Monzo Plus - Weekly Update 10th October 2019

Hello everyone :wave:

I’m back from holiday. It was lovely, if you were wondering. Sadly it rained. As an Australian in the UK it’s something I should probably come to terms with sooner or later :umbrella:

Here’s an update on what’s happened in our world over the last week:

  • :space_invader: On engineering… we took the opportunity to decide if we wanted to reuse a lot of the code we used to run Monzo Plus previously, or build something new and more bespoke. Monzo Plus started out quite modular, meaning setting up your subscription and billing were complex - you could have any combination of features. The bundled implementation simplified this, but you could still have more than one bundle. Both of those implementations were built on top of the same system, which we had the option to do also. Complexity comes at a high cost, so we’ve decided to start afresh and build something new. This gives us confidence that it works as expected and makes it easier to onboard engineers in the future.

  • :ship: On shipping product… we’ve made a conscious decision to move slower and add more polish to anything we ship. So you won’t be seeing any early MVP versions in the app before we’re really comfortable that they’re going to be great experiences for you. Thanks for voicing this, it’s a great learning for Monzo and something we hope to apply to future product releases. We’ll share designs and other ideas in here when we think it makes sense.

  • :grimacing: On freemium concerns… we hear your concerns around what features will be included in our paid subscriptions, so we want to reassure you that Monzo won’t be slowly transforming into a mobile game that blocks actions with incessant ads! And sadly, we won’t help you with online dating services, either. We don’t have enough detail at the moment about what will be included in our paid subscriptions, but we’re working on some principles to help guide this rationale with our customers at the heart of our decisions.

  • :woman_artist: On design… we learned from previous iterations of Monzo Plus that the experience of managing your subscription wasn’t great. So we’re revamping the subscription ‘home’ in the app. Here’s a sneak peek we’re toying with, though we’ll likely play around with this before we settle on something we’re happy with. We’re also ensuring our design framework aligns with the new Monzo navigation we rolled out recently so exploring and using your paid subscription feels intuitive and part of a cohesive Monzo experience.

:thinking: Where do debit cards come from?

We thought it might be interesting to shine a light on how cards are designed, produced, and ultimately make their way into your wallets, back pockets, and in some cases, washing machines.

There are four key partners involved in getting a debit card from a design file into a piece of plastic (or other material :eyes:) that helps you make purchases.

:bank: The bank (that’s us): we design the card and it’s our customers who use them.

:factory: The card manufacturer: just like it says on the tin, this partner is responsible for producing and shipping the cards we design.

:zap: The scheme: a scheme connects merchants and customers to their banks and powers payments. At Monzo we work with Mastercard.

:package: The packaging provider: this partner produces the actual physical packaging that our debit cards arrive in when they’re shipped out to our customers

  • Step 1: :art: Design
    Designing a debit card isn’t as easy as throwing some colours onto a design file and sending it off to be printed. Every card manufacturer has unique specifications and capabilities for what they can do, so we’ll meet with them to understand what’s possible. This process involves user and market research to understand what customers like and how we can differentiate our cards from others. It often involves several designers and stakeholders to make sure we get varying opinions on what is best for customers.

  • Step 2: :white_check_mark: Approvals and edits
    We work with Mastercard as the scheme that handles our payments, and because their logo is on our card, they have a say in how the card looks as well. Once we’ve got a card design, we need both our scheme and card manufacturer to approve it so all parties involved are happy.

  • Step 3: :microscope: Testing samples
    Once designs are approved, our card manufacturer will produce a handful of cards to see how they look once they’re printed. Card designs don’t always translate perfectly from design files to physical cards. Colours can look a little different so we test these first with a small run. We usually head to the facility to check these in-person and use this time to check the durability of the cards, making sure things like contactless payments and other features work long after your first purchase.

  • Step 4: :shopping_cart: Card order
    When we’re happy, we’ll make a large order of debit cards and our manufacturer will get to work producing them. This takes longer than you’d imagine, sometimes up to eight weeks. So it’s pretty important we get the design and specifications right early on in this process.

  • Step 5: :mailbox_with_mail: Ship
    Once everything is in place, you’ll be able to order a card :tada:We receive your order in the Monzo app, which triggers a card to be personalised by our manufacturer with your name and card details. The packaging provider will have already sent the packaging to them, so they’ll drop your personalised card into a package which will then arrive to you in a few days time. Magic!

(Let’s say we’re looking at producing cards made from, say, metal. Does the process change? Not really. Metal cards take longer for a variety of reasons. But for the most part, the process above is quite similar.)

Thanks again for your interest and feedback along the way.


Thanks for the Plupdate

i’m not ready to abandon that term yet, in spite of the vocal opposition :smirk:


I’m happy that you guys are taking your time with it rather than rushing out anything. Looking forward to seeing what the future looks like!


Working in software development I totally understand the decision to start a fresh, lessons learned and all that.

I also think it’s a good decision to get this right and deliver a polished product.

Everyone will be watching very closely how the freemium approach shapes up, it’s very important to get this right. Worse case it could cause mass exodus from Monzo. Anything you put behind a paywall will create negativity, unless those features save you money/pay for themselves in some way.


Thanks for the update. Really appreciate the time and effort put to share this.

This will be the key and i wonder how you will put customers at heart of decision making.

Your survey was not great because most people felt it was actually dictating them to go for something they don’t want and you are not changing the direction much from bundles version as far as I can tell, again most people were excited about Monzo plus because of modular approach.


Best Plupdate yet?



Not to single you out, but just to bring a discussion I had previously in the other thread to the front. I’ll share my thoughts on why I think Pick 'n Mix won’t work.

Taking NationWide FlexPlus as an example. The reason this works so well is because it is a bundle, covering some common insurance products most (not all) would have. You cannot buy all of these products separately for cheaper and there is a reason. A bundle spreads the risk of claims across multiple products, you may claim on 1 but most won’t claim on all 3. Someone who is taking a single product will pay as though they would claim from it, hence the increased cost.

My ideal scenario for Plus would be to have a bundle similar too NationWide, with a couple variations. It is also critical to have that apply to a Joint account (or at least cover the family) to compete.


Pick n’ Mix could achieve the same results - what you’re essentially saying is the more you add the more you save.

However if people just want one thing then they have that choice too. Everybody wins!

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If they want just one product, I’m not sure how Monzo will be able to offer insurance at a competitive price and make a profit.


Hot take: If you want what Nationwide are offering…


Sure, but what about those who want to go full Monzo?

You have a decision to make. Such is life.

(And I’m not getting dragged into a “but I want” discussion. We are all adults. Life sometimes doesn’t give you what you want).


Yep I agree and that’s to be expected with anything. I would save money if I bought a multi-pack of crisps instead of just one at a time. But if I don’t need 12 bags I’ll just get the one.

Perhaps they could have “empty bundles” and you can choose what services you want.

For example:

Bundle #1 - 3 slots - £10 per month
Bundle #2 - 5 slots - £14 per month
Bundle #3 - 8 slots - £18 per month

That should keep things simpler without getting stuck with the rigidness of predetermined bundles and things you don’t want/need :man_shrugging:


And be copied by your competitions and provided by them for free. You are a bank - act like one.

You should charge for extra services (the traditional example being insurance), not part of the banking experience.

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Thanks, @SC95. It wasn’t intended to be a leading survey, so if you felt that way then apologies! Our hope was those who didn’t like the options listed would choose “none of these” and that in itself would be a good indicator of the direction we should take.

We understand the interest in a modular approach, but we’re confident the approach we’re taking will be useful for some meaningful group of customers. It won’t be relevant or useful for everyone, but that’s okay.



I like this analogy.

I never get multipacks because Prawn Cocktail - and there is no way I will ever need prawn cocktail crisps in my life.

Also, the multipacks of crisp, each individual crisp packet tends to be smaller than from the single-packet selection - so I generally end up with a selection of crisps that offers me more overall crisps if I pick them individually.


It’s perfectly possible to go Full Monzo and send back £13 per month to Nationwide by standing order to buy their packaged insurance, and use that account for nothing else.

‘Full Monzo’ and “I buy things from other places” aren’t mutually exclusive.

In the brave new world of Open Banking it’ll one day be possible for Nationwide to sell you their package, or an overdraft, through your Monzo hub. But in the meantime just treat it as something you pay for monthly, like Netflix.

I’ve never come across the “I would buy the better product, except I have a irrational need to only use Monzo for some reason” school of thought.


This is exactly what I do!

We could never be friends :pensive: