Monzo (and fintech) in 2021: Predictions

Having taken a look at last year’s Monzo in 2020 post, and having given it a bit of end-of-year review, I thought it might be fun to offer our own predictions for 2021.

Rules for the topic: this should be about what we think will happen, not what we want to happen.

Here are my Monzo predictions :monzo:

:one: Monzo will bring new features to Plus and Premium accounts. By the end of the year we’ll see discounts for eating out (via a Taste card or similar), virtual cards connected to pots, credit card pots (that’ll stash away the amount you’ll spend on credit cards ready for your bill) and a (nearly) native experience for connected accounts. A web interface will launch for paid customers.

:two: Monzo will stop issuing physical cards by default - to both save money and help the environment.

:three: The core app will remain practically unchanged. The payments tab will receive improvements, but won’t be perfect. There will be talk about revisiting budgeting, but it’ll be more or less the same at the year’s end. Search will remain basic and the iOS / Android disparity will remain. There will be no in-depth analytics.

:four: Losses will mount this year. The forum and the broadsheets will overreact. There will be talk of acquisition but Monzo will remain independent with a path to profitability.

:five: This Community will wither but still be around. I’ll reply to this next year and say that I was horribly over-optimistic in these predictions but failed to predict a couple of significant events. No one new from the C-suite will have posted on here. There may be a virtual Investival but further community events will be unlikely.

:six: International payments will formally launch, but only for business customers.

:seven: Monzo will still be working on a US launch, but it won’t be a priority and US staff numbers may decrease. It will still be in beta by the end of the year and there will be speculation about its future.

:eight: Monzo will announce it is overhauling lending. Nothing tangible will change for users, though.

And as a wild card…

:nine: There will be a limited beta of a Monzo credit card. Starling will launch their full credit card product the day before, following press rumours.

Elsewhere in consumer fintech:

  • Starling will acquire a lender. It’ll reach profitability but the app will be largely unchanged. Innovation will continue to be financial products, rather than user experience.
  • Revolut will impress with its innovation. It’ll match Monzo in terms of features and be ahead in a number of areas. It still won’t be a bank, though.
  • It’ll be sink or swim for Project Imagine. PI1 will struggle to generate revenue. Dozens will pull through and carve out a small niche for wealth management.
  • There will be consolidation in the market. Atom, Tandem, Coconut and Tide will be candidates for merger or acquisition.
  • Someone will realise that providing white-label digital services (including an app) to building societies is a goldmine. ClearBank might look to acquire someone like Project Imagine to that end.
  • We will see some moves towards financial automation in the UK (money moving between accounts on the basis of rules).

What does everyone else think?

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I think 1 and 2 are unlikely, and 9 just as unlikely :joy:

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I’ll bet Starling actually launches its credit card this year.

I think the whole of 2021 will come and go without Monzo doing anything interesting unfortunately.

If they can get external accounts into budgeting then they can have my £5 otherwise Plus is still pointless to me.

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I’d like that to happen (I’m keen for a modern credit card, and I’m not sure that JaJa or Tymit really cut it for me) - but it does seem to be having an extraordinarily long gestation period, so I’m not sure.

(Cut to next week where Starling launches its credit card :joy:)

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We might get official IBANs at last? (Coming soon since 2018.)

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:sweat_smile:

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Fancy my chances of one that definitely comes true, so dark mode for the :mondo: app will arrive by Q2

Also there will be an IBAN in the :mondo: app this year

It reveals that I didn’t do a degree in accountancy, but interested in the idea that Starling can make a profit and buy a lender at the same time. The money has to come from somewhere. They’ll probably have to deal with some fallout from CBILS at some point this year where they get bad publicity (briefly) for hounding a business to pay up

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I think 2022 might be a bit difficult for Starling with bad loans and reputational issues, actually. But let’s see - they’re doing well so far!

I predict Monzo hitting 5,000,000 users, and then just about hitting 6,000,000 at the end of this year.

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That’s another one to add to my list for this thread!

Folk will keep praising Starling “for really killing it right now” without me really understanding what they are getting excited about

Also Revolut will throw about a thousand features in app and I will wonder if the music ever stops for them money wise

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Starling have worked harder to challenge bricks and mortar banks on their home turf. By that, I mean you can use Starling to pay in cheques, you can use Post Offices to withdraw cash.

Starling also appear to have put more effort into banking services. Not just cash and cheques, but also online banking, international bank transfers, etc.

Honestly, the only reason I’m with Monzo now is Shared Tabs and inertia. If I were opening a new account today, I would absolutely be going with Starling.

@Peter_G makes an interesting point, however:

It’ll be interesting to see how their covid-19 loans work out for them over the next few months. I’d predict a rough ride.

:point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2:

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Credit cards would absolutely be the best thing Monzo could do, both for them and for customers. That, and this…

…with a decent list of other banks.

Sadly it all seems very quiet at the moment in terms of responses from staff, and I wonder if they can afford to do any further development between now and profitability.

:eyes:

I could say what’s being worked on and what isn’t but that would ruin all the fun and speculation so i’m sure you don’t want me to do that! :wink:

So i’ll just say - We’ll do our best :slight_smile: After a difficult 2020 i’m quite excited for 2021!

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There’s no fun being had here :joy: I wouldn’t want to think you’ve been gagged in the name of our entertainment! :wink:

More seriously, I’m also excited for 2021 - looking forward to seeing what’s in store! :raised_hands:

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The sooner the better!

Not many predictions here. When looking back over the last few years at the speed of updates, unless something drastic has changed internally, I think we’ll be lucky to see anything beyond dark mode and virtual cards connected to pots. I’ve given up on Apple Pay returning to Monzo.me, and I think we’ll see Monzo.me fade out of existence this year, perhaps payment links too, as both seem to be afterthoughts in the recent payee management and P2P transaction data privacy changes. I Hope they surprise me though.

For me this year, Revolut are the ones to watch. Depends how smoothly their process towards becoming a bank goes. But if they can keep pace and get that done this year, I’ll be impressed.

Following the pandemic, Marcus seem to have scaled their U.K. operations back somewhat, so I’m doubtful the current account will arrive this year as it was expected to. An interesting one to keep an eye on nevertheless.

Atom are working on credit cards and current accounts too. I think we’ll see one of them show up this year. With Starling looking to acquire a lender, Atom may make for a good fit. I still believe Atom would be better off combining with another bank that already does the current account stuff. I feel like Monzo need them more than the other guys do, but Atom definitely needs the help of a bank like Starling or Monzo to get things off the ground properly. For a digital only bank, they seem to struggle with doing the digital stuff. Which is surprising, because they’ve built some stellar web UX applications over the years.

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I’m not quite sure what to make of Atom. They don’t seem quite as lost as Tandem (which I think won’t make it to 2022 in its current form), but yet don’t seem sustainable in their current model. Although, having said that, I should probably go and read their annual report. Do you know if they produce anything more than the statutory stuff for Companies House?

I’ve never used Atom, but I thought they were app only - and used a gaming engine which made some of their UX choices, well, a choice?

Did I miss something? Goldman Sachs launching a UK current account at some point?

Again, did I miss this too?

Where does one find all this info? :scream:

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I don’t really know what their current model is… they obtained a lender to go into green loans and have a savings account, but not much is visible on the surface. Tandem was the first fintech I started following but they never really got anywhere with any of their ideas. Which is a shame as I like their design language

Kinda the same here. I heard of Starling before it was Starling, and signed up super early for info, but I think it was Tandem (and their early plans for a current account) that I remember looking at and going “yeah, this’ll be great”. But then they pivoted so many times I got dizzy. A shame really.

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