What differentiates Mondo?


I’ve been an Alpha Tester for the last few weeks, and I’m very keenly interested in the concept of a modern, digital-first bank. However I know there are a few startups all working towards this goal concurrently. Starling being one and Atom being the furthest ahead, with a full banking licence already granted.

From the sounds of things, everyone will be launching in 2016. Although the actual product details of some are being kept under wraps until launch, I was wondering how the Mondo team feel about this and what will be their core differentiator? In other words, why will Mondo be the ‘winner’ in the new digital bank space?

This question may seem premature but I’m tempted to take part in the crowdfunding round so would love to know!


Ben King


Hi Ben,

Interesting question, and I bet everyone in the team has a different view on this!

Personally, I think the real differentiator is that we already have a product out there that we are testing, which means that we are building what you all want. When we get enough comments about a particular thing, we change it. When enough people ask for something, we build it.

We also consider ourselves to be competing with existing banks, and the same point works here.

Having used the app, what do you think sets us apart?


That’s a great question, actually, because

  1. There will be competitors in the UK (i.e. TransferWise are building a current account, too)
  2. There will be foreign competitors coming in (number26 is now only active in Eurozone, but they are thinking of expanding to other European countries, too)

Not sure building what consumers want is a good differentiator, as different people want different things, and it’s not possible to build all of them, plus too many features will piss off people who like minimalism.

I think one of the core differences between Mondo & Atom is that Mondo is building their full technology stack themselves and will be in full control of their costs. A “bank with an API” makes you go “so what?” at first but it does mean a diverse ecosystem with Mondo providing the best products and smoothest sign-up experience for the other fintech products.

The Mondo plan seems to be realising this exact vision of a Fintech bank - http://thefinanser.com/2015/04/why-fintech-banks-will-rule-the-world.html

This slide deck is a bit hidden but very helpful in the investment decision making - https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/mondodownloads/Mondo_Investment_Crowdcube.pdf

Keeping in mind that Mondo will have very low operating costs compared to traditional banks with branches, and that Metro is now valued in the £800M region, the future looks pretty bright for Mondo.

Customer acquisition will really be driven by what package Mondo is able to offer (freebies!) or absence of charges (international/bounced payments /…) to get people to switch accounts. Once they are with Mondo, they won’t leave.

There is already 30 000 people on the waiting list and I can bet the tech community & youth across the nation will be the first targeted by Mondo, a slice of the population with decent amounts of money in the bank and/or with no interest in old school banking which would be good for the investment plan.

Wondering now how Mondo will deal with cashing in cheques. The paperless cheque you can cash in with a photo is not far - Barclays are testing that out currently - but not sure paper submissions via mail can be done away with completely in the short term.

I’m definetely going to be investing in Mondo personally.

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In comparison, Atom is using the same IT infrastructure as the old banks (a newer version apparently) but they will be constrained by the complexity & cost of those upgrades like the high street banks.

Despite this they do have some interesting things planned with their app being built on a gaming engine and using all sorts of advanced user authentication methods.

At the end of the day until a product is out, we won’t really know which one is going to win customers over.

A lot of what will differentiate Mondo is what customer base they will be trying to recruit. My mum definetely won’t be one of them - she loves her paper statements and uses cheques all the time, has never used online banking, let alone mobile banking.

Some banks offer sign-up bonuses, which are not very effective (open the account, take the thing and leave) but some kind of long term reward scheme for being a Mondo customer would be a good hook (e.g. free cinema tickets / spotify / netflix /… ) - those would retain customers but maybe would be a paid for account, free over a certain threshold of monthly payment into the account.

don’t think there are quite 300,000 on the waiting list - maybe 35,000 by now - still a fairly impressive number considering how long they have been up and running.

Correct an extra zero slipped in there. It’s 30 000 - see page 8 of the crowdcube PDF above.

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Any thoughts about buddybank? Even though, it will operate in Italy, and from 2017.
And also reguarding integration with third-parties such as Nutmeg for example?

This was an interesting Atom vs Mondo comparison i saw on twitter earlier:



I’d struggle to say Atom is even “UX-ing” banking, I played around with their app for a couple of hours and it’s possibly the single most confusing experience I’ve had in a banking app. That’s before you even start looking technically at their use of Unity and lack of any kind of accessibility.

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I actually heard about Atom bank before Mondo - despite being on the waiting list since they very first announced it over a year ago, I still have not received an invite. There response was that I must of made a typo - I explained to them I had registered 2 e-mail accounts, neither of them have any invites and it’s been well over a year. They then told me they put me on the waiting list. I queried where I was on the list recently and they said that I’m not on it and that I must of made a typo…not a good experience.

I then downloaded the Atom app, just to see what things were like and oh dear…the app is awful, I don’t think words can explain how bad it is, obviously no end user testing was done.

I’m really glad I’m on the Mondo bandwagon, customer service has always been fantastic and the app is great! (and usable).


Thankfully it turns out that Atom is pretty useless. They’re using off the shelf banking systems (so they have all the existing problems of banks) plus an atrociously poor mobile app.


If you want to be one of the first to use and check out Starling, they’ve just started a waiting list.

You can use my short link here to add yourself to the list of first users: http://bit.ly/joinus-megan

Thought it was a bit suspicious to bump a 3 month old thread :stuck_out_tongue:


if you’ve got a Mondo card you should be getting some good ideas to follow when you actually release your app :wink:


Lol couldn’t help myself :joy:

@Meg Ive signed up to see what you’ve done at Starling and looking forward to seeing what differentiates Starling from Mondo, ( if anything :wink: ) is there anywhere where anybody can see your app or are you just going to launch it and hope people like it ?


Hey @anon95680666 - thanks for signing up! :slight_smile: We’re totally on the same page with valuing having users co-create the product with us and give us feedback early and often. Doesn’t really make sense to build without feedback then release in one big bang.

We take a bit of a different approach from Mondo and aren’t as public (though totally respect their approach too, different but definitely a cool way of doing it too), but work with our early users who signed up to use Starling in the early days, and they’re involved in using/testing/giving feedback on our product.

So we’re doing something similar with a our early users, and have a similar Community board etc, it’s just not open publicly yet. :slight_smile:

Also, not sure if you’re on the technical side, but I’m recruiting an early group of our users who want to be the first to access our API and hack around with it. If you’re interested in joining, let me know! I’ll put you on the list and get you access :slight_smile: we’re also going to invite some of those devs to come and use part of our office space for free (we have way too much space in our new office!) so you can work alongside us…literally, and give us feedback in real time by swivelling your chair over to my desk :slight_smile: Feel free to email me at megan.caywood@starlingbank.com if that sounds appealing.

sounds very similar to what Mondo do - you should maybe check out some of the career opportunities at Mondo if you like joining in with the Mondo community - not sure they could guarantee you as much space as you are offering - I think they are in quite a busy office :wink:

just out of interest how many “private” users have you got testing at the moment ?

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If I remember well both Tom & Jonas used to work for Starling bank but got fed up with their CEO’s approach & started Mondo instead.