Monzo (bank)

Focus FS Ltd trading as Monzo
Industry Financial Services
Founded 2015 (2015)
Headquarters 12 Epworth Street,
London EC2A 4DL
Key people
Tom Blomfield, CEO
Jonas Huckestein, CTO
Paul Rippon, Deputy CEO
Gary Dolman, CFO
Products Banking
Number of employees
51 (2016)

Monzo /monzo/, is a digital, mobile-only bank based in the United Kingdom.[1]


It was founded in 2015 by Tom Blomfield, Jonas Huckestein, Jason Bates, Paul Rippon and Gary Dolman.[2][3][4][5][6] The team had met whilst working at Starling Bank. In February 2016, Mondo set the record for "quickest crowd-funding campaign in history" when it raised £1m in 96 seconds via the Crowdcube investment platform.[7][8][9] Two weeks prior to the name change, Monzo was granted a restricted banking licence, by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.[10] Monzo currently has a number of prepaid debit cards in operation which it has issued to users for testing purposes.[11] These cards will be in use until early 2017 when it is anticipated that the banking licence restrictions will be lifted.[12]

On 5 August 2016, Mondo announced that over £20 million had been spent through its Mondo prepaid card.[13][14]

Monzo is registered at Companies House under the legal name Focus FS Ltd and initially traded as Mondo. On 13 June 2016, a company blog post announced that the "Mondo" trademark had been legally challenged by an undisclosed company with a similar name.[15][16] As a result, a naming suggestion contest was organised and the new name, "Monzo", was announced on 25 August 2016.[17]

Issued cards

The design for the coral-coloured beta cards.

Monzo has issued (with partner company Wirecard[18]) a variety of alpha, beta and investor cards to its customers who want to be early adopters.[19] These are prepaid MasterCards which the user can top-up via bank transfer or an existing debit card.[20]

The balance on the card can then be spent via contactless, chip and pin, magnetic stripe or online.

Like all card providers, Monzo enforces a range of limits on ATM withdrawals, top-up amounts, single payments and the overall balance on the card.[20]

Mobile apps

A screenshot of the Android app, showing recent transactions.

Monzo has released mobile apps for both iOS and Android phones.[21] Payments made with the Monzo cards will trigger push notifications in real-time to phones running the apps, where historical transactions can also be viewed.[18] Users can categorise their transactions, freeze the card (if lost), mark company expenses and view an overview of their spending habits.[22]

Where available, the apps will show a map depicting the location at which the transaction took place, along with the company's logo.[23] Transactions will be auto-categorised based on the company involved in the payment, with data accuracy improved via crowd-sourced suggestions.[24]

A roadmap for Monzo's mobile apps and related services is publicly available to view and vote upon on Trello.[25]

On 29 September 2016, Monzo made the Android app publicly available for anyone in the UK to use.[26] This was preceded by a private beta with consumers who visited the office in-person to collect a card.

Developer tools

Banks in the UK currently offer customers limited or no programmatic access to their financial data.[27] Whilst the UK Government is looking into legislation to require existing banks to comply and adopt standards for secure and open APIs,[28] Monzo has already released a prototype API based on the OAuth standard within a year of the company's founding.[29] The company has also hosted four hackathons[30] and maintains a "Monzo Developers" Slack channel for developer discussion and support. The API allows developers to view transactions and accounts, receive notifications for events via webhooks and create their own items to appear in the app.[31] The responses are encoded using JSON which allows for data access in any programming language with JSON support.[31][32]


Monzo's current offering consists of a pre-paid card, which by its very nature isn't tied to a traditional bank account. Features such as a current account, overdraft and support for the Faster Payments Service are not yet available as a result of the imposed banking license restrictions.

The company has expressed its intention to do away with a number of banking traditions such as physical branches and chequebooks which it regards as obsolete; this is despite the fact that cheques are still commonly used in the UK, with over 500 million cashed in 2015 alone.[33] Co-founder Tom Blomfield has acknowledged the bank "will not be right for everyone" and described the company's target demographic as those who value convenience and technical innovation.[34]


  1. "The UK's new breed of digital challenger banks". Techworld.
  2. Burn-Callander, Rebecca. "Banking industry primed for a pocket-sized revolution". The Telegraph.
  3. Baker, Stephanie. "A Bank for People Who Hate Banks". Bloomberg.
  4. Carey, Scott. "The UK's new breed of digital challenger banks: Atom, Mondo, Starling and Tandem - Ranked". Techworld.
  5. Treanor, Jill. "Digital banking: Mondo hopes to become the Google or Facebook of the sector". The Guardian.
  6. "GoCardless Founder Tom Blomfield's New Startup Is A "Full Stack" Mobile-First Bank". TechCrunch.
  7. Dawson, Freddie. "App Bank Mondo Crowdfunds £1M In 96 Seconds". Forbes.
  8. Williams-Grut, Oscar. "App-only bank Mondo is valued at £30 million in an oversubscribed £6 million fundraise". Business Insider.
  9. Turvill, William. "Mobile challenger bank Mondo reaches £1m crowdfunding target in 96 seconds, adding to £7m venture capital investment". City AM.
  10. "When do you launch?". Focus FS Ltd.
  11. O'Hear, Steve. "Mondo, the U.K. banking startup, opens public Beta". Techcrunch.
  12. "Frequently Asked Questions". Monzo.
  13. "Over £20 million spent through Mondo". Monzo.
  14. "Mondo hits £20 million customer spend". Finextra.
  15. "Goodbye Mondo, Hello M...". Monzo.
  16. "Startup bank Mondo is letting customers change its name". Business Insider.
  17. "Mondo is now Monzo!". Monzo.
  18. 1 2 "Mondo selects Wirecard as their prepaid card issuer". Wirecard.
  19. "What it's like to use a Mondo card and account". Business Insider.
  20. 1 2 "Monzo Terms & Conditions".
  21. "Monzo on Google Play". Google Play.
  22. "What is Mondo Bank (now Monzo)?". PC Advisor.
  23. "A look inside Mondo, a bank that's just an app". Business Insider.
  24. "Crowdsourcing Merchant Data". Monzo.
  25. "Monzo Transparent Product Roadmap". Trello.
  26. "Android is here!". Monzo.
  27. "Data Sharing and Open Data for Banks" (PDF). Fingleton Associates.
  28. "Government could legislate to ensure open data in banking and other regulated industries by 2017". Pinesent Masons.
  29. "The Mondo API". Monzo.
  30. "Mondohack IV". Monzo.
  31. 1 2 "Monzo API Reference". Monzo.
  32. Bray, T. (March 2014). The JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) Data Interchange Format. IETF. RFC 7159. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  33. "Key Facts & Figures". Cheque and Credit Clearing Company.
  34. "Meet Mondo, the app that's got the banks worried". The Memo.
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