Monzo will launch its banking app in the U.S., but it may be a hard sell

Monzo card press photo
Monzo Press Kit/Monzo Bank Ltd

Monzo, a widely popular mobile banking service in the United Kingdom, is launching a “light version” of its original app in the United States this year. But while it garnered rave reviews in the U.K., Monzo’s popularity may not reach the same heights in the U.S. because the app will be launched this summer with a few limitations: such as a “light version” of the app with fewer features and the fact that Monzo isn’t an officially licensed bank in the U.S. yet.

According to a blog post published by Monzo on Thursday, June 13, the U.S. version of the Monzo banking app is expected to include the following features: International spending without fees, 24/7 access to customer service, person-to-person payments, immediate spending notifications, and a savings account feature known as Savings Pots. Monzo contends that starting out simply with a banking app with limited features will allow its U.S. customers the opportunity to collaborate with the company to make Monzo “the ideal bank account for the U.S.” However, Monzo’s form of collaboration will apparently require “face-to-face events in major U.S. cities” in which the company will meet with early users of the app to get their feedback and then further build the app.

But U.S. customers may not want to wait for a mobile banking app to become more fully featured, or for banking services that aren’t officially licensed and regulated in the United States yet, and would have to rely, as The Verge reports, on a partnership with Sutton Bank.

While Monzo’s slow launch in the U.S. may be well-reasoned, releasing a feature-light app could be a hard sell to American consumers, especially since as, The Verge notes, support for features like cash and check deposits, and Apple Pay and Google Pay also won’t be available to U.S. customers at first. In fact, money can initially only be transferred from either your existing U.S. bank account or your paycheck will have to be direct deposited into your account. So, Monzo may not be an effective replacement for U.S. banking services, at least not at first.

However, with some time and a few more available features, Monzo could still be a competitive mobile-only banking service in the U.S., especially for customers tired of spending or cash withdrawal fees. According to The Verge, Monzo also won’t charge overdraft fees in the U.S., either.

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