Signup amount

(ole) #1

What’s the best amount we should ask users to top up with when they register for a Monzo card?

This is a question we have been asking ourselves since we launched our first alpha cards in November last year. On one hand, we don’t want it to be prohibitively expensive. Not all users will have money available to transfer to a new card. On the other hand, cards are expensive to produce and send out, we are a startup with limited resources and we want to ensure that cards we send out will be given a chance and not just end up in a drawer.

The first users were asked to top up £50. Back then, you could only top up with a bank transfer which can be a bit of a faff to set up and takes a day or two so to go through this pain, you needed to be convinced that it is worth doing. £50 doesn’t necessarily buy enough time for a new user to experience the value of Monzo. A couple of visits to the supermarket or a big night out and the money is gone. So we increased it to £100 and have kept it there since.

Topping up £100 has worked well in many ways. It gives people a fair chance to give it a go and see if Monzo is something they want to keep using. But £100 can also be a significant amount of money - especially at the end of the month.

To find out what the right amount is, we’ll be running an experiment over the coming weeks: Some users will be asked to top up the usual £100 while others will be asked to only top up £25.

We wanted to let you know here to be as transparent as possible and reduce any confusion users might have from this. But we’d also love to hear your opinion! What is the ideal amount we should be asking for, that will not only allow most people to try out Monzo but also allow most people to experience whether Monzo is something for them or not?

Initial top up differences?
( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #2

I think that will create quite a bit of ill feeling - when a Monzo user has convinced friends to sign up one is asked for £100 and one is asked for £25 - if you go by the reviews on the android app, people felt cheated when they found out they have to sign up with £100, imagine the outcry when they find out their friends signed up for less -

It should be the same amount for all new users - whether its £50, £25, or a £100

personally £50 is a fair compromise to increase the availability to more potential users, which is less of an amount of money than currently, yet still quite a few transactions to see what Monzo can offer.

Wonder how people would feel about having two choices ? initially paying for a card to cover the cost of producing and sending the card and then topping up with a tenner option ? or a larger initial top up - hmmmm, not sure I would want to pay for a card to be able to sign up with a smaller first top up - but peoples financial situations are different :slight_smile:

I topped up with £50 initially last December , spent 10.35 in Sainsburys the first day then topped up another £50 the next day and spent 9.97 , topped up another £20 the next day, then spent two transactions in the pub and then topped up a larger amount because the app did what it said it would do, having used it on a few occasions -
sold on it ever since :slight_smile:

(Kieran McCann ) #3

I do think that a £50 top up is a nice middle amount where it will have people using the app but not having to worry about their money. What about if you invite a friend to join Monzo you could be promoted to pay a lower fee (£25) for them to recive their card? I don’t know how simple that could be but it might be something to look into.

(Ash Kierans) #4

The other alternative is a trade off.

Give all users the option of £50 or £100 at the point they sign up, but have two queues, make users aware that the other £100 queue will be processed maybe at a rate of 2 or 3 @ £100 for every one £50 sign up that gets processed.

This would probably in part solve the problem around people who paid £100 that might get aggrieved that people can sign up for less.

Also, there’s the thought about giving Students the option to sign up for less that was bandied about a while back, and how it’s unfair to other lower income sectors in society. If you adopted the model above I reckon that would be a pretty fair compromise?

( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #5

if I “only” had £50 would I feel aggreived ?

I think its far less controversial to have one amount for all - there have been a few “complaints” that £100 is too much in the forum history , there have been “complaints” that students getting a £25 sign up period was unfair - I think its a good idea to reduce the sign up fee , but have it set at one amount , because that takes away another reason not to sign up to try out Monzo, which is good for everybody - more customers gives Monzo more clout with negotiating deals for the benefit of Monzo and its customers


I think it’s reasonable to reduce the sign-up fee now that you’ve got some good traction. Setting the bar higher earlier on stops a lot of time wasters etc
I think the need for top-up is a lot clearer, for those who read what they’re signing up for.

You could have an option for those who are willing to top up £100, or more, from the off where they don’t need to queue. It’s a trade off; they’re willing to put their money down immediately, why not let them skip the queue? Those who don’t want to can pay £25/50 when they get to the top.


I think a single top-up amount for all new users would be seen as most fair from existing and new customers. But I understand the need to try to discourage vexatious applications and applications from those who will never use the card. So how about altering the reward?

Monzo must have some idea of the cost of acquiring a new customer, the cost of servicing a new card/account, and the rate of drop out at various stages. The initial top up is never a “fee” nor “charge” since the user can potentially spend all the money added at any time. Some ideas to change the reward aspect and Monzo desired outcomes might include:

  • Low initial top up (say £10 or £25). the same for everyone
  • Provide an initial encouragement to users to get into the Monzo habit (e.g. if the initial top up is more than £100 add £5 free after say 6 months) but make sure this can’t be used as an attack against Monzo to gain money (fake account creation automated attack)
  • Allow existing customers get the reward once too (since they weren’t offered it the first time!)
  • Consider a fixed non-returnable fee of £5 for a new card, and no minimum top-up, but maybe the fee is credited back to the account in the medium term after spend reaches £1,000 in the first two years [note some/many new customers think the initial top up IS a fee, so why not make it a fee?]
  • Close dormant accounts, with the start-up fee or less, automatically after 3 months of no use, and all funds kept by Monzo (update the T&Cs)

The cost/reward needs to be calculated using real Monzo data, so monetary and period values in the above are just examples.

(Ben Green) #8

Each card costs them approximately £40 to produce and send out. On top of that there’s maintaining all of servers, paying third-party services, paying for transport and entry to exhibitions and the like, plus paying their own staff.

They do invest what they can from the balance that we keep with them, plus have acquired several million in the form of outside investment. Despite all that they’re still currently making a loss of about £40 per year per customer, which will be less when the full bank launches and begin turning profits when offering overdrafts and partnering with other services.

I doubt Monzo will be able to afford to reduce the sign up amount, not without more investment anyway.


£40?! Holy shit. I was expecting £10 at most. Madness.

( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #10

lol I think I started this unfounded rumour, I would guess the card , sending out the card and staff managing the card for a year costs in the region of £40 the actual card doesnt cost £40 :slight_smile:

(Spencer Deane) #11

My personal opinion is that it needs to be £10. My reasons for this is that it should be low to encourage more people to try it for themselves where they feel £100 is too much of a risk. Also I want a Monzo card for my daughter so that I can send her pocket money to her card and she certainly is not getting £100 pocket money! I also have another daughter that’s a student at university. I think the features that Monzo offers to help her monitor her spending will be good. She has a student loan so can transfer her monthly spending allowance to Monzo and know what she has left. I also like the up and coming features such as split bills which will useful amongst students, but still feel £100 is too high to encourage them to use it.

(Ben Green) #12

Unless the daughter you’re giving pocket money to is at least 18, this won’t be possible for some time unfortunately, for reasons explained here

(Rika Raybould) #13

Been thinking this for a while but haven’t had the evidence to challenge it. £40/card is just insane. £40/user for all costs over the entire beta period I could maybe believe!

(Saveen) #14


Well, at least your fake news didn’t get Donald J. Trump elected :wink:

The £40 figure was mentioned in a recent article referenced by @alexs and is the cost per user per year to Monzo.

Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield tells me his startup bank loses on average £40 per year per user at the moment.


Blomfield adds that £40 loss per user per year compares favourably to banks, which will regularly pay over £100 in marketing and offers to acquire a single customer.

(Ben Green) #15

I was looking for that article to reference plus double check if I remembered correctly, obviously not :laughing:. Cheers for linking it though.

(John) #16

I feel that if the idea is to recruit serious users then 10 or 25 GBP doesn’t encourage that. I think 50 to 100 GBP is fair…but should be consistent for everyone …you invest in us as users and we invest in you and your overheads…you are not a charity… If you do go for a tiered first top up why not offer a colour choice or design for higher or 100 gbp initial top ups…? The Coral is just a bit much for me…personal choice…and if I had a choice I would go for something a little more classy/subdued in appearance…

(james_e_bell) #17

Its interesting to me how emotive the initial topup amount is - a £100 (or even £1000!) topup user is not inherently generating any money for Monzo. The amount of money is a test of trust plus ideally having enough money to experience the value of Monzo. But it seems some people still feel they are ‘paying’ monzo? It is still your own money and if you then went and withdrew it from an ATM, Monzo would actually lose money.

Ultimately its in Monzo’s interest (and the communities) to have the barrier as low as possible that:

  1. gives enough cash to demonstrate monzo’s awesomeness
  2. is a valid test of trust

I dont feel that anyone should be aggrieved that people are offered less - Monzo being more popular is good for everyone. The topup is a test barrier. I can see this being nothing one day - and thats a good thing!

( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #18

I agree with James, the quicker Monzo can sign up customers to experience the app the better for Monzo, its customers and its investors.
There are more and more bank startups coming onto the scene that will take from the potential customer pool that Monzo is aiming for, and once gone I think would be more difficult to pull back to the Monzo way of life :slight_smile:

Presumably when Monzo offer a current account it will be a free or virtually free sign up ??? like most banks, having initial thought £50 was a fair first top up to get them using the card , maybe it should be £25 - I still think it should be the same amount for everybody - but surely Monzos aim is customer acquisition, while having some incentive to use the card on receiving it - spending the Initial top up to demonstrate how well it works .

Was Monzo pleased with the Student top up uptake when that was £25 ? was it easier, quicker than the £100 top up take up rates ?

(Kiri Pegram) #19

I’m a bit wary about the fact you are asking me to put £100 onto a card I haven’t received. Will I still get the card if I don’t top up? There’s no way I’m just giving you £100.

(Marta) #20

Hi @KiriShrew, only way to complete Monzo registration is to top up with £100. Monzo is fully licensed bank, BACS participant and whole finance related shenanigans with 350,000 or something users. While I totally understand that company is new and you probably haven’t heard much about it, it has all regulations above itself (which can’t be said about some competitors).

If you are a student, there was some separate scheme, allowing students could top up less than £100. You can probably get more details if you email and ask about it.

Money you top up remain fully yours and you can take whole sum out from ATM on the same day as card arrives - but how would you then experience Monzo wonders, doing so? :sweat_smile: Card usually arrives within 2-3 days top from the time you topped up.

Here are some tweets from other Monzo users:

If you have any questions about top up or related, fire away. Monzo is so awesome, that regular Monzo users like me, will do a lot to convince hesitant users, including writing a reply when I should be in bed already! :smiley: :wink: