Monzo Staff Weekly Q&A - Naz Malik (Technical Specialist)

Note : All Monzo Q&As to date can be found here :grinning:

People of our newly categorised forum! It’s your favourite time of the week, the thing you’ve all been waiting for, the best thing in life other than than hearing the sound of money going in to your Monzo account!

That’s right - everybody scream and hold on to your wigs - it’s another weekly Q&A!

First things first… catch up on our previous Q&A’s if you haven’t already!

Week 1 : Chris MacLean, Customer Operations & Vulnerable Customers :santa:t2:
Week 2 : James Nicholson, iOS Engineer :green_apple:
Week 3 : Tara Mansfield, People Operations Manager :woman_technologist:t5::man_technologist:t3:
Week 4 : James Routley, Backend Engineer :hammer_and_wrench:
Week 5 : Hugh Wells, Customer Operations :policeman:t3:‍♂

This week, the hot coral hot seat belongs to… Naz Malik, Technical Specialist!


Naz joined us in October 2017 and his role involves being an interface between COps & engineers and spreading techy knowledge! :grinning: Fun facts about Naz - he used to do undercover journalism and he knows kung fu! His favourite thing about working for Monzo is that he believes that we’re changing the world for the better, plus all the wonderful people that work here!

So without further ado, get your questions in for Naz and he’ll be here later in the week to answer them! :grinning:

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Hey Naz :wave:,

Do you like pineapple :pineapple: on pizza :pizza:?

What does your average day look like? :clock1:

What made you join :monzo: and now you’ve joined, what’s your favorite part of the job?

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The answer to this question has the power to completely undermine any credibility on the rest of his answers in this thread! :thinking:

Pineapple has no business being on a pizza! :no_entry_sign:


yes…if you like pineapple on pizza that makes you much more credible in my eyes :wink:


Hi Naz,

What’s the vision for pin and cash services when the high street banks have all closed up due to ‘the disruptors’? I see we can use the post to send in cheques, but what about getting cash in there and pin changes? Does Monzo support the ATM network somehow?

Thank you.

When will Monzo let us have the option to set 5 or 6 digit pins on our debit cards instead of the typical 4 digits found in the UK.

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Can the work done on Android Pay be tweeked to enable introduction of Samsung Pay or Fitbit Pay?

Technically, you can already do that (up to 12 digits), you just can’t use the app for transfers (when it asks for a PIN, if you set up Touch ID for transfers before you change the PIN, it works fine).

I’ve had a 12 digit PIN for about a month now :+1:



Some great questions folks, thanks! Naz will be here tomorrow to answer them…

I have one myself…

What’s been the most challenging situation you’ve encountered so far as a techspec? :grinning:

Two thumbs up to this! I’d also like a separate purchase and ATM PIN.

I’d be happy enough with separate online and offline PINs since that’d be close enough for 95% of terminals. It is so rare to see online PIN used for a purchase. But it could lead to weird behaviour as terminals just say enter PIN and don’t tell you if they’re going to use offline or online PIN. So ideally, it should use the purchase (normally offline PIN) PIN for online PIN purchases to handle the online PIN purchase edge cases more gracefully.

Obviously, the ATM PIN should be used for any cash transfer in-app, etc, too.

I’d also like other higher-security optional features too. Any chance of letting us disable magstripe purchases, magstripe emulation contactless (PayPass magstripe mode), magstripe fallback, etc with toggles on a granular level to meet our needs?

Oh, finally, of course, I’d like to see all of this with no additional liability (no ‘well, you had magstripe emulation contactless enabled, and that’s how the fraud occurred, we won’t cover it’). It’s to give us the ability to add additional security that helps protect you (from loss) and us (from hassles); not a way to shift liability to the consumer.


Hey Naz :wave:

What’s your background education/experience wise? What sort of jobs did you do before Monzo?

What would you say a technical specialist is exactly as I’ve seen this term used for all sorts of actual roles!


Hi Naz :wave:

Can you share any of your undercover work with us? And did you ever use your kung-fu skills while undercover :smile:

Hi Josh :wave:

:pizza: Pineapple is acceptable when thoughtfully applied.

:clock1: On an average day I cycle in, grab a cup of tea and work through a bunch of Slack (our internal messaging service) messages. Technical queries are escalated to me and the other technical specialists (techspecs :dark_sunglasses:) via one slack channel, and we do our best to respond to any escalation within 15minutes, and I’ll do my best to keep on top of this throughout the day.

Alongside this, I can often be seen running around the office, talking to engineers to get the low-down on the latest bugs, looking at ways of squashing the current bugs that are bothering our customers, and trying to get a sense of scale my looking at the analytics from our inbound conversations. Communication is key in ensuring that information flows well between customer operations and our engineers.

I also do small bits of engineering, and hope to take larger bites as I get more comfortable with our infrastructure.

:mondo: I joined Monzo because I wanted to work for an innovative company that had a positive impact on the world. It’s great having a role that demands I’m constantly learning new things. Additionally, the amount of freedom I’ve been given to do my job as I see fit has been fantastic.


I’m afraid that decision lies with our security wizards, but most of the focus in that area right now is going into ensuring our secure PIN recovery flow is as slick and secure as possible.

I can tell you that when someone has changed their PIN to more than 4 digits, they’ll get it chopped down to 4 digits on secure PIN recovery which can be super confusing. Once someone wrote in who’d forgot they’d ever changed it to more than 4 digits. As PINs are encrypted on our systems, this was super hard to get to the bottom of!

For now I’d say a 4 digit PIN is the way to go :+1:


How far in the future are we talking? :wink:

In the long-run, I can’t see there being any need for cash/cheques/PINs whatsoever. ATM’s are a super expensive and inefficient way of doing things, and cash doesn’t make all that much sense either in 2018. In London I rarely need coins and notes these days.

While we will cash cheques, Monzo is primarily set up for a cashless, instant future of banking :rocket:

What do you think?


It’s a little more complicated than tweaking Android Pay I’m afraid!

We’d have to build our own integration with their unique SDKs (software development kits). Ideally, we’d love to, but I’m afraid there’s a few things that we’ll be focussing on in the near future.

Growing as fast as we are, we’re always iterating and re-evaluating our direction, so who knows when these could come!


I’m a Psychology graduate, who then decided he hated the idea of working in an office and went travelling for around 2 1/2 years, funding my way through various freelance writing jobs, which included music journalism, undercover investigations, and copywriting for t-shirt companies.

Around a year ago I started learning how to code. I got a job at a developer, quit after a few months, and decided to apply for only companies I really believed in, with the view of becoming a software engineer. If that didn’t worked out I planned to freelance once more and move to Argentina.

Luckily I somehow landed at Monzo! Woohoo!


You know those shaky video’s you see on animal right documentaries taken through a tiny hidden camera in someone’s shirt button hole? I won’t reveal the details but it was grizzly stuff. Super stimulating work but very intense!

Alas, I actually learnt kung fu after the undercover work! I learnt in a little city (little by Chinese standards - it was still 1million people) called Qufu, the home of the philosopher Confucius, training from 5am-5pm for 3 months.

The most surreal parts included power stretching and conditioning our bodies by hitting trees for hours on end.



Early on, just after finishing my training and the techspec who was training me became a product manager, I had 3 or 4 days in a row where escalations were busy and every other query seemed beyond my knowledge. It was pretty stressful!

But once you do a certain kind of query once, you can do it forever. As a result that time was probably one of the most productive efficient learning periods during my time at Monzo.


I agree it’s the future, but I think it’s decades away. Only this week I had to buy an extra pint and a packet of peanuts so that a bar would let me use a card. I have also had to pay in a large cheque from my mum and a very small cheque from a share scheme.

In the meantime, this definitely needs addressing - otherwise Monzo will always be a side account. How long until every single ice-cream van or school fete takes plastic?

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