I’m a big fan of ‘open standards’. These are common (or standard) ways of storing information, or systems talking to each other, that are non-proprietary - so that anyone can use them.
The internet is built on them. HTML is an open standard, so are the standards that underpin email (like POP3, IMAP or SMTP) as well as a lot of stuff that we take for granted on our smartphones.
But what does that have to do with Monzo?
I’ve been thinking about how Monzo can help set standards for a new generation of banking. And by making them open, how they have help disrupt/transform/renew* the entire industry.
But having had a brief thought about new stuff, I was inspired by a few posts about integrating Monzo with the calendar in your phone. And thought wouldn’t it be cool to think about how Monzo could move beyond the app and use / improve standards so that Monzo becomes a banking experience more integrated with your smartphone.
Add your Monzo account to your smartphone / laptop the same way that you do with your Google, Apple or Microsoft accounts. Using the iCalendar standard Monzo could publish (with security) your own transactions / upcoming transactions (like direct debits) as a calendar accessible by your favourite calendar app. And, if it were writable too, you’d be able to add your own entries which would come up in the feed. Need a reminder that Bob owes you £10 on Monday? Add it to the Monzo calendar and it’ll pop up on your phone and in the Monzo app. You could potentially also use this to schedule stuff like forthcoming payments in / your salary date, which Summary could do its magic with in the background…
In the same way, if Monzo used something like vCard to store contact details, Monzo could function as your financial services address book (or, if you were minded, your whole address book). By extending the standard to store banking details, you’d have an industry-wide standard way of storing things like IBANs, sort codes and account numbers, together with other contact details (phone, photo etc). It’d also, hopefully, fix the issue of contacts in Monzo.
What would this mean practically? Well, you’d download and login to the Monzo app, it’d ask for your permission to add a calendar and contacts list, then you’d be able to access / create feed information from the calendar, and add/view banking contacts from your address book. You’d even be able to use these sources with other banks (or vice versa) if they let you.
This type of thing can be scary for companies as it’s giving up control. But I think if any bank would be brave enough do it, Monzo would.
What do you think? Any other applications of existing open standards that would help propel Monzo forward?
*pick your buzzword