I’ve noticed in the past 2 years Monzo has slowly been hitting a stagnation point. In 2017, Monzo was seen as an innovation and a rebel. If you ask me, what useful features have been added in the past 2 years, I am unable to recall even one.
The fact that they removed the “Transparent Monzo Product Trello Board” is the first step towards the usual, opaque, distant banking. Their social media staff is also extremely weak with their “Ask us anything and we’ll give you a one-word reply” tweets. Instead of that, I want to hear some daily news and updates from the product people, developers, designers. Even if it’s a photo with a “Loans team ate our cake!” tweet.
In 2019, they posted 17 technical blog posts. In 2020 only 4.
Of course, it’s my subjective view, but it just feels a little bit sad. Unless they are working on something huge behind the scene.
Just having an app where you can check your transactions in real-time is a 2016-2017 achievement. Every new fintech startup has that now. How will Monzo differentiate itself in the future?
@Revels I mean, I understand it is not as simple as it sounds. But then again, lean startup burning 77mil on salaries and delivering a handful of customer-facing features?
In 2018, Tom was talking about turning Monzo into a financial hub (like e-commerce) where you can easily choose your phone plan, energy supplier, insurance etc. Something that hasn’t been done before. But I haven’t heard anything since.
@tbutz Well, if they hadn’t got rid of the Trello board, there would be.
@Anarchist Again - my personal opinion and take it with a grain of salt, but while those cards look cool, they do not add any value compared to competitors. I mean look - even Lloyds debit card (which is free) has cashback on over 20 partners.
@Revels Oh man, don’t do this. I said I cannot recall useful features. That’s definitely subjective. You counted a few in your reply. So I said a handful…
Everyone needs to be paid. But what comes out as output is up to the leadership.
(Sorry, I will have to escalate this.)
Well I’m in complete agreement with the OP.
Been banging this drum in 2019, and throughout 2020 saying it’s stagnant.
All legacies have caught up, no innovation at all. The app is a pig’s ear now, copywriting gone to crap. Plus is still a turd.
The 2016-18 devs must be shuddering as to what it’s become.
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Sure, I agree with that. But you asked what useful features they had introduced. Plus and Premium are useful for some, paying in cash is useful for some. Whilst none of these are useful to me at the moment, they are still useful.
Part of the reason development slows is due to the level of regulation (I’m not saying this is a bad thing btw…)
But when we were rapidly developing and throwing out new features we were (for the most part) a pre-paid card, and didn’t have a banking licence. We also have a lot more customers now and so development, quite rightly, is no longer about the MVP approach. We take longer to do user research, polish, work with risk and compliance, our regulators and so it takes time to ship.
I’ve mentioned this before though but Mike constantly refers to shipping being our heartbeat and we have lots planned for 2021. I can’t wait to see some of the ideas come to fruition.
Of course that doesn’t mean everybody will like them, or find them useful. Monzo isn’t aiming to be the only bank in the world though. For some people other banks will be a better fit for their needs, and that’s okay. If we spent our lives trying to please everybody, then we’d end up pleasing nobody.
Some good points, here! Feel like I should try and answer some.
I wrote a lengthier reply about this here. But the tl;dr is that it’s harder to maintain this at scale since it’s easier for small teams. But our US and Business Banking teams are still continuing in this spirit, as we find new ways to let everyone know what our plans are for the main account.
I’m sorry you don’t like these. They’re intended as a way for us to engage with our following on social media as a bit of fun.
That’s fair. @MakingMonzo has been a bit quiet recently. It was much easier to grab this kind of content when we were all in the office. We also won’t have this kind of news to share every day, I’m afraid.
We’ve got more planned! There was also furloughs, redundancies, and a global pandemic in 2020. These made things a bit more difficult.
Following yesterday’s news, you can expect us to start shouting a bit more about ‘the future’ in coming weeks. Stay tuned
There is, I think, a difference between stagnation and innovation.
On the 2021 wish-list topic, I said:
Bring back real innovation! Monzo seemed stagnant last year (which you can forgive, because P-word) but I’d like to see them leading the pack again. The paid accounts were worthy but uninspiring - and a bit ‘me too’. Genuine innovation - thinking of Monzo as a platform rather than a bank account - please!
I stand by that. But I also think that Monzo can’t be accused of stagnation. Indeed, I’m often puzzled by the accusation that Starling is out-performing Monzo, when I just don’t think that’s true.
In 2020 (year of the pandemic, remember), Monzo delivered:
Two new paid accounts (which if you break it down includes features like open-banking for credit cards, current accounts and savings accounts; virtual cards; different ‘round-ups’; credit scores in the app).
A new open-banking platform
Easy bank transfers
Two Business accounts
Web interface (for business)
So I don’t understand the accusation that Monzo is standing still.
Returning to my quote above, I think there is an argument about innovation.
While I’m happy with the paid-for Monzo accounts, I think that the initial offerings are fairly uninspiring and a bit ‘me too’. I’m looking for a bit more of the wow-factor. And a bit more of creating the future, rather than following in others’ footsteps.
But all-in-all, I think it’s unfair (and incorrect) to say that Monzo has stagnated. I think 2021 will be a bit of a pivotal year - I’m keen to see Monzo rise to the challenge, though.
There’s a difference between throwing features at the wall hoping they’ll stick as some think innovation is, and doing the right thing for users at the right time. I would always take the second approach, even if it isn’t as flashy.