Monzo international expansion - where and why?


#1

Inspired by this find over at the Starling forums (h/t to @mirow and @alexs for finding it), I was wondering what people’s views are on Monzo’s international expansion? I know that the US has been spoken about, and Monzo has passporting rights to Ireland, but I’m interested to hear views on where Monzo might, at the minimum of risk/effort, might make inroads internationally.

So… where do folk think Monzo will expand to first (and second, and third, and, well you get the drift) - and why? (Oh - and when? I know Monzo have spoken about perfecting the UK offering first - but there ain’t a billion plus potential UK customers :wink:)


(Jack) #2

Seems to be fairly obvious it’s going to be Ireland, although my guess is we won’t see any further roll out plans until they have more confirmation on what’s happening with Brexit.

After that the US especially now they have their office in Las Vegas. Similar culture and same language makes this so much easier. There’s also a large population which is similar size to Europe but less work needed overall to reach everyone.

After that or alongside the US maybe somewhere else in Europe? Although I feel Australia wouldn’t be a bad idea. Again English speaking, decent population.


#3

Similar culture and similar language


#4

Ha, under that logic the UK speaks a large number of similar languages! (And let’s not get into cultural differences which are probably more pronounced within the UK than between some other anglophone nations)…

Now, on international expansion… :wink:


(Jack) #5

I’ve read before somewhere that as well as language, culture varies a lot around Europe.
Understanding this and building these changes into the app/product can take time if done right. You could just roll out as is but it may not stick with people as well.
As to what European country after Ireland I have no clue. I guess Italy or Spain or France :man_shrugging:t3: Not sure why.


#6

I was wondering if it would be worthwhile soft-launching an English speaking euro account for EU countries? The Netherlands and Belgium have lots of English speakers, as do the Scandinavian countries… And there are lots of English speakers around the coast in Spain…

(That said, I’m not sure that’s the right solution - there’s something about it that makes me uneasy, though I’m not sure what… But it’s a way of testing the waters, I suppose. Best not do it in France, though).


(Jack) #7

Good point!

What are your thoughts on what’s next after the U.K.?


(Jack) #8

Completely forgot Canada could be a good one after the US.

Again language not an issue or culture (I beilive)…
Plus everyone seems to like Canada :sweat_smile:.

Is the payments schemes similar in Canada to the US?


#9

their English is more like ours than American is, but in Quebec you will find French the primary language


#10

If they can nail the US, with all of their banking quirks, I would think they’d be set up for life!

Can’t help but feel that “Euro” accounts, whilst opening themselves up to a huge potential, is simply wading into a space which is already being explored by a number of banks.

A killer UK account which fits most people’s needs, alongside a US offering which can transcend US banking would be a great combo.


#11

I really don’t know. I think the trick is to bring the Monzo ethos / culture to each market individually, rather than directly translating stuff - which might makes it seem easier for English-speaking nations (especially as the biggest one - the US - is huge).

But the trade-off is, Ireland aside, it’s really difficult. You need to set up a local company, meet regulatory requirements - basically spend lots of time and effort. Which is more difficult the more geographically remote you are. And then there’s the terminology (which is what @mirow might have been getting at) - remembering to talk about a checking account for a US customer vs a current account in the UK…

I’d be tempted to say (after Ireland and maybe in parallel to the US?) a large European market that hasn’t really got that much (fintech) competition. Germany has N26, so maybe France or Spain? But those would require a heavy commitment to localisation. France probably has the advantage, because then you have a staging ground to go into Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, (Canada!) etc… Unlike N26, I think the key would be going the extra mile and making sure you have a domestic IBAN for each country - France, especially is still a bit behind in accepting direct debits from non FR- IBANs…

(Off-topic, I wonder if, on reflection, a very visible indicator of the country at the beginning of the IBAN was a bad idea - they are often hard coded and therefore difficult to change…)


(Richard Bairwell) #12

New Zealand would be cool - the Southern Hemisphere always gets missed out and if Monzo wanted a developer to go over there who doesn’t need a visa due to dual nationality, then I volunteer for tribute!


(Jack) #13

Only issue with NZ is the population is so small it’s maybe not worth the effort at this stage


#14

It’s a hard job, but we the community thank you for your sacrifice :wink:


#15

Hobbits need instant notification on their banking!


#16

Anyone know how similar NZ and Australian banking regs / culture are?


(Jack) #17

Fairly I think, when I was there on holiday all the large banks had branches in both countries.


#18

IBAN discrimination is illegal as it is prohibited by Regulations which have been incorporated into domestic Law by enabling legislation. In some countries you can report non-compliant entities to a helpdesk run by the banking regulators.


#19

If the marginal cost of going to NZ is not prohibitive, then doing it at the same time as Australia makes sense, I imagine…


#20

Yeah, that’s true. But it doesn’t change the fact that, on the ground, life without a FR IBAN in France can be tricky (particularly for utilities etc). I’m all up for full IBAN portability - it’d make life much more straightforward!