Monzo and Sex Work

Back in August, when the news about OnlyFans banning explicit content was going around, I sent a tweet to @monzo, asking them to confirm their position on processing payments that relate to sexually explicit content. And whether that position would be changing in October when (at the time at least) Mastercard were going to be changing their terms.

I never received a reply from @monzo, but this has been a topic that I have returned to in my mind.

Under Monzo’s terms and conditions it does say that some payments will not take place if (and I quote): “we’re not legally allowed to make that transfer”.

I’ve had a quick search around the Community, but couldn’t find a topic that specifically addresses this.

Can someone from Monzo reply to clarify their position on processing payments that relate to sexually explicit content.

Should Mastercard introduce the changes that were talked to earlier this year, will Monzo accept those changes?
Or would Monzo enter into dialogue with Mastercard around their changes in their rules around what payments can be made and taken on their platform?

I would also be interested in what @monzo’s company stance is in relation to sex work - I have seen them being very supportive around sexual/gender identities on their Twitter account - and I am curious if they share that support for the sex work industry.

Thank you for your time :slight_smile:

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We can tag @AlanDoe but I think it would be unlikely that Monzo will offer any particular stance on this. As you say, Monzo is bound by regulations, law and the requirements of partners like MasterCard - these will be driving things here, not Monzo’s corporate view.

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So if you mean a business account for a performer, I have a friend who uses Monzo business for their onlyfans business and it seems fine. Always possible it’s flown under the radar I guess.

If you mean, payments to purchase onlyfans subscriptions, those are fine too. Note, not all onlyfans accounts are sexually explicit anyway, Monzo wouldn’t know precisely what you are buying, and my guess is they don’t give two hoots.

Mastercard’s position honestly just seems weird.

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Using your account as a business account will be an issue, & if you mean purchasing , it sounds like MasterCard go after the merchant accounts themselves and block it, and don’t require banks to police it.

Although I don’t work for monzo or MasterCard…

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Interested to hear if Monzo have a seat at the table where that discussion is held.

I’d put £10 on not

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Of course they don’t!

As for the rest of it, Monzo are not going to reply because it’s such a broad subject.

They obviously will have contacts at Mastercard, but I doubt their voice holds a huge weight considering the size of Mastercard vs Monzo.

Has any other bank had a say? It’s Mastercard’s issue, surely?

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I think the only decisions that Monzo might take are about use of personal vs business accounts for commercial purposes.

I don’t think the nature of the business would necessarily play into that, but I do know that Monzo has some limitations on what sort of business can open an account, so it might end up being a defacto no, rather than one targeted to sex workers, if that makes sense.

The broader issue is associated crime such as money laundering, fraud etc. In other words, your account may trigger a block even if all your transactions are legitimate, just because there’s a higher probability a risk will materialise. It’s a problem for the industry as a whole, not specifically to do with Monzo

No Monzo is a rule taker, not a rule maker. By a very large margin. Also all sex work combined, despite being the oldest profession, does not amount to a significant portion of GDP. Hence on the grand scheme of things it is mistreated a lot.

Anecdotal ofc, but one of my friends works with a legal charity supporting sex workers and they’ve recently been looking into sex workers’ accounts having been closed by Monzo.

So, whether there end up being merits in any potential claim, whether Monzo can just point to MasterCard rules, or whether there were simply other reasons for the account closures, I don’t know. But certainly a disproportionate number of UK sex workers have had their accounts closed for one reason or another.

As others have said though, I don’t think this is an area that we’ll see any public clarification of on the forum.

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I’m curious if these are business accounts? I don’t know anything legal on it, but could it be seen as a business? Could the legalities of it come to play?

That being said, how would Monzo know they were sex workers?

Re the business account point, unsure. But my understanding is that whether they were or not, it was a disproportionate number of whichever account type.

And re Monzo knowing, I suppose the same way places like PayPal do, e.g. if someone is receiving hundreds of pounds from somewhere like OnlyFans and it isn’t their salary for being a web developer.

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