Does anyone know if the app is bespoke or is it a customized cookie cutter kinda deal?
I think we need to be careful that as a community, we’re not too harsh here. If we try too hard to attack Viola Black, when we have a valid point to make, it’s much more likely to be dismissed.
I do agree with a lot of what’s already been said here, but I thought it’d be fun to share my own thoughts on each of their blog post’s points.
Do people want prepaid cards?
I do see their point here. Especially for travel, for example, something simple can be handy. You might not want all of the bells and whistles of a bank like Monzo, and something like Viola Black could therefore be more appropriate.
Are the fees fair?
These would put me off, and they could be simpler. As a consumer I feel overwhelmed looking at them all. I also think it was the wrong decision to mention Monzo’s financial situation. Starting as a bank is hard and I don’t think there’s value in looking at those numbers.
Is Viola more secure?
I don’t really understand their reply here. If Viola is trying to make everyday spending easier, you’d presumably want a significant amount of money available. Therefore, there wouldn’t be much money in your “main bank account” to protect.
The layer issue
I’m undecided here. It could absolutely be a mistake that they’re trying to cover for. On the other hand, their explanation seems plausible, and I feel like I’ve seen similar design before. I’ll post an example if I find one.
This was a very strange response. I’m not sure, but my admittedly uneducated and potentially wrong understanding is that you could get more compensation than the FSCS offers if you have a problem with Viola. That would assume the bank is still running, though.
Viola have put together a very clever response here. If someone read that blog post, and not our discussion here, I think there’s a high chance they would accept Viola’s points at face value.
Do I think Viola’s a scam?
No, just a prepaid card with high fees. There are likely cheaper options with similar functionality.
Would I use Viola?
It’s definitely not for me.
What do I think of the campaign overall?
Impressive. I don’t think Viola will ever be a competitor to be worried about, though. I see them as appealing to a very small subset of the market.
First point is assuming the ring-fencing stands up. Unlike FSCS, which is a government-backed guarantee, you’re essentially taking it on faith that any company is telling the truth that any funds are ‘ring-fenced and can be returned in the event the company falls over’.
Put it this way, if it all goes tits-up and I’m the receiver, I would be looking very closely at any ‘ring-fenced’ money to see if the ring-fencing holds up or if I can break it and use the money to pay off secured creditors instead.
Second point is, in order to potentially have more money covered than the FSCS does, you’d have to have over £85,000 on a pre-paid card. I mean, that’s clearly ludicrous, isn’t it?
I completely agree. I was trying in my reply to find any way in which what they said could be true - in practice, however, Monzo’s backing feels a lot safer.
I appreciate what you’re doing, and certainly as you show it, Viola may not exactly be fibbing, as it were. But I think we’re well past the point when such contortions bring to mind a phrase involving lipstick and pigs.
With a metal card they would be unstoppable!
What is bad about their campaign is that it uses Monzo’s credibility to create a name for themselves. Is it even legal to have such a campaign about a competitor?
There are now so many articles online comparing Monzo to Viola. I believe it is time for Monzo to post some sort of blog post to distance themselves from this.
I’m still trying to understand why you wouldn’t just use Loot?
I mean if it’s specifically prepaid you’re after, although why exactly you’d want this I’m also unsure.
So in the UK all advertising is ruled by the CAP Code of Practice - which stipulates rules to follow etc and will be the deciding factor in if an ad is misleading or not.
It’s not inherently problematic to name a competitor - you get this all the time with supermarkets and “better than the leading brand” or “cheaper than Tesco” etc. The main thing is that the claims are verifiable and accurate etc.
The rules governing the specifics of competitor ads are:
(Click to read it’s long)
So point 1) would be “is this a comparison and not just marketing puffery”,
If yes, then the areas of concern could be 1) are they Comparing like for like? (Prepaid vs current accounts, high fees vs no fees moslty), 2) could it cause confusion between the two brands - unlikely, 3) are the products meeting the same need - probably.
So I think the only ground would be along the lines of “they are implying their service is better that Monzo, however they have a significant cost structure not made clear on the advert that Monzo do not, and is not comparable, therefore misleading”.
At a stretch.
But to be honest, the worst that would happen is Viola get told to not run the campaign again.
It’s weird that they’re using Monzo but have openely said they’re not claiming to be a bank
We’ve talked to them and after these adverts come down, they won’t be using our name again…
It was a nice friendly chat and all is well
Bodes well for the impact that Monzo is generating when another company is trying to grab some attention.
I wouldn’t actually mind them using Monzos name if they were providing a similar product with notable improvements/benefits. Kinda like Aldi ads which show price comparisons to a basket shop in other supermarkets.
But this is just plain confusing. It will cost you money and it features less benefits
Well summed up,
The woman in this advert makes me wanna cut my ears off