Testing & Rollout

(Alex Sherwood) #1

Read on for a user’s explanation of how the current account testing & rollout should be working..

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(Simon B) #2

I’m not sure what you mean exactly by holiday season but I’ve not personally seen anything to indicate that our growth will slow over the colder months. Actually, large parts of our growth happened over the fall, winter, and early spring. In that time we went from around 50,000 users to 200,000.

Whilst we saw a small spike over summer due to an affiliate deal with MSE whereby some people were drawn in by the fee-free travel, it’s a very much a minority of users that are using us as a “travel card” and who aren’t active when they return from abroad.

(Simon B) #4

Slow down a bit! :grinning:

We don’t have 700,000 users on prepaid, we have just shy of 400,000.

Also - the current account hasn’t launched, so to infer that we’ve been unable to move x amount of people is simply not correct.

What we have launched is an alpha preview that you specifically have to register interest for. The amount of people that have it now is almost precisely the amount of people that we’ve offered it to.

The idea is to scale the growth of the preview at a reasonable rate that allows us to address the new issues that come with a current account that don’t exist on prepaid. For example, right now, there’s a handful of companies that don’t accept our sort code because the databases aren’t updated to include it yet. This isn’t a huge issue with 1k-2k users. It would be a bigger issue with 10,000 users. Also - we need to train our support staff on current account issues - so far we’ve moved 3 support staff over from prepaid to current account support and are hoping to move another 5-6 staff over, in the next couple of weeks.

The logistics aren’t an issue. We could have offered the preview to a larger group of people at this point but we deliberately chose not to. There’s a reason we did this as an alpha preview, because when you get to the point where you’re asking hundreds of thousands of people to use you as their main bank, you need to have done due diligence to squash as many issues as possible. Plus the fact that all the features from prepaid still need to be built to support the current account, which will take another month or two!

(Simon B) #6

This is where we disagree.

We think it’s better to make the Alpha Preview available for those who want to help us test the core features of the final product and are happy to provide detailed feedback and help us locate issues in order to get early access. It’s become overwhelmingly clear that our community agree with this approach.

This is actually exactly what we did with the prepaid system back in 2015 and it worked phenomenally well. In fact, quite a few people on this forum still have their original Mondo Alpha prepaid cards.

With regards to features, we froze development on major feature updates on the prepaid system deliberately because we don’t have the resources to build things twice. The infrastructure of the prepaid system is different to the infrastructure of the current account.

(Simon B) #8

Easy - That sort code didn’t exist a few months ago.

Actually, we didn’t even have that sort code when we began initial staff testing of debit cards in late June.

I feel like it’s worth pointing out that we only got our full banking license in April. I am not sure you have a realistic idea of how much work goes into building this stuff out.

(Simon B) #11

They have been, though.

The full current account at launch will be identical from a user experience point of view to the prepaid Beta - except that you’ll be able to have your salary paid in, have your bills paid via direct debit, and be able to make instant bank transfers to non-Monzo account via faster payments.

All the other features from the Beta that people love - card freezing, instant notifications, rich merchant data, Monzo-to-Monzo payments, smart budgeting/targets, 24/7 customer support, will all still be there. And plenty more on the way!

(Simon B) #13

That all depends on whether you think the idea of the beta was solely to test infrastructure or also to determine whether a product and it’s feature set are viable and are things that people actually want to use.

I actually think the tech is the easy part if you have a talented team. What’s hard is getting half a million people to look at a fundamental part of their life - their bank account - in a completely new way. On that basis, do I think our Beta was wasted? Not at all.

(Simon B) #15

The part that I’m struggling with is the reference to “a change in direction” - we’ve said all along that this was the plan and been nothing but transparent every step of the way. Originally, our founders felt that we might get a few thousand people on board. It turned out that there were quite a lot of people looking for something new, and word spread fast! We’ve been open about the limitations of the prepaid scheme and how these limitations won’t exist with the full product.

I’d venture to say that most of our users now aren’t interested in the backend or the infrastructure - only the features. The details of how we move from prepaid to current account are only of interest to a small minority. For most people, they’ll receive an alert that we’ll be sending them a new card, and when they activate it, they’ll have access to some new features, and all the things they love will still be there.


I think Monzo testing with small amount of people on a ad hoc basis with a sort code that wasn’t ready is a good idea. They can test out with a reduced customer service during the week 9-6 with people agreeing and signing up with the required criteria. They can then get all dds and payments tested and then try educate those companies that don’t. So that when the people whom to what to convert can and they have done the leg work for us. This is my personal opinion and I am only looking on how I see Monzo and how their approaching this. I am currently with Starling with no major issues but like to see both as I may switch to Monzo or run both.

(James Brierley) #18

I’ve been a Mondo Alpha user since 2015. It was always made clear to me that Monzo were building a full stack bank with all technology built in house but whilst they were in their pre-paid phase prior to having a banking lisence they were using wirecard.

I’ve read through all your points @AndySW9 and I’m struggling to see what your exact point is. Perhaps it’s worth waiting until December when Monzo have stated that the full bank account will have been rolled out to everyone and see then how many people they have managed to convert.

Alas you are a far better man than me by being happy with your legacy bank!

(Dan) #20

Agreed… Been a Monzo Beta user since early 2016. Not sure what you think has changed since then?

They stated from the beginning how this whole process is going to happen and have kept true to it.

Also. Looking through your comments, it appears you feel Monzo is trying to hide the fact that they’re a business. Whilst this couldn’t be further from the truth. They have communicated with the community many times about potential revenue streams, future products and how they plan on monetising. If you have missed those posts - I would kindly suggest you don’t try and fill in those gaps with assumed worst cases.


Here here. I tend to think of them as the Monzo extremists.

One mans fan is another mans zealot.

(Alex Sherwood) #22

Let’s not get into name calling. If you disagree with someone’s post please respond directly or flag the post for the team’s attention.


It is a double-edged sword. There are many Monzo fans who give in depth factual responses to user questions but equally if anyone dare express a slight difference of opinion on Monzo functionality or features they get rounded on as some fanboys can’t accept a difference of opinion. What could be a calm discussion of contrasting views often looks like one side is being attacked. Luckily Leaders sometimes step in and calm things down


I’m curious @alexs as to why you started this thread? Was it do draw attention to the views of @AndySW9 that didn’t quite fit into the Monzo narrative or for some other reason?

I get the distinct impression that you were trying to ridicule him for whatever reason or at least that is how it looks to the casual reader.

(Alex Sherwood) #25

Andy’s posts were focused on Monzo rather than Starling feedback. Since they were off topic, they needed to be moved & this topic was created so that I’d have somewhere to move them to.

(Eve) #26

I’m trying very hard to understand what points you’re trying to make, tbh. Are you trying to point out how Monzo should be doing the CA/ simply saying it is unfeasible to convert everyone to CA?

Everyone welcomes opinions on here but you just have to make sure you are sure about what you’re claiming- the burden of proof is on each individual (saying “not going to look these up, pedants” when those % are important?)- and no one wants to play tone police but it seems to me like you’re saying “this is a delightful thing but not quite worth my time, imo, this is how it should work and I won’t accept any others. And oh by the way you have no idea what you’re doing”.

I don’t have any background in IT/ finance and don’t necessarily understand the reasoning behind or like all the features Monzo introduces (if you look at the discussion threads, it’s never about a bunch of fans sitting around swearing eternal loyalty to this “brand”. As with the case of contentious threads like the Bulb ads, CA launch, overdrafts, regulars/ leaders put forth their reasoning for liking/not liking something instead of playing the “everyone is attacking me for having a difference in opinion” card. If you can explain your reasoning behind a feature you dislike and what you think can be changed, other users are more likely to respond positively to it/ engage in a healthy debate

(Alex Sherwood) closed #27

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