need to be a UK resident. Ts&CS apply. For Monzo Premium you’ll also need to between 18-69 and pay £15/month for a minimum of 6 months. Ts&Cs apply there too.