tl;dr: My wallet got stolen, some thoughts and ideas for Monzo.
So I woke up this morning after a very long, and somewhat boozy day at Wimbledon, to discover that my wallet was missing/stolen. Below describes my experiences cancelling and dealing with the expected fraud from all three cards I had on me.
- Lloyds. Yes, my hopeful soon to be ex-current account. Had no facilities to block my card online so had to dial the support number. After 15 minutes on hold, I then had to follow the useless script the support minion was forced to follow (including lengthy speeches about being wary of suspicious ATM’s and shielding my PIN). All told, took 30 minutes. Despite the first to be cancelled, I’ve seen a myriad of contactless transactions go through, am told I will have to call be in 2-3 days once everything is cleared before I can get them removed. New card will take up to 10 days, in that time ApplePay will not work, and I will need to go into the branch to withdraw funds.
Summary: High amount of pain and friction. My account is essentially useless to me until I get my new card.
- Amex. No facility to block my card so had to dial in. However the UX was surprisingly frictionless. Whereas with Lloyds I had to quote my account number, and 2-3 other pieces of security, Amex recognised my number and asked for just 1. After that, I had spoken to an agent and got a new card sent out within 2 minutes. Surprisingly, their ApplePay integration was solid, within an hour a new card had been issued my ApplePay was updated with these new details. So until I get my card in the post, I’m back in business.
Summary: Surprisingly enough, a very frictionless experience. Back in business in less than an hour.
- Monzo. Obviously, incredibly quick and easy to freeze my card and order a new one. I did enjoy seeing the myriad of failed transactions come though via PUSH messages, could even see the location of the transactions. Unfortunately, with no ApplePay I’m mostly locked out from my account until I get my card.
Summary: Not too shocking that this was the easiest of the three, though disappointing that I have no real option to continue using my account until a grumpy postman delivers me my piece of plastic.
But, a thought. What about Monzo.me?
So while nursing my wounded pride of having my wallet stolen, I went for a bike ride. My tyres were a bit flat so I popped into my local expert shop for a top up. I realised I really needed a proper pump and noticed one for £41.50. But alas! Amex hadn’t updated yet, and I had no cash. Out of curiosity, I asked if the guys had Monzo? As this was a specialist shop and not Halfords, of course they both had Monzo. So, a deal was struck, I paid one of the lads £42 (as Monzo.me only deals with whole numbers) and I had my pump. So despite no cash, no card, and no Apple Pay, I managed to perform a transaction in a retail setting.
Which got me thinking. Why do we need pieces of plastic at all? Credit card companies charge anywhere from 2-3% in transaction fees, what if Monzo offered them a facility for as close to free as possible? The app generates a QR code, retailers scan it, purchase is made.
Also, consider the online implications. Normally, when you shop at a new retailer, the first purchase is pretty painful. Register for an account, type in your CC details, and even if your browser has saved it, you still need to verify the security code - which means you either need to have a good memory for these things, or you need to have your piece of flimsy plastic to hand. Then of course, you need to type in your billing or shipping details. Yes, browsers save this too, but you’d be surprised how many badly run e-retailers don’t let you do this or have coded their forms poorly. How would this work if an e-tailer supported Monzo.me?
- Find stuff to buy, add it to your basket
- You click “checkout w/Monzo.me”
- E-tailer asks you for your email address
- Alert is thrown in the app. Do you accept this transaction? You click yes.
- Behind the scenes, e-tailer gets the payment and your shipping information
All of this in theory could bypass traditional payment processors and acquiring banks as the funds would not technically go outside of Monzo.
So it seems we may not be too far away from a card-less future, outside of getting cash from a ATM. But still, a lot of potential here for Monzo.