Internet/Data Usage of Monzo App (Android)


#1

Hello forum! This is my first post, and I’m still in the waiting queue for the current account, but I’m interested in a particular usage condition for Monzo.

Obviously when one is out and about spending money with the Monzo (or any) debit card, it’s unlikely to have a WiFi connection on the mobile phone.

As the instant notifications feature of the Monzo app relies on an Internet connection, it’s assumed that one will be using Mobile Data (e.g. 4G LTE).

In my particular situation, I never use mobile data. I’m on a Pay-as-you-go plan which charges 1p per 100 KB (each 1p charge will run out at the end of the day, in my experiments).

So I wonder, how much data usage can we expect Monzo to use for just listening for notifications? Ideally 100KB per day would be more than enough to just push down text, but given overheads with encryption etc it’s probably more.

On the other hand, I notice there’s a really nice API so I might wire up my own solution.


(Andre Borie) #2

Notifications use the Google push notification service so there’s some overhead to be expected, plus the app itself has analytics and error reporting.

Which provider are you with? Your data rates seem quite expensive.


#3

I’m with Tesco mobile on a PAYG plan. They do offer better rates but these come at e.g. £5/month and there’s just no point for someone who doesn’t really care enough about mobile data.


#4

I just checked and on my phone, it has used around 37MB in background and foreground data in the last 4 months.


#5

Another thing that occurred to me: do the PUSH notifications themselves contain sensitive data that might be read by e.g. Google or is it just a notification that causes the app to contact Monzo servers for the actual update?


(Andre Borie) #6

Take a look at http://aa.net.uk/telecoms-sip2sim.html - they do SIMs at ~2£/month + 2p per voice minute, text & data which would work out cheaper than what you’re currently on. 10p/MB is nuts especially for Tesco mobile.

Push notifications would contain the text as-is so Google could read it, but I mean they’ve already got root access to your phone if they wanted to so push notifications would be the least of my worries.


#7

Google doesn’t (or shouldn’t) have root access to my phone, that’s an access I reserve for myself. :slight_smile:

Edit: Thanks for the recommendation, though I’m thinking I might check out Three as I’ve heard they do 1p/MB.


(Andre Borie) #8

The keyword is shouldn’t, but they made the software running on your phone and can push updates to it, so nothing prevents them from including an SSH server and their key in the next update, or something even more sneaky. :wink:


#9

Ah, I should explain I don’t run default software on my phone, and I also have a firewall which only allows whitelisted applications to access the Internet.


(Andre Borie) #10

Fair enough, so I assume you’re not just installing whatever updates you get like the Google Play Services and such (because that’s the most likely place they’d put a backdoor if they wanted to)?


#11

I don’t have Google Play Services at the moment, though I’m aware Monzo supposedly has a dependency on it, so I intend to first try microG if running without Play Svcs is a no-go.


(Andre Borie) #12

Three pay&go is definitely good, I would recommend it. Just stay away from the pay monthly plans, they actually screw you over on international call rates. You get pretty much wholesale rates on pay & go so I would expect that on a pay monthly they’d show a bit of respect and give you the same rates or lower, but no, the pay monthly international rates are 10x the pay&go rates. :fearful:


#13

Cheers, thanks for the advice regarding that. :smiley:


(Andre Borie) #14

So if you’re not using Google Play services I’m not sure you can even get push notifications for Monzo; you might need to build your own solution using web hooks and e-mail (TLS-encrypted IMAP should be fine and you can host your own server).

Oh and also, if you do go for Three, use the 3internet APN instead of the default one which leaks your phone number if you request a specific URL (can be used by evil apps to track you).


#15

Yes, I noticed the web hooks feature which I think should be verrry nice. :grin:

If Monzo app works without Play Services then I definitely think I shall try and run without it, indeed using properly-encrypted transport.

Interesting about the 3internet APN, thanks for letting me know!


(Patrick) #16

Mine uses about 9MB a month on average. 2 - 3MB in the background, which I imagine is what you’re talking about.

Not sure what it’s doing, I guess the overall figure is mostly the maps when I look at the transaction information screens.

I can’t imagine the logos would be more than a few K each?

It doesn’t matter to me as I have unlimited data. It’s more than I thought it wound be though.


#17

Cheers for chiming in with your numbers, that seems fairly reasonable actually!


(Hugh Wells) #18

Hmm, will check - don’t think so, I’m afraid. Google Play Services provides a lot more APIs than just those for push notifications.


(Alex Barrett) #19

Just checked and my app data usage over the past month has been a total 1.46MB

Absolutely tiny considering I do use it quite regularly (It’s my main account) and make all my card purchases on it.


(Daniel White) #20

Not sure if it’s just iOS in general or because the iOS has more features but I’ve only had this iPhone X since 17th December and it’s already used a lot more than other people have shown:

I’d say my usage is fairly small, it’s not my main account yet, I haven’t uploaded any reciepts on iOS yet that I can remember and mainly use the app for Monzo.me as well as usual balance checking.