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Monzo – What are this?

I’m hoping most of you got the Jenna Marbles reference, but if not see here. I recently signed up to Monzo and I think it is AMAZING!

But people keep asking what exactly it is, along with a number of other questions, so I thought I would explain through the medium of blog. I’m going to list the questions in below with answers underneath, so if you have a specific one to ask, skim read!

1. What is it? What are this?

Monzo is a company working to create a new kind of current account & banking system. They started out in February 2015, and with their UK banking license offer users a banking app and a prepaid contactless MasterCard. They are hoping to roll out free current accounts later this year too!

2. Is there a set up fee?

No, the only requirement is that when you activate your card you give it an initial top up of £100.

3. Can you categorise transactions?

Yes! There are a number of automatic categories such as ‘groceries’ and ‘eating out’, but you can even label transactions with emojis and group them that way (double win).

4. How quickly does it update?

My new favourite thing to do when I’m out with friends, is pay for something with my Monzo card and then make everyone watch as the app updates almost instantly.

5. It sounds too good to be true!

I thought the exact same when I first heard about it, but so far there is no catch. It’s genuinely as simple and as good as it seems.

6. Is it just card payments?

No, you can withdraw cash at ATMs too, there are also no fees for using it abroad. Direct debits and standing orders are in the pipeline!

7. Where is your money kept?

With Monzo, and it displays in your app.

8. What about security?

In the app and on the Monzo blog there are loads of resources on ways to protect your money, what to do if your card is stolen etc. There are lots of other tricks you can set up too, such as using touch ID to access the app and enabling location based security – meaning the app will match your location with your card payments to flag anything suspicious.

9. Is the budgeting actually effective – has it helped you save?

So far, I’d say it is effective. You can set targets so that each month when you reach your set budget for say, eating out or shopping, you’ll get a notification warning you to cool the spending. I’m also generally more aware of my spending because I can see at all times how much disposable income I have left.

The way I’m currently using Monzo, is I’ve set myself a monthly spending budget to cover all social activities, travel, food and random things like bags with pandas on them from Thunderegg. I put that budget on my card and that’s it for the month. Then money left in my current account is just for paying bills, rent and other direct debits. Separating my money this way makes it much easier for me to see where there’s wiggle room for more saving (or spending).

I would also say that based on my own experience, budgeting is only really effective if you stick to it. Even the best app in world can’t stop some impulse buys.

10. Are there any incentives for joining?

Well, no – not monetary benefits anyway. I’ll admit that at first the idea of giving a bank my money with no interest in return, seemed odd. BUT, for me the biggest benefit of Monzo is the budgeting power. The second biggest pull is the community, one glance at their social media channels is enough to understand that Monzo is a transparent organisation with a genuine purpose and a real desire to change the way the world manages its finances. I like organisations like that.

Other things I really like about Monzo are:

Efficiency. Everything happens FAST, even people who I know signed up without a golden ticket received their cards very quickly.

Ease. It is SO easy to learn how to use the app.

Emojis. Because internet lol.