Lydia Solutions ends services in U.K

Lydia App an EU payment services provider is ceasing it’s service for all U.K. customers from October 3. I don’t suspect many people will be too familiar with them here, but the app was slick, and the offering was fairly decent too. The blue card was also nice.

Edit: forgot to attach a screenshot of the email announcing this. Kinda important as there is no public facing announcement anywhere online.

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Interesting. Boon are also closing that day

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Perhaps their U.K. services (and maybe all their services) relied on some boon technology somewhere in the background?

If so, it may make sense for them to ditch any non-EU markets if they now have to support formerly-outsourced technology themselves.

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Going to be down to the end of EU passporting at the end of the year. (I think it’s unlikely at this point the UK and EU can come to a agreement on anything)

Either that or like with N26 they did not understand the UK market with its own payment schemes and being outside the eurozone.

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They were probably somewhat worse than N26 in that regard. That was very much an EU designed and oriented product ported over with zero changes to tailor the product to the U.K. market.

With that said, I quite enjoyed it. The interface was pleasing, and the card was a nice plain shade of blue with no branding or detailing besides a MasterCard logo. It will remain one of my favourites among my collection.

I initially suspected EU passporting to be the reason, but the coincidental boon. closure would suggest some kind of link between the two. Perhaps even a mix of both. With Brexit looming it’s no surprise to see smaller players pull out.

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I would initially have thought this, but shutting on the same day as boon just seems unlikely to be a coincidence. Ultimately, I suspect Brexit is behind a lot of this sort of thing (although not boon as that is shutting everywhere, I think that may be due to more cards gaining Apple Pay support, including Curve who effectively do what boon did only better).

I think they always intended to be a Euro-only product. This approach is analogous to something like bunq, rather than N26 - the failure of N26 was that they did try to tailor their product to the U.K. market, but it was a half-hearted attempt to do so and they didn’t really take the time to fully understand the market really either, which led to their failure and undoing.

However, there is a market out there for British people who, for whatever reason, need to transfer money and conduct some financial business in the Eurozone - Lydia, I felt, was going after this market. They may now have decided that this market is fairly small and difficult to make a profit out of given that Brexit is likely to increase regulatory complexity for them, so it appears that they have opted to refocus on their “core market” of the EU countries themselves, and specifically those that use the Euro as their currency.

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I hadn’t fully read your post before responding, but I totally agree with your analysis too.

It is a shame as there was potential for Lydia to be a kind of “cross border Paym” for Euro transactions. It could have been especially useful to people with friends or relatives living in the EU. Revolut can offer similar functionality, but then everyone has to sign up to a much more fully-featured service more like a full bank account, and this sometimes makes people reluctant when it seems like overkill.

Lydia’s great strength was that it was nice and simple.

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I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

Lydia felt much like an EU version of Cash App, and that’s primarily how I used it. There were some curve like features in there too, though less features were available to us in the U.K. than in the EU offering, including (last I checked) the premium offering.

Their customer base, at least in the U.K., must have been tiny, also. I’ve barely seen anyone discuss them anywhere.

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Exactly this!

The feature set as a whole isn’t unique, but the way in which the Lydia app presented those features (and the use of Euro which would have been a selling point for some) were the differentiating factors.

It seemed to me, too, that the premium offering wasn’t available in the U.K. It was supposed to be free if you were under a certain age (I think it may have been 25?) which I was eligible for, so I tried to sign up to it but it never worked? I always got an error and I assumed this was because it wasn’t actually available here and the upgrade page showing was a bug. Looking at the app now, all references to it seem to have been removed so that would maybe prove us right?

I never managed to get a card from them, I think by the time I signed up the option to get a card had moved behind their premium offering, but it sounds like a nice card.

All their functionality can be replaced, I suppose, with a combination of Curve (as you say, and possibly with Curve Send which I haven’t tried yet?), Revolut and a Starling Euro account, but they are a sad loss nonetheless.

There is only one other person in my contact list who has an account so, as you say, it seems they are tiny!

I wonder if they have widespread uptake in their home market of France?

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Yep, it was never available for us, though it wasn’t clearly stated anywhere in the app, so it looked available but really wasn’t. It’s still free for under 25s too. This must be a common thing in Europe. N26 had something similar for people under 26. N26 liked to use their name in little ways like that which I loved. The U.K. sort code: 04-00-26. Loved it.

I think they flip flopped on this. Initially the card was free, then it became locked behind the premium account, then it became free again, just locking certain card features behind premium, like zero fees. You did have to complete full identification checks to get a card though. This is what it looks like.

Probably can be, but not, I think, in a single app. They had bits and pieces of everyone in there. Transfers like cash app, all your cards unified behind their one card like Curve, virtual cards like Revolut, pots like Monzo, shared sub accounts like N26 You and Metal, and all your accounts in one account like Monzo plus.

Not all of those features were available to us though, and some were behind premium, but certainly in the EU, it took all the good parts of those apps and put them into one singular simple interface.

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Interesting. I believe I just about remember the initial period when it was free, I tried getting one but had trouble with the verification. Then l thought I’d leave it a day and try again, but overnight the update had been released putting the card behind premium. Then I tried upgrading but, of course, couldn’t. I just didn’t notice when it became free again and missed my chance!

It looks like a very nice design, I have to say - clean and stylish.

Yeah, just to add to this - the option for shared sub-accounts is a feature of bunq, but not any other account I can think of (excluding a standard “joint account” style setup). You also have the aggregator apps as competitors to Monzo Plus and Curve’s new loyalty cards feature.

The interface is really beautiful and I think this is the biggest casualty here. When you think about it, if somebody really needs any one of those features, they will probably make the effort to seek out one of the alternatives - and they are there - but often it is the interface and execution of the feature that they will find falls short.

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Ah yes, bunq! Couldn’t remember who it was that offered that exact feature so I went with the next best thing in N26 shared spaces. This is the kind of feature I’d like to see adopted more in the U.K. too. Really useful for stuff like household bills, rent, or family holidays, among other shared expenses where a joint account isn’t really ideal.

Completely agree with everything you say here. The interface is everything for me, to the point I will forego some superior features for a cleaner, simpler, more coherent UI. Lydia was one of the nicer ones out there but with a comprehensive feature set to back it up too. I would have liked to have seen them gain more traction here.

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I am hopeful that the concept of pots/spaces at Monzo and Starling may develop into this. At the moment, paying a bill from a pot is possible. It therefore does not seem like much of a stretch to me for this to be expanded to a “shared pot” which bills could be paid from?

I could see it working similarly to split the bill, where you nominate other Monzo users to be added to the shared pot. The pot is, nominally and for technical engineering purposes, part of the account of the “primary user” who initially created it. But it also shows in the accounts of all the other users. Nominating a bill to be paid from the pot works like normal, but putting money into the pot can be done by any of the users. For it to work really well, a split the bill style feature would help users see how much they had contributed in the last month (say) so users could keep track. I think Starling must be exploring this already as it is similar to the idea of the “connected card” which they have launched for COVID support.

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