Our Plans to Close the Monzo Prepaid Cards

Wish I could :unicorn: but that’d be cheating LOL.

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Sorry to add to the noise here, but Cathie, if you have a moment could you explain how you’d describe the difference between a “prepaid” card and a “current account” card (excluding things very personal to you such as “I have one already”). If you liked using the “prepay” version, what is it different about “current account” that puts people off?

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I think Mr M Lewis and his website have been a significant factor in this discussion. Monzo (and originally as Mondo) were perfectly open and honest about the prepaid product being a beta product for a fully fledged CA. Far too many of prepaid account holders believe in the gospel of St Martin and didn’t make their application decision in full view or understanding of the facts. The MSE website no longer lists the product as a currency card.

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When I signed up for the prepaid card, I knew that Monzo wanted to be a bank. I didn’t know that this would mean that the prepaid card would end until someone later.

When the current account was offered to me, it took a while for me to decide whether or not to bother, but I took the plunge. Having done so, I can say that for me the CA isn’t much more than a prepaid card on steroids. It does more things than a prepaid card, but not enough for me to consider using it as a current account.

I like the fact that I can freeze the card and get a replacement in the app, and I like the instant notifications, and these are the features that make it a good spending card.

I can fully understand why people don’t want to upgrade, just as I can fully understand those who really like it and want to make it their main account. I guess I fall between the two stools.

Anyway, that’s just my tuppence worth of opinion. I think that there is room for many different types of passenger on the Monzo voyage.

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You seem to have asked numerous people the same question.
I also don’t believe for a second you don’t understand the difference between a current account, and a prepaid card, as it’s basic stuff.
I suggest you take a couple of minutes away from this site, and read up on the differences, so you don’t have to keep asking people. :grin:

Hey all! :wave:

We expected this topic to get very emotional and to generate a huge amount of discussion, which is entirely fair. Please remember that we’re all passionate Monzo users here, and ultimately all users of the same product, so let’s try and not let things get too argumentative, or adversarial.

If you have questions where you’d specifically like a Monzo staff member to reply, please tag us in your post, and if you feel that another forum member has crossed a line, please flag their post or feel free to send any staff member a private message and we’ll investigate.

Now for my comments on the discussion at hand!

It’s very difficult for many of us here who have had current accounts for months now to understand where the people who are still on prepaid are coming from, for people that are worried about upgrading or don’t want to. That makes it our job to try and alleviate those fears.

Fundamentally it’s the same product - if you don’t actually use the additional features, then for all intents and purposes it’s virtually identical to the prepaid scheme. Without actually having used the upgraded product, it may not be as easy to understand that.

I personally feel that the term “Current Account” is too much of a loaded term with a lot of negative connotations due to old school banking practices and thinking - the very things we feel we’re the opposite of!

We did make efforts at one point to stop using the term, but there wasn’t really a great alternative, and the term had already been in use for a long time to describe the upgraded product so it was hard for people to break habits.

For me the best way to describe it is that it’s the same product - but upgraded with more features that you can use should you wish to, but aren’t mandatory, and that because of the change in infrastructure, we’ll need to send you a new card.

For those of you on the fence - I truly feel that any hesitations you have will disappear if you actually upgrade and begin to use the new card. What you’ll find is that it really is the same, but improved and streamlined. All new features aside, it’s more convenient if for the instant in/out bank transfers alone, which is something that you can’t do on prepaid. Having the account doesn’t affect your credit score, you’re not required to set up any direct debits or standing orders if you don’t want to, and the majority of acceptance issues (where prepaid cards would get declined due to merchants not accepting them) are a thing of the past!

I’m going to brainstorm some ideas, but how can we best support people who are hesitant to upgrade? Is there something we aren’t doing, that would help here?

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I’ve not paid much attention to this up to now but have just read through all the responses here. Part of the problem seems to be calling it a “current account” - we all “know” what current accounts are: those complex things traditional banks offer with myriad fees if you stumble over the wrong lines. At the same time, I haven’t found anything that explains in any depth what the new account actually does offer. If you (Monzo) don’t explain very clearly why your “current account” is radically different then people will make a lot of assumptions based on this tainted phrase. By contrast, “prepaid card” is a simple concept: add money, spend, stop when its gone.

For those concerned about overspending on the new card, the most helpful thing I have seen is https://monzo.com/why-upgrade/ :

We’ve worked hard to ensure that if you’re on the existing prepaid Monzo card, you can continue using your new, upgraded Monzo debit card in exactly the same way if you want to — add money to it every week, spend until £0, then top it up again. We won’t charge you any fees, and an overdraft is totally optional.

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I think one thing this thread highlights is that banking is actually a highly emotional topic. People do blatantly irrational things with banking. How many people exchange cash at the airport? Objectively speaking, it’s a terrible idea. Almost everyone, intellectually, knows this. People do it anyway. They want to ‘feel’ themselves exchanging cash.

That’s an extreme case, but we all have emotional reasons. I didn’t sign up for Monzo in prepaid form since it didn’t have protections. In truth, if I’d kept a minimum of money in it, the worst risk would have been the initial £100. I did just sign up for TransferWise (also lacking FSCS protection), but the fees make me cringe. I avoid even tiny fees. Card fees are now illegal, but I’d pay 10% more to shop somewhere without a 1% fee, out of principle.

Is there a logical reason to not want a current account? Except for some edge cases who want to avoid reporting requirements full bank accounts have (and those aren’t people you want as customers, those are liabilities) or who don’t have enough ID to get a full current account, no. Even for someone who uses it as a travel card, it only brings benefits. But there’s something emotional about banking that creates this reaction.

Let’s all remember to love each other - criticise ideas, not people. And try to empathise. After all, none of us would be here based on pure logic. Monzo is not, objectively, the highest value banking product on the market. It’s a very good, fair value, with excellent customer service, a great app and card, etc. But not the best value £-wise, so there’s an emotional element for all of us.

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I think one of the issues is that shitty legacy banking has put a bad reputation on the words “current account” and many people associate it with endless T&C’s, hidden fees, etc.

Monzo should’ve tried to call it something else like the “Monzo account” and avoid all the bad thoughts associated to a legacy current account.

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Hi @simonb, good post!

I think you’re right about all the wonderful features that the Current Account brings, but for some people, as you alluded to, these have negative connotations due to the way legacy banks operate. It may sound counter intuitive but perhaps it would be good to do a forum/blog post about what the new features are and how Monzo won’t be forcing these upon you. For example you can still top up via debit card, we don’t force you to use faster payments or we have overdrafts but we don’t force you to take one nor do we charge you for going overdrawn as we don’t allow that to happen! Information on it not impacting the credit score etc.

Perhaps there are some recent on the fence upgraders who could do a guest post on this as well?

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This can be based on circumstances. My partner is currently in a long process to get her identity verified. Even HMRC are struggling, yet she already has a current account with a highstreet branch, with an overdraft, she’s on electoral role, and has a few other pieces of credit in her name. Yet because she changed her name by deed poll (it was over 10 years ago), the whole system falls apart. She had a driving license in her old name, this has now expired, but because this exists, it’s causing issues with the renewal process and the verification associated with that. Hopefully it will be sorted soon!

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Interesting, I had no deed poll issues at all. Happily accepted by everyone, including HM Passport Office, DVLA, all banks, employer, council (for electoral roll), US Embassy, etc. No issues.

Best of luck to her!

I just noticed this… UK driving licences don’t expire until you’re rather old. The photocard does, but the licence itself doesn’t. I think the best route may be to apply to DVLA for a new photocard, reporting the change of name deed just as if it had just happened.

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The biggest issue has been HMRC, we’ve spent months trying to get her verified so she can file her tax return before the end of this month, we finally managed it last week after a silly expensive phone call to a random number they gave us to get a special activation code for Self Assessment (around £1 a minute :astonished: ).

That’s the route we’ve been advised to take, I’m hoping it all goes through okay!

Good luck, it should be easy! DVLA was probably the most painless change of all. And she’ll have a valid driving licence!

Also, if she’s a British Citizen, I suggest getting a new passport. It’s a little pricey, but if she can afford it, everyone really should have a passport. HMPO is actually pretty easy also - just note she has to change any foreign passports she has first.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Yeah she’s a British Citizen. She hasn’t had a passport before, but hopefully if we get the driving license sorted first, the passport process should then be nice and easy.

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No problem and good luck :slight_smile:

The driving licence should have nothing to do with it, actually, and both can be done at the same time. She’ll just need the documentation needed for any first adult passport application, plus her deed poll. Should be very easy, actually, and save so much hassle in future.

The only passport thing that could be an issue, depending on her circumstances, is the countersignatory requirement. For most people, it’s easy… I found it a bit of a pain, but not awful.

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Been a user since Alpha and just seen that Prepaid programme is being shut down. I cannot access the app on my iPhone 6S. Just keeps crashing. Is there another way to upgrade?

Hi @jonathan_erwin, if you email help@monzo.com we can troubleshoot with you.

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even if you use only the same functionality and nothing else that is added, the reason why they make you agree to the change is previously your money was held by wirecard in an emoney regulated account and now it is held by monzo bank in an account regulated by different rules and regulations. It is a legal or contractual need to do so, not because monzo forcing you into anything.

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In that case if you are an adult they sometimes will call you in for an interview if you have not had a passport before, and take biometrics like a digital photo and digital signature. Having a DVLA or DVLNI photocard driving license and NINO makes the random interview less likely.

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