Two new fees on the Monzo current account

I don’t see this myself. Unless “poor people” are more cash-based? That’s not been my experience, although this can vary (I know of one fellow who is very cash based, but that’s because he spends a lot on his “special tobacco” and his “supplier” does not take card payments!).

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They are, generally on average those on lower incomes are more likely to depend not only on spending cash but also more likely to receive wages as cash.

A significant number of people are using cash for all their day-to-day transactions: around 2.2 million. For this group, lower income is a common factor. Over 15% of people with an income under £10,000 a year rely completely on cash, compared to less than 2.5% of all higher income groups.7

[…]

Rural communities are among the slowest to move to digital, often due to limited access to broadband. They also have a larger proportion of lower income, older and more vulnerable users, who still prefer or need to use cash.

That’s from the access to cash review from 2019.

While it can vary from person, group and location I’ve found that those in poorer areas, with lower incomes or other financial difficulties often heavily rely on cash usage over other forms of digital payments.

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Surely with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic this reliance on cash has changed?

I know what little cash handling I did has shrunk to almost nil right now. I am still using traditionally cash-focussed businesses (barber, taxis, even market stalls) but they have adapted to permit card payments to avoid handling of cash.

Do you believe this will have any impact on those people who ordinarily would be cash-based?

Edit: Apologies for going slightly off-topic from Monzo!

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Yes for some categories of people, but not all. I don’t think it’s likely as simple as businesses now accepting cards more.

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I think it’s an appalling move to charge for UK cash withdrawals. Their financial position must be even worse than the recent results suggested!

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I don’t think it is about charging for cash. I think it is more about getting people to use their account as a bank account and not just a spending account.

I presume people who are “full monzo” make them more money (or lose less) than those who just use the card for spending (or withdrawing cash).

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I think this just cements my decision from a couple of years ago to go with Starling.

I am worried for Monzo at the moment. To the outside they are changing quite a bit from what they were. They had to do it to survive but without other revenue streams then I cannot see a way to profitability for them.

The one thing with Starling is there is very little drama, it works and it works well. That’s what I need from my Bank not changes in service levels, hidden chat, new fees etc.

Hope Monzo sort it out but just quite glad I can watch it all unfold from the sidelines.

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I don’t think monzos out of it, but with old management out of the picture they can now (hopefully) redirect the business on a direction they feel will work for them. If that means cutting old tire and cutting old customers than that’s the thing to do.

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I don’t think that Monzo have done a particularly good job of communicating this change. The exemptions for those actively using the account/subscribing to Monzo Plus seem to have passed a lot of people by, judging by the responses to this news on Twitter.

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Problem for them maybe that this just makes Monzo look less competitive against its rivals.

I tried Starling out for a while before I moved to it as a full time account - I wouldn’t have even signed up if I thought I was going to get nickel-and-dimed on a continual basis.

If I’m shopping around for a new account, I’m not going to go with the one with a creative list of additional charges.

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Even more so that they charge to deposit cash.

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Yeah. It needed more emojis. :grimacing:

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I have some more thoughts on this that I’ll post later, but my initial impression is that it reminds me of Bó to do this for domestic withdrawals.

And we all know how that turned out.

(It didn’t end well)

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They continue to carry the baggage of their pre-paid card from years gone by, and this strikes me as their way to offload those customers to other providers. While there are plenty of fish in the sea - both banks and non-banks, it seems they’re focussed on a certain type of customer. It’s generally well understood some folk on lower incomes, or having certain health conditions, or are of a certain maturity tend to use more analogue money. And that’s not the type of customer Monzo are interested in.

I wonder whether it might have been a better option to advise customers they no longer want their account is to be closed. Alternatively, just move everyone to the “Plus” subscription model at £5/month; with those that don’t having to move their account elsewhere.

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I find it quite bizarre that, as a bank, they expect customers to use corner shops for the PayPoint network where they’re charged to deposit cash.

I know of no other bank that does that?

It smacks of being cheap (though it’s not to the customer) and reinforces the card as being some sort of prepaid account (though it no longer is).

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If you need to force your existing customers to use your product fully, then there is something seriously wrong with the product.

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And all without the drama of a forum either. I’ve just read through the entire thread about this on the other side and it’s made my head hurt. :crazy_face:

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Yes, I got caught up in posting a bit and to be frank I feel a bit victimised by the experience as somebody who dared to suggest that the changes were possibly a bad thing for customers. I think I fell under the wagon of the pro-Monzo lobby a bit haha! I also had a post which I was working on but couldn’t post as they then locked the thread which was a shame.

I am collecting my thoughts now and will use this thread to make a more considered post tomorrow (and I welcome the opportunity given that things do so quickly get heated over there which can make real discussion difficult).

Something in praise of this forum, I feel.

Thanks @Liam!

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**[Monzo Plus] customers will also get these bigger allowances because the fact they’re paying for a Monzo account suggests we’re an important part of their financial life.

This part of the email made me chuckle. Sounds like a teenager trying one up in an argument with their parents. :smile:

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It was hectic early on in the day. I had to withdraw myself collect my thoughts and come here for a more calmer place to share and discuss them.

I’m still in two minds over the change. I personally don’t mind it, it’s not going to effect me. I feel like they messed up with the messaging more than anything, so important aspects slipped under the radar.

I feel like the 16-17 demographic was entirely overlooked in the decision making, and expect many of those will be unfairly impacted by the changes, especially in rural areas. And I’m not sure the catch all for those financially vulnerable would apply to them.

I still have issue with direct debit requirement too. I would have thought and hoped they would have found a more modern approach that discriminates a little less.

I hope we come to learn that the 16-18 years old customers are excluded from the changes, and I hope they find a better criteria term than direct debit.

A possible alternative option could be to check the funding source. such as if the funds originated from another current account bearing your name, then those funds would not be considered as using Monzo as your main bank account, so you would be subject to the new fees and limits. Perhaps that might be a fairer way as it wouldn’t discriminate against income or lack of being the household bill payer.

Any system can be gamed though, if you’re willing to make the effort. But such a system is also always going to discriminate against someone and negatively impact at least one genuine user. Ideally these limits and fees would never have needed to exist, yet here we are. I don’t personally kind, but Monzo are getting harder and harder to recommend when banks like Starling exist. But maybe that’s the idea.

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