Inside a Monzo Card

If you shine light through most debit cards you can normally see the loop for the NFC going back to the chip but on Monzo, specifically ICA17704 cards (not sure what this refers to but it’s the more recent, thinner cards not the AllPay cards) things look different:

So it looks like the chip isn’t actually where the chip should be (for some reason it’s below the magstripe?) and where the chip should be is just terminals. There’s also a bunch of wires going through the signature panel (no idea what that’s about).

Does anyone have any thoughts on why the Monzo card is so weird, why the chip is massive (and in the wrong place) compared to any other card that I’ve looked at and why there are wires running through the signature panel?


Interesting! Not knowing anything about this, do you have a pic of a non Monzo card so we can see the differences?


All Monzo (and Mondo) cards have been like this and Starlings is the same, Curve from what I can see is different.

Can’t tell as using iPhone light

There’s a video on YouTube somewhere explaining that the chips inside the Monzo cards are capable of many other things other than contactless payments. I think one example that was used was you can load concert tickets onto them.

Not sure if this is the same across all new cards or is specific to Monzo

Found the video!


I’m sure I read somewhere that the CPU, RAM and storage on a Monzo card were greater than that on a Game Boy. There were a bunch of early ideas about what to do with it, but I’ve not seen anything recently.

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Yeah that’s mentioned in the video above. I guess a lot of it would require merchant involvement?

It would be great to stick loyalty cards, discount cards on it for example.

The chip being outside the contacts is to make the card more flexible I believe, as putting the chip directly under the contacts like on conventional cards would make a thick solid blob that’s prone to cracking (which would kill the card).


I thought it was because the Monzo card supports the mag stripe contactless thing as well

Would do, yes. TfL travelcards would be an awesome place to start.

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Not at all. That’s simply a contactless mode and has nothing to do with the literal, actual magstripe.


Is there a “normal” way of doing it to compare? I have zero idea what goes on inside cards but I’m intrigued here.

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Or any contactless rail and bus tickets for that matter. Scotrail are really pushing their smart card tickets, which also work with other smart cards. Scotrail also support putting the tickets on to the smart card using Android phone with their app.

Hopefully more rail and bus operators will start supporting more cards for storing tickets, and using the phone to put the tickets on to the smart card.

Sadly the Two Together and Family railcards or purchasing multiple tickets together don’t appear to be supported on the smart card.

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