Monzo, the digital bank, announced Monday (Aug. 6) that it is making its bank accounts open to anyone in the U.K. between the ages of 16 and 17.
In a blog post, the bank said that it won’t be offering a minimalist version of its accounts, but will be offering the same accounts that people over the age of 18 can open with Monzo. According to the company, customers will get a full U.K. current account with an account number and sort code. They will be able to send and receive money by bank transfer, set up direct debits and standing orders, receive a contactless debit card and access the full Monzo app, which offers instant spending updates, budgeting, notifications and easy bill splitting with other users. Customers also get the ability to link with Apple Pay and Google Pay. What’s more, Monzo said it has placed blocks on certain transactions, such as gambling, for these accounts.
“Those blocks don’t cover everything you can’t legally buy until you’re 18, though. For example, they don’t extend to places where you can buy alcohol, because that would mean blanket banning supermarkets, corner shops, pubs and restaurants – which might make it difficult to buy lunch,” wrote Monzo in the blog. “When you buy something that’s age-restricted in a shop or restaurant, it’s the responsibility of that shop to check that you’re old enough. So in those cases, we trust that retailers’ own processes for checking people’s ages will do the trick, just as they would if you were paying in cash.”
Monzo noted that it won’t be offering overdrafts for anyone under the age of 18, which means that account holders won’t get hit with a fee if they spend more than what’s in their account. The bank argued that as young people learn how to manage money, they should be able to make mistakes without getting hit with fees. “If someone goes overdrawn, we’ll let them know and ask them to pay it back – but we won’t charge them any money for it,” said Monzo.
Other features include opening an account in five minutes with a phone and a photo ID. The bank will also ask for some details and will record a short video of the customer saying why he or she wants to open the account. The goal of that requirement, according to Monzo, is so they can confirm the customer’s identity. When the customer turns 18, Monzo will review the limits set on the account.