We’re Building Monzo into a Marketplace

Head of Partnerships @philhewinson explains why the bank of the future will be a marketplace, and how we’re going about building it! :rocket:


Loking forward for the Marketplace to go live. It would be interesting see how users will utilise their new Open Banking powers. Monzo will have to be competitive for us (it’s customers) to utilise and take advantage of Marketplace offerings. @philhewinson mentioned early tests in his blog, feedback was not too great on that and it was not really competitive.
Monzo will have to manage expectations of its users, privacy and profits carefully imo.

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It could also be by making helpful suggestions. Say you’ve just bought a flight, booked a hotel, or landed in another country. We’ll know if you don’t already have travel insurance, and will be able to offer you a choice of cover. You could then buy insurance from within the Monzo app, so you’re protected while you’re away.

I’m all for partnerships, but I know there is a lot of concern about this becoming “advertising” and I really think this could be construed as pushing adverts. I understand the good intent but many will not :confused:


I really think this would be most accurately described as advertising. No construing needed…


there is a lot of concern about this becoming “advertising”

Exactly. If you want to buy travel insurance, do you want a choice of one company and policy, or do you think you might be better off shopping around? It’s one of the concerns I have with services like Amazon Echo. If you ask it to reorder a product you lose the ability to shop around, to choose a different supplier, or a different amount of the product which may have cost savings.

I agree but there’s also a choice to be made there. Do you go for convenience or cost. It’s a question with no right answer since it all depends on how you choose to value your time at that particular moment.

My understanding is that (eventually) Monzo will offer a range of suppliers for a particular category (say, travel insurance), but they will all have been vetted to offer some minimum level of service. I think it will take a while for this to build, but I don’t believe they’re aiming to just provide one option per service. Just my understanding, I have no inside knowledge.

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True. I’m one of those who would rather make my own choices and clearly, though I might get better service or cheaper price, the cost to me is time and inconvenience. So to me, it is just advertising.

For complex purchases such as insurance, though, it’s important that the product is suitable for the client. I’m not sure that Monzo will ever know enough about its customers to be sure of getting that right

I think you are right and I had same understanding. Monzo will give you choice here is quote from a blog @tom wrote back in Feb 2016

If you have some money left over at the end of the month, imagine being able to move it into a P2P lending platform with one click. Or being able to choose a mortgage from any one of a number of providers based on your previous spending habits and income.

I wasn’t a fan of the Bulb offer popping up in the feed a few months back, but in theory I wouldn’t mind a marketplace. If it was a section I could see all offers, and the occasional message ‘We think we might be able to save you money on your gas bill - find out more?’ would be quite appealing. And the ability to see them all, and not only have them show up to people they’re targeted to, would help - I think knowing only a subset of users saw the Bulb offer made it feel a bit more invasive, if it was something anyone could get to (even if it wasn’t a feed item, just listed in a ‘Marketplace’ tab that I could browse) that feel like it would be better.

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Sigh. This makes me sad. Compare to Starling’s blog a couple of weeks ago:

We’ll also never be pushy — they’re just there in Marketplace to provide you with choice if you decide to go that way.

I prefer Monzo to Starling in most ways, but I just have no interest in a bank whose business model is pushing unsolicited ads at people, well targeted or not.

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I :100: agree with you — in case it’s not clear, this is very much not our intention and I hope will never be :slight_smile:


Totally — as with everything we do, we’ll be building this in partnership with you, our community! I hope we’ve proven that with our attitude up to now and our approach to building Monzo, and nothing is going to change about that :slight_smile: We’re right at the beginning of building this marketplace and the last thing any of us wants is to pollute your Monzo app with useless ads that you don’t want!


I’m glad you agree, but the examples in this blog post (especially the travel insurance and energy ones) seem to be describing exactly what I don’t want.

I guess this is the good thing about having so much competition. I can go somewhere else that doesn’t try to monetise through advertising, even if in other ways it’s not quite as good. Meanwhile people who don’t mind can stick with Monzo - experience in other industries suggests that will be the majority.

Do you know what would be a good medium to compare partnerships, so that the mobile app doesn’t feel overcrowded?

A website :wink:


There seem to be a lot of assumptions here about the marketplace interface and interaction model, even though no details of these have been given. Nothing about the blog post precludes this being handled in a sensible way. It’s probably best not to jump to conclusions. Monzo were clear that the Bulb test was testing the mechanics of the partnership, and was not representative of the interface.


but what else would we do if we weren’t jumping to conclusions on how Monzo will develop their offering :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


It seems to be really interesting, and i think that they are going to succeed!

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Yeah that’s fair. The travel insurance example in the blog post does strongly suggest pushing out ads though, rather than being totally passive and hidden. The only way I’d use Monzo would be if there was no way to see these ‘offers’ without actively seeking them out.

I have no doubt they’ll succeed, and I wish them the best of luck. I just won’t personally be part of it.

Id never heard of Bulb, or Moneybox etc until I came onto these forums.

For me I would hate adverts offering to save £2 a month switching to say British Gas.

What I would find useful would be Monzo flagging up companies like Bulb and Moneybox who are not mainstream, but may have something to offer that the big names dont.

I wouldn’t switch to save a couple of £s but I might switch to a more ethical or more green or more interesting company that is doing things a bit differently.