I recently made the move from a traditional student account to Monzo. “What is Monzo? That word doesn’t even sound real!” I hear you. Monzo is a bank that has been running since 2015, and they do things a little differently. They make it that little bit easier to manage money on the day-to-day, to budget and they include clever little features in their app to just make life simpler. That’s their one aim: to make life simpler.
The first thing you’ll notice is how easy it is to apply. Any UK or EU citizen can apply from the age of 16
onwards, and all you’ll need is an iPhone or Android smartphone, and a passport or driving licence. You’ll simply need to take a photo of the ID, and a short video of yourself so they can verify your face against the ID you’ve provided. There used to be a waiting list, but that’s long gone. You ought to be ready to go in a day or so! They’ll send you a strikingly bright, modern, pink (*ahem* “Hot Coral”) card. It’s really something.
How many times have you needed to call your bank to sort something out – perhaps you’ve got a problem with online banking, or you need a new card or something like that. With Monzo, you needn’t bother. Simply press help, then ‘Chat with Someone’. Just like that, you’ll be connected to a real person without having to speak to them on the phone. That’s a lifesaver for someone like me, I’m a very busy person who also HATES talking to call centres due to the anxiety it causes, it freaks me out somewhat.
Most banks don’t consider any regular payments that you may have that go out by card. There usually is a menu to look at your Direct Debits, but never things like Spotify, Netflix and magazine subscriptions, which all use your card details to take your money. With Monzo, there is a really useful menu which allows you to single out any payment as ‘regular’ so it tells you exactly how much you need to set aside for regular payments! You will (ought to) never run out of money again!
Another really cool plus of Monzo’s app is the way you can save and budget super easily. If you’re quite bad with managing your money, like I can be, the app is a lifesaver. The budgeting tools are very helpful, I’m able to tell the app when I get paid, and will (fairly accurately) automatically work out what I regularly spend on petrol, bills, and my late night Tesco trips with friends (I mean I do spend money on other things, honestly). From that, it works out where I need to reign in the spending, and where I may have extra to put away this month. That’s really helpful, almost like a personal accountant! When money is as tight as it can be for students, this is a really important feature.
I absolutely love the ‘ker-ching’ noise that the app makes when you get paid, too. That’s a real mood booster.
How many times have you gone out for a meal with friends, then had the kerfuffle of swapping bank details to square up with each other? With Monzo, the person who pays just simply sends out a request, kind of like PayPal, for their friends to pay them! It’s so easy.
Now, what’s not so good. Well whilst the fact the bank is completely run from your phone is great, that’s also a drawback. If you lose your phone, you’ve got no access to your bank account unless you either get a new phone, log in from someone else’s or use the very basic website which allows you to order a new card, freeze your card and see your balance. The 21st century is a great thing, but it can be a curse as well as a blessing. Just make sure you weigh this up before devoting all of your income to your phone – how likely is it that you’ll lose your phone?
The bank previously had some teething problems. They’ve created the computer systems which run the bank themselves, so it was bound to happen. Things like cards being declined and payments being delayed happened more often than is okay. This has improved dramatically, and I’ve had no issues personally.
So, would I recommend Monzo to students? Absolutely, it’s truly a godsend for anyone living in the 21st century, and it completely changes banking once you go, as they say, #FullMonzo.