I have to say that my experience with Monzo has been a very positive one so far.
However, something has been nagging at me for a while.
When Monzo was started, it was said to benefit from being a fresh new bank, unencumbered by creaking old technology and without the overhead of a branch network. That made it fast-moving and able to introduce some genuinely innovative features, quickly, but which are now becoming more mainstream. However, Monzo doesn’t seem to have benefitted as much from this as I would have thought.
I think the big problem is that it started as a top-up card. We all got used to transferring just enough money into Monzo as we wanted. The rest of our money was held elsewhere. Despite it getting its banking licence, I suspect that they’ve struggled to get people to move all their banking across. I think Monzo needs us to do that in order to generate profits. Steps like being paid early, account switching, offering overdrafts (even if apparently being a bit tight with allowances), and bill pots certainly help. That’s why I recently moved over. But it seems not to be enough right now.
Unfortunately this has made Monzo desperate to generate money by other means.
They seem to have decided that the way forward isn’t more encouragement to move your funds across or other innovative steps; it’s to sell other types of accounts. That failed and now they’re trying again, seemingly without having learnt much. I don’t expect v2 to go much better.
All of a sudden, our futuristic bank starts to look like the big old banks. While we all started as one group of nerdy enthusiasts, it now choose to split us into groups, straining its values. The boring ‘regular’ account holders versus those with the money to gain more benefits. Valued people who want to stand apart with their metal cards and their different colours and possibly front-of-queue service.
And then Watchdog. Which, frankly is a s**tshow. I haven’t cringed so much in years. So self-inflicted. And not to respond on the show. My God. And then the embarrassment as friends I’ve lauded Monzo to asked me if I’d seen that my money isn’t safe. Thanks for that.
So I think there have been some missteps. There was always going to be. I hope that Monzo will soon get back to thinking of exciting features that customers can’t get elsewhere and to use that to encourage account transfers.
In the meantime, I’m happy to keep my banking with Monzo… but my old account stands ready if I need a quick exit!!