Monzo is a bank that customers actually like. Its CEO explains why.
Can the UK’s fast-growing, mobile-native bank make it in America?
Like many people, I first learned about Monzo — which says it’s the UK’s fastest-growing bank — from a customer. I couldn’t help but notice when my friend used his impossibly bright “hot coral” Monzo debit card to split a restaurant bill. What is that thing?
Monzo, founded in 2015, is one of a handful of new-wave UK banks, based on the internet without physical branches. Instead of winning customers with heritage, a zillion financial products, or sheer size, it focuses on useful software, good design, and customer service.
Monzo held two beta sign-up events this month, in San Francisco and Santa Monica, and is launching with its colorful debit card and a simple feature set, planning to iterate quickly.
The US is a different banking market than the UK — credit cards with rewards are a much bigger deal here, and Apple is now entering the field — but Monzo’s successful execution in the UK makes it one to watch.
Last month at Monzo’s London headquarters, I asked CEO Tom Blomfield for an overview of the company and his approach. We talked about Monzo’s most popular features, its unusual long-term business model, the plan for the US, and why Monzo publishes its internal “tone of voice” guide right on its website. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.
Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.
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