Marta shared the below, really insightful explanation of how Monzo is different from the banks in Poland yesterday which made me wonder how Monzo compares with the other European banks.
How/Will Monzo convince the older generation to switch?
I’ll sort out some more valuable data from banks to have solid facts with numbers ;). But in short:
- fees and banking costs in Poland are crazy
- technology wise it seems more advanced than UK (one-time passwords via text seems like biggest security improvement comparing to UK and also biggest gap for me, I really miss it.)
When I visited my homeland recently, I was surprised to learn that something called ‘BLIK’ is really pushed in ads. It’s somewhat like apple pay/android pay. Multiple Polish banks released integration with ‘BLIK’. You generate a code on your phone, you enter it at the terminal in the shop or ATM (no NFC involved, as far as I’m aware). And done, payment is taken, or money is dispensed. I haven’t actually seen it in action, that’s info from tv advertisements. I have no market stats how popular is BLIK, but my mom had heard about it, so it’s not obscure. Seems very easy to use and if it continues to trend like I think it might, Monzo wouldn’t seem to be as easy as BLIK is.
Monzo could integrate with BLIK, just as other Polish banks did though. If many Polish customers enjoy using BLIK with their bank, then having BLIK with Monzo only makes it more familiar and less hassle to switch (customer wouldn’t need to give up BLIK when changing bank).
The main difference to me is that in the UK people think they are getting free banking without realizing it is being subsidized as a loss leader by banks hoping to sell you other more profitable products.
Some banks in EU charge a tiny amount for use of internet banking, a tiny amount for using cards in other banks ATMs, etc so while these sums add up you at least know what you are paying for rather than pay some £5 a month fee and not really know what justifies it.
Even when EU banks enter the UK they often retain some of their previous attitudes and approaches and don’t always morph into following the UK habits. Handelsbanken for example charge 20p for a SEPA payment instead of the £20 or more charged by many of the traditional UK banks.
While their systems may be more modern than most UK banks they can in some countries be a bit bureaucratic and simple things like changing the day of the month you pay a mortgage may require paperwork and agreement and a charge. On that front the UK is normally a bit more relaxed and flexible.
I think it will be hard to generalize about Europe as there will be differences between FSU countries with newer systems and Western European banks with older systems and traditions in place. Plus of course cultural differences regarding customer expectation in different countries or regions.
I look forward to reading customers specific examples, but for me some things stand out like widespread lack of contactless payment in some EU countries.
America is a totally different world with a reluctance to introduce EMV and chip and pin, and both a wider use of cheques but different systems for clearing them too.
I’ve been a user of N26 since they were number 26 and worked through wirecard.
The signup process was delightfully straightforward - surprisingly non-beurocractic for a German company - involved a quick call with their english speaking rep and waving my passport at them so they could see it was real.
The app is adequate - has all that you’d expect from a basic online banking app, categories, transfers, lock card, etc. Annoyingly it insists on a touch ID every time I enter it. Positively, they give you 10 euros for each friend that signs up from your recommendation.
SEPA transfers are free. It used to be that all ATM withdrawals were free but this changed when they became a bank and is by far the biggest negative for me. They then did a ‘revolut’ and introduced a fee paying account with more or less the same features as we all had for free originally. I think this is pretty close to bait and switch and means I no longer trust them. So instead of putting all of my euros with them, I now keep the majority in my other euro account which has been free since I opened it in 2000. If that account would let me have a debit card, I would probably drop n26 for their dishonesty.
The n26 support is poor compared with monzo, over the easter weekend they took 6 days to respond and a transfer that was actioned on the Thursday morning was not actually performed until the following Tuesday. Support finally responded on the Thursday!
Basically, if n26 come to the UK, I don’t think Monzo as is would face much competition in terms of app, support etc, but the ability to have euro and pound accounts on the same app would be very attractive for me.
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