Our response to the BBC Watchdog report

Last night, BBC Watchdog ran a report on how we block and close accounts.

We’d like to share some more details about how we approach this and be as transparent as we can.


Great response, it was really disappointing to see Watchdog criticise Monzo for not giving customers updates, knowing that they can’t. Monzo’s bound to have to freeze more accounts, they’re the fastest growing bank in the U.K. They’re just doing exactly what every other bank has to do too.

Edit - Tom was asked about the accusations on Fintech Insider and this was his response:

The BBC came to use with a large number of cases and, without crossing the line and tipping off, I’m very confident with the decisions we’re making here.

Edit 2 - Another snippet from the same episode.

Honestly in 95% of cases it is an absolute slam dunk that this is a criminal. And they come up with heartbreaking stories, “I can’t feed my children, I’m going to be made homeless, you’ve done this to me” and I’m sitting there looking at the police reports explaining exactly where the money’s come from, going this is totally incongruous."


A well considered response.

Hopefully this will calm some of the rhetoric, whilst acknowledging that you still have work to do in this area.


Couldn’t get a much clearer post than that.

So many times Monzo has been above and beyond for many people, but a few stand out events have been over sympathised by a TV show. Better to know Monzo is dealing with our money the right way, rather than having to issue a statement to announce a big mistake after an event.

My money is staying put in my Monzo account. :slight_smile: Keep growing Monzo.


Decent enough response. Still hugely disappointed that they didn’t put someone on the program to say this. This entire fiasco could have been avoided.


Perfect response from @tom but really one that shouldn’t have been necessary as the whole thing was a non-issue. Just a televised version of the Daily Mail looking to cash in on some clickbait .


You’re assuming that the presenters would’ve let them make that statement without being interrupted. They didn’t even read out the statement Monzo did give them, so.


I doubt it. They want ratings, they’d have gotten a ‘story’ out of this regardless. Lose/lose for Monzo so I actually agree with them for not rising to that bait.


Spot on - shoddy work on the part of the BBC.

Well done Monzo.


I didn’t even felt any way when I watched watchdog last night because all banks do what Monzo do so by people saying they moving all Thier money from Monzo and going to another bank thinking this won’t happen to them they are wrong.


When we’ve directed people to a food bank (which I believe we’ve only done on very few occasions) our customer service staff were genuinely trying to be helpful. The advice came from a good place, but I’m sorry if that caused any upset or distress. I acknowledge our communication has been poor in some of these cases.

From what I’ve seen from Monzo, I totally agree the advice would have been well intentioned. However, the medium used to deliver the advice can matter. If this was said on a phone call you can relay it with the right tone, text messages can come across as blunt, and people don’t always catch the nuances.


I’ve always thought it’s unfair that some person in a bank has to make a decision on activity with literally no law enforcement powers to investigate if what the customer has provided as ‘evidence’ is faked or not.

And then the bank is held responsible legally .

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Now I feel better! I love Monzo. They cut all the crap out of banking. I was disappointed that Watchdog ran the story last night but Tom summed it all up.
Business as usual !:+1:


I would say it depends on the context of the conversation.

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Great post, I have a feeling Watchdog ran the story with the backing of brick and mortar banks - Monzo & Revolut are stealing the show and they are jealous!


What I watched last night seemed like an old school watchdog hatchet job. Yes Monzo do have faults, (show me a bank that doesn’t) but in my personal experience they address them quickly and capably.
If Monzo have to wait for an understaffed, underfunded law enforcement agency to give them permission to release funds, they can hardly be blamed.

Stick to outing rogue traders and trying to be funny Watchdog


So… What do I do with all these pitchforks?!

Thanks for sharing the post!

@cookywook - Are monzo able to share any non-restricted statistics about the numbers of these SAR’s made to the NCA?

And could you please explain the difference between this:

Typically, if we discover that activity is not suspicious, an account that has been frozen is reactivated in 10 minutes .


When we can return the money to the customer, we let them know it takes between 2-4 weeks to get it back … On average it takes us 2.7 weeks.

Are both these scenarious SAR reports to the NCA?

Assuming the NCA do give you the consent required, what else needs to happen in that 7-21 day period following?

Sorry for all the questions.


Can you clarify why nobody appeared on the show itself? Were you not given enough time to send someone or something?

I have to say I’m a little disappointed, on the FB group I’ve been defending Monzo in these situations but I didn’t realise there were so many false positives. That’s worrying, frankly. Perhaps your system for determining “dodgy” accounts is far too strict?

Also do you have any plans to review your process for dealing with these accounts? It seems more flawed than other banks if the proportion of flagged accounts is higher than average.


Has brand reputation already been harmed?

Most of us on here understand the reason it is done but that won’t bother the fraudsters or active watchers of watchdog.

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They had an idea for an ice sculpture and had to create a story to go with it :woman_shrugging: