Digital bank Monzo has taken the UK by storm, thanks to its app-based, customer-centric tools and brand. And now it’s coming to the US. Monzo announced Thursday that it would be setting up shop in Los Angeles this summer, and invited potential customers to sign up on its wait list in order to get their hands on one of its app-linked Mastercard debit cards when they become available.
Monzo arrived on the UK banking scene in 2015 and quickly gained traction with people keen tomanagement. In the early days, places on Monzo’s wait list were keenly fought over, and its signature neon coral contactless bank cards have since become a common sight at around the country.
It’s just one of a new breed of “challenger banks” — banks designed to introduce new tools and features that serve digital natives in a way the traditional banking industry hadn’t been doing. But it’s a competitive market, with rivals at every level. These include other UK financial tech startups such as Revolut and Starling, new services likeand even established banks, which are starting to step up their game.
But Monzo, now the UK’s fastest-growing bank, has particularly resonated with consumers. Today, it boasts over 2 million UK customers and says 40,000 people open an account with the company every week.
One possible reason could be that a central part of Monzo’s brand is handing decisions about what the bank should look like (including its name), and what features it should have, over to its customer base. As such, when it arrives in the US, it won’t seek to replicate exactly what it’s done in the UK, but adapt to serve its new clientele.
Initially, a “light” version of Monzo will provide US customers with some existing features, including instant spending notifications, person-to-person payments, pots to split savings from spending money and fee-free spending abroad. The next step will involve hosting events in US cities to find out what features people want from the bank and build them in.
Monzo hasn’t established its official bank status in the US just yet, so instead it will be working with a partner bank to make sure your money is fully protected. It is applying to become a fully licensed bank.
Flourishing in the US market will be a much bigger challenge for the startup, but withand consumers adopting new payment behaviors, it’s as good a time as any to give it a go.