Monzo Bank Ltd, founded as Mondo in 2015 by Tom Blomfield, was one of the earliest of a number of app-based challenger banks in the UK. It has now become one of the most famous and successful digital banks in the UK. Monzo’s business model has proven to be a great success so far. Today, we will be diving deep into the Monzo business model to get our answers to the most asked question- “How does Monzo work?”. Alongside, we will also discuss its revenue model in detail. So, without much delay let’s get started.
Monzo – The Beginning
Monzo was founded in 2015 by Tom Blomfield, Jason Bates, Jonas Huckestein, Paul Rippon, and Gary Dolman. It is a UK-based financial services provider which is majorly focused on creating a user’s hub to let them control all their financial needs. A few months after the launch, in 2016, the company made its record for “quickest crowdfunding campaign in history” as it raised £1 million in 96 seconds via the Crowdcube investment platform. Soon after that, it started growing rapidly, and then in October 2018, it reached a valuation of £1 billion. With this, Monzo achieved the “Unicorn” status much before rising to a valuation of £2 billion (in 2019). It has been successful in attracting millions of customers in the UK and has raised more than £400 million in funding.
Initially, Monzo traded as Mondo but in June 2016, a company blog post announced the tradename “Mondo” has been legally challenged by a company with a similar name. As a result, the company registered itself under the name “Monzo Bank Ltd” in August 2016.
Monzo – The Expansion
On 13 June 2019, Monzo announced that it would begin offering its services in the United States through as such no launch date was provided. As a marketing stunt, during the announcement of its expansion in the US, it said that would distribute 2000 debit cards to the customers who will attend the events held by the company in major cities of the US.
The expansion of Monzo in the USA is not so easy. It has to face a more troublesome regulatory environment in the US than in the UK. In the UK, financial technology is nationally regulated and British regulators remain friendly to such companies but it is not the same in the US. Technology regulation in the financial sector is handled at the state level in the US. Here, the company has to face a highly competitive environment with layers ranging from PayPal and SoFi to many other traditional banks that are now heavily investing in digital platforms. As per the latest report, Monzo is still not open to the public in the US.
Monzo Business Model
Monzo is a neobank that offers multiple financial products to both customers and businesses. Before starting to discuss the Monzo business model let’s understand what a neobank is and what are the services that it offers.
So, basically, a neobank is a kind of digital bank without any branches. It is nowhere present physically rather is entirely available online. It is a complete bunch of financial services that every tech-savvy craves for. These banks can be called fintech firms that provide digital and mobile-first financial payments and money transfers, money lending, and more.
Monzo is a digitally enabled bank so it does not have any physical branch that is why we are calling it a neobank. All the company’s products are facilitated to the customers through its mobile app available on iOS or Android. The business model of Monzo is based on several streams. These include subscription fees for business accounts, interest-paid overdrafts, lending to other institutions, or partnerships with energy providers. These all are its income sources. To have a closure look into Monzo’s business model, let’s understand the key points of its business model canvas.
- Key Partners: Monzo’s key partners include, Master Card, Apple Pay, Part of the FSCS (UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme), and Crowdcube investment platform. The company’s integration with IFTTT has also allowed various users to connect their accounts to smart devices and services which makes these users key partners. Other major partners are its developers.
- Key activities: The key activities of Monzo include, software engineering, product designing, data analysis, customer support, product management, project management, executive, and legal support. These are the activities that Monzo is engaged in for the primary purpose of making profits.
- Value propositions: The value propositions of the company are:
- To provide a better alternative to users to fulfill all their banking needs.
- To create the world’s first mobile-based bank that keeps the users informed and in control, 24X7.
The company creates value for its account users by being an innovative and user-friendly app that avoids the difficulties faced by people in using traditional banks. It also provides a community hub for recommendations, transparency, and customer contact. Along with this, it has also started providing valuable money management advice in the form of blogs.
- Customer Relationship: Monzo develops a good relationship with its customers by taking steps to fulfill each and every financial need of its customers. Here are some of the key features of the company that it adopts to build a better relationship with its customers:
- Mobile-based bank
- Instantaneity in work proceedings
- Mobile notifications in real-time
- 24/7 customer support through the mobile app
- Feedback and inputs from customers for new improvements
- Customer Segments: Customer segments are the community of customers to whom a company aims to sell its products.
Here is the list of customers to whom Monzo aims to sell its services:
- Digital Nomads
- Offshored services
- Digital natives
- Key resources: They describe the most important assets to run a company successfully, reach market heights, build relationships with customers, and most importantly, earn revenue. For Monzo, the key resources are as follows:
- Digital-only bank platform
- New Field Communication technology at contactless terminals
- Improved data accuracy via crowd-sourced suggestions
- Data Science Technics
- Channels: In the business model canvas of a company, channels are the key elements. They describe how a company communicates with its customers and reaches its customer segments. For Monzo, the channels are:
- Mobile apps
- Monzo MasterCard prepaid debit card
- Apple Pay wallet
- Amazon Alexa
- Monzo’s website
- Community forum
- Monzo’s API
- Slack channel for Monzo developers
- Crowd-funding campaigns
- Social Media
- Cost Structure: Here are all the costs and expenses that Monzo incurs to operate its business model successfully:
- IT infrastructure
- Product roadmap
- Software and engineering
- Customer support
- Marketing and promotion
- Legal support
- UK banking license
- Customer acquisitions
- Customer retention
Borrowing with Monzo
As per the latest news, Monzo has launched Monzo Flex as the latest feature to jump into the BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) market. This will allow users to spread their cost of purchases over three months, interest-free. It also provides a 6 month and 12-month option at a 19% interest rate.
Using the Monzo Flex feature, the user can make a purchase of almost anything as long as the transaction is more than £30 and less than £3000. Some of the excluded cash withdrawals include gambling and crypto. According to the UK data estimates, in 2020, there were £2.7bn in BNPL transactions with 5m people using BNPL services since the beginning of the pandemic. Here are some of the features of Monzo Flex:
- Buy literally anything with Monzo ( unless the price is more than £30 and less than £3000)
- Tap on the transaction and choose to flex it
- Choose your installment plan. Monzo then takes the first installment straight away, and then the installments are taken by Monzo on a monthly basis until you have paid it all of.
Monzo overdrafts can be an ideal option if you are looking to borrow a little extra money to tide you over every now and then. These overdrafts are designed for short-term borrowings and they cost less if you pay them back quickly. Below are the features of Monzo overdrafts:
- Once you borrow using Monzo overdrafts, you will be charged a rate of 19%, 29%, or 39%EAR depending on your credit score
- If you as an account holder are eligible, you could have an overdraft limit of up to £1000. The limit can be changed by the user later and you can also cancel the overdraft any time from the Monzo app. To do so, you will first have to pay the amount you borrowed back, plus the interest
- Monzo doesn’t charge any extra fees for going into your overdraft, and they always tell you when you go into it.
If you go over your agreed overdraft limit, Monzo rejects any payment that takes you over that limit and you won’t be able to cash out. Offline payments are an exception in that case. Also, if you get into an unarranged overdraft, the company charges you the same rate as it would if you were using your arranged overdraft and they will cap the charges at £15.50/ mo so that you will never pay more than that.
If you are eligible, you can apply for a loan using the Monzo app. It asks you three questions to determine your borrowing amount without affecting your credit rating. Below are the benefits of using Monzo loans:
- 5- minute application
- Get the loan of the same day as you apply
- No fees are charged for paying off the loan early
- 27/7 customer support
- 2% APR on loans between £7000- £15000
- 2% APR on loans up to £7000
Who are Monzo’s investors?
According to Crunchbase, Monzo has raised an amount of $648.1 million in funding over 20 rounds and has a total of 34 investors as its backbone. Out of these 34 investors, 6 are the leading investors. Few investors’ names are as follows, General Catalyst, Y Combinator, Goodwater Capital, Stripe, Orange, Passion Capital, Vetamer, Octahedron Capital, Thrive Capital, Accel, etc.
Monzo had raised its latest funding on Feb 8, 2021, from a Series G round.
The rapid growth of fintech companies in the UK, and the rise of digital-only banks, such as Monzo are completely re-shaping the relationship between banks and customers in the UK. Monzo is not the only digital bank challenging the status quo but there are make companies like Starling, Revolut, and N26 that remain one of the top competitors to Monzo in the UK. However, when we look into the features side and the amount of customer engagement then, Monzo streaks ahead of the field.
To replicate Monzo’s marketing strategy a brand has to be customer-centric, should find brand advocates, has to be transparent, and should completely focus on details.
How does Monzo work?
Monzo offers various accounts to its customers including personal, joint, and business accounts. Being a neobank, it does not operate any physical branches instead, all the company’s products are made available through its mobile app (which is available both on iOS and Android).
After installing the app, the user has to complete the authentication and registration process to create an account at Monzo. With this, users receive a Mastercard debit card to be able to spend their money.
Monzo’s highly efficient team consists of customer assistance teams and software experts that manage the server-side operations to assess and onboard their customers. The company maintains partnerships with key providers such as card production and processing organizations. In addition to the financial products, Monzo’s users can engage with the providers to save money through the in-app offerings.
Here is the list of various types of accounts that are available at Monzo:
- Monzo Basic current Accounts: Below are the features of Monzo basic current account-
- You can get a UK current account with savings, borrowings, and overdrafts
- Your money is protected by the FSCS up to a value of £85,000 per person
- Fee-free UK bank transfers are available
- Instant spending notifications, simple ways to send money, pots for separating it, and monthly spending summaries.
- 24/7 support is available through the app
- You can easily pay using your phone via Apple Pay and Google Pay
- No minimum term
- Monzo Plus Accounts: A Plus subscriber gets all the features of the basic account including the additional features of the Monzo Plus account-
- Available at £5 per month
- With a plus account, you can see your other accounts in Monzo
- You get 1.00% AER/Gross (variable) interest up to £2000 on your balance and regular Pots
- The holographic card is provided exclusively to Monzo Plus account holders
- It allows you to divide payments into different categories
- As a Plus account holder, you get a virtual card to avoid using the physical card online
- Credit tracking feature to see the changes in credit scores
- 15% off Patch and many more
- Fee-free withdrawals abroad up to £400 in every 30 days
- Live updates on Google sheets
- 1 free cash deposit a month at PayPoints across the UK
- 3 months minimum term
- Monzo Premium Accounts: A Premium subscriber gets all the free Monzo features, Monzo Plus features and also includes some additional features. These are as follows-
- Metal card is provided exclusively to all the Monzo premium account holders
- Phone insurance
- Worldwide travel insurance that covers you and your family
- Interest on balance and regular Pots [1.50%/1.49% AER/Gross on up to £2000]
- Discounted airport lounge access
- Fee-free withdrawals abroad up to £600 in every 30 days
- 5 free cash deposits a month at PayPoints across the UK
- 6-month minimum term
- Monzo Business Accounts: For a long time, Monzo worked on introducing its business account, and then finally in early 2020, it was open to everyone. Below are the key features that the Monzo business bank account offers-
- Free instant UK bank transfers
- Instant notifications
- Monzo Pots
- Mobile and web access
- Additional integrated business tools
- Digital receipts and in-app invoicing
- Availability of 2 account options
- Monzo Joint Accounts: To open a Joint Monzo bank account, both account holders must have a Monzo current account first. If you have a joint account already and want to swap over to a Monzo joint account you can do so by using the Current Account Switching Service (CASS).
- Monzo 16-17 Accounts: Monzo has an account especially targeting teenagers. It gives them all the freedom of an adult bank account with limitations on age-related spendings. Below are the key features of the Monzo 16-17 accounts-
- Availability of contactless MasterCard debit card
- Pay using Apply Pay and Google Pay
- Instant spending notifications
- Spending budgets
- Split bills
- Fee-free spendings abroad
- No overdraft
For more details, visit the official website of Monzo here:https://monzo.com/
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