Banking

UK Digital Bank Monzo Crosses Pond To US

smartphone mobile banking

Digital bank Monzo, based in the United Kingdom, is crossing the pond.

Reuters reports that the company has reached U.S. shores, debuting with what is being termed a “limited rollout” of an app linked to a checking account and debit card.

The company said it will be signing up consumers for its cards through the next few weeks at events slated to be held in cities including Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. That rollout would be reminiscent of the word of mouth that had been a springboard to the firm’s gaining traction in the United Kingdom.

The company traces its genesis to 2015 and is among a pantheon of “neobanks” that focus on digital offerings.

“We are taking it slow to start with,” Monzo Chief Executive Tom Blomfield said in the report. “We want to understand how U.S. consumers think and feel about their money.” In the U.K., he said, about 30 percent of users opt to use Monzo as their primary account.

Drilling a bit down into the details of the rollout, beginning today (June 13), would-be customers can also opt to join an online waiting list to get the aforementioned cards.

In the U.S. there will be no minimum balance requirements and no monthly fees — but the company will not pay interest on deposits.

The company has applied for a U.S. banking license, Blomfield told the newswire, coming into the U.S. through a partnership with Sutton Bank, which is in turn based in Ohio.

At present the company has the equivalent of $793 million in deposits from 2 million customers, and Monzo has said it has been adding as many as 200,000 users monthly.

And yet the U.S. is a different market with its own challenges, according to some observers. As noted in the report by Richard Lumb, group chief executive for financial services at Accenture, “For U.K. FinTechs looking to fly the nest, one major contrast will be the complexity of federal- and state-level laws, compared to the U.K.’s FinTech-friendly regulatory environment.”

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