Monzo incentives and the ethics of bumping the queue


I’ve just signed up and downloaded the app and am really looking forward to being able to use Monzo. And I am genuinely sorry to make my first post here about something negative, but it’ll bother me lots not to say.

Queue bumping. I can completely understand the need and desire to get people to spread the word and giving people an incentive to do so is a good approach. But I am totally ethically opposed to queue-jumping unless it’s according to absolute need. If I’m in A&E with a broken toe and someone comes in after me with a burst appendix, they should absolutely go first because the consequences will be dire for them if not, whereas not so much for me.

But using any sort of capital, financial or social, necessarily means that the system is exclusive. It’s not open to everyone, even if they wanted to take advantage. I’m always happy to tell people about good things I’ve found (and have told people about Monzo) but I’m really awkward about doing referrals and don’t like it when I get what feels to me like spam from other people.

That’s just me and not so bad. But what about people who couldn’t make a referral? Maybe they have an anxiety disorder, or are very introverted or shy, or have problems with social interaction due to autism spectrum disorders? People who are in situations where they are bullied or have had their confidence crushed? People who might really benefit from using Monzo to help them manage and have more control and independence, maybe?

It seems totally against what I’ve seen of Monzo’s ethos tho do that. And to be fair, I doubt this would be the intention.

Couldn’t the incentives be things that don’t actively prevent some people from getting to use Monzo just because they don’t have the right/enough social capital? Give people a personalised card with a picture of kittens on it, or send them a wooly hat, or list them in a chart of referrers or something?

I am motivated to write this in part because I’m no closer to getting a card, it seems :slight_smile: (I’d be thinking it anyway.) But it just seems daft to me to prevent some people from using the service when you could have them plus people who’d probably like other incentives too.

(James Billingham) #2

@ade use or


Thanks for the links :slight_smile:

I can’t decide whether this addresses the ethical issue or not though :smiley:

It doesn’t seem very open if it’s possible to do that…


Even if you don’t invite anyone, you are still moving up the queue. Just so you know.


That’s what I assumed but when I look the number ahead of me is the same but the number behind is growing. I don’t know how fast the cards are being dispatched though. Maybe it goes in fits and starts?

Thanks for the reply, anyway :slight_smile:

(James Billingham) #6

The reality is that nobody is actually waiting any more than a week or two in total now - the queue moves very quickly. The queue jumping processes are more marketing tools to imply demand/exclusivity - these appear to be quite significant, but it is somewhat exaggerated.


Good that no one is waiting long :slight_smile:


I dont know if I was lucky, but I barely noticed a wait…

DL’ed the app from the play store… queue screen for a bit… message to add 100… the card actually came to my address and I couldnt get there for at least a week as travelling.

Perhaps I wasnt paying attention but it felt like waiting on me more than me waiting on it.

(Sam) #9

I wouldn’t worry, I’m a new monzo customer and the queue was only about a week for me (with no recommendations - I tried! :slight_smile: ).
Got my card delivered yesterday, a few purchases in and I’m already hooked!

Monzo user number
(Naji Esiri) #10

Hey Ade,

You’ve touched on something which we are constantly questioning ourselves. To many, the queue system seems at odds with the inclusive ethos we look to embody as a company.

Ultimately, we would really like to move away from this in the future. To be completely honest, growth has been a necessary focus for us as we move towards launching as a fully fledged bank and the referrals/queue skip really helped us drive this. Without, we’d have struggled our way through multiple funding rounds and may have found it much more difficult to obtain a banking licence.

Whilst it’s far from perfect, we try and make sure that opportunities to skip the waiting list are as democratic as possible and that everyone, no matter what their social standing has a chance to enjoy this sort of perk. The in app referral system is just one way people can do so. We also run regular competitions via our social media channels, host landing pages for campaigns (such as the Old Street one recommended to you by @billinghamj ) and often manually bump users up the queue purely as a goodwill gesture.

You raise a good point about other sorts of incentives, we have tons of Monzo swag here at the office for exactly this reason (no cards with kittens yet :frowning:️) , and think we should probably focus more on these sorts of rewards for users.

In short, every point you’ve raised above, we’ve discussed and considered as a team. The queue skip system won’t be here forever. I hope this makes some sense and goes some way to addressing your concerns :slightly_smiling_face:

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