Is Monzo banning UK residents who are US citizens from the current account?


Is this a diversion?

Monzo is not discriminating against people because of their nationality or citizenship. They’re choosing to decline business from a group of people for whom the rules / laws make it more difficult to conduct business.

Every business has the right to choose with whom they conduct business. They’ve made a business decision. This could change in the future. As I understand it, the US market is of interest to Monzo.

TL;DR, Monzo is not racist; it chooses with whom it can do business.

(Sarah) #22

I think the distinction in this case would be:

Monzo decides to exclude US citizens from having a current account because of an assumption that it would be too costly or bothersome to comply with FACTA etc. = potential discrimination under the EA 2010

Monzo does the calculations and puts together a report showing that it would at this point be prohibitively expensive to provide US cotizens with a current account = probably not discrimination as above

Don’t forget there are lots of listed buildings, train stations, and other public places that are 100% in no way compliant with the old DDA accessibility rules, and continue to get away with it, because they can show it would be too much money to retrofit them and have an alternative access plan in place (whether paying for transport to/from an accessible station or having someone bring items to the ground floor for someone on request). So exceptions exist and it’s a matter of how they’re addressed and dealt with that makes the difference.

(Please note my main knowledge of direct/indirect discrimination comes from an employment law setting and is a few years old so my mad case law skillz may be rusty)

(Sarah) #24

I’m talking hypothetically, I have no idea what’s happening or what Monzo’s plans are. Just pointing out that the route to a decision is often where a court would determine discrimination might or might not have played a part.


Appreciate where you’re coming from, but legally it is actually permissible to withhold information that you know will be used to discriminate against you illegally. If an anti-homosexual employer fired you because one withheld that they were gay, it would not be considered fraud on the part of the employee, even if explicitly asked in the application. Sexual orientation is a protected characteristic, as is national origin. One is not weighted more than the other.

FYI you’re correct, the term is protected characteristics and they are clearly defined in UK law. My knowledge is there are not many exceptions to these.


That’s what I was trying to convey. Absolutely the whole point of my 1st post in this thread, if you missed it.

However, we got lost a bit in the academic discussion of nationality vs citizenship, and in the question if businesses can in general refuse to be business with you based on your nationality alone (which they can’t, unless there are good reasons).


Quite possibly. :hushed:

Interesting discussion. I think Monzo will need to look at US at some point if it wants to attain a billion customers.

For all our American friends, if I can put it into Americanese, sit tight, Monzo will reach out to you soon.

Don’t you just hate saying reach out :roll_eyes:




Very true, thank you for the clarification. However the example given (religion) is quite unique in law and won’t have an application here of course. The point regarding burden seems very relevant, however burdens from FATCA were agreed to by UK institutions and the UK government itself, and it seems unlikely that the UK’s own rules would exempt institutions from UK discrimination rules. I could understand if this was a unilateral act that the UK government explicitly opposed of course.


Fair enough. But I would still say if a company refuses to do business with me due to my passport without good reason, simply because they don’t like people with my citizenship, then I’d have a good case against them based on the equalities act (I.e. discrimination)


Thanks for this. One thing that’s important to note is that institutions can’t simply choose not to comply with FATCA as the penalties/sanctions will be applied regardless, unless however they have no association with any US institution ever and have no plans of ever doing business there (very difficult in today’s FS climate) so they wouldn’t care. They can attempt to limit exposure, however my argument is that this attempt is illegal according to UK law. But this also doesn’t seem like something Monzo would do, so it would be great to get clarification!

(Sarah) #32

I’m a zen master when it comes to waiting and seeing how my US citizenship is going to make life interesting for me. It’s a regular thing :joy:

I’m just waiting for the perfect confluence of plenty of overtime, both of us in work, and 6 months where the house or cats don’t break something expensive, and I’ll be able to finally get around to UK citizenship. It really does solve a lot of life’s problems!


Good reasons are that they are opening themselves up to the threat of foreign litigation (in the case of FATCA), and fraud and money laundering (certain banks operating in the UK do not accept applications from citizens of certain countries with a high incidence of money laundering and corruption)

(Kevyn) #34

I like how people like to spout one liners from the Equalities Act without really understanding it.

Legally, you can exclude people under the Equalities Act for a proportionate response to achieving a legitimate business aim and there is no alternative course currently available. You would be judged on whether there were a method available to you to not discriminate or that you were trying to solve it. If you failed to follow that route then you could be guilty of discrimination. If there is currently no alternative’s available at this time then it is legal. Simple.


Sounds like the US to me :smiling_imp:


I fully agree with this. But the UK has agreed to work with this ridiculous FATCA scheme, so I don’t see how they can argue that the burden from their own government is enough to violate laws.


that is why NS&I got rid of all their known US citizen customers so they did not have to comply. you only need to comply if you are accepting US citizens as account holders


The US isn’t a country flagged as a money laundering or corruption hot spot (as of yet). So these arguments wouldn’t seem to apply here.


“My basic human rights were violated”

“Yeah but you’re a pain in the arse”

“You’re right. Nevermind”


that still does not matter even if you don’t do business there or have assets they as they can still arrest and detain officers of the company when they enter US territory even if it on holiday not business (though how they would know is an interesting point)


I did not say it was. I gave two reasons when firms can justify their actions but did not say the second reason applied to the US