Monzo believes it can restyle banking for the digital age. Its strapline is: “We’re building the kind of bank that you’d be proud to call your own.” It uses a lot of emojis in its communications. Along with other app-based challenger banks, such as Starling and Atom, it thinks it can offer a different, more intuitive and personal experience than the five big banks – Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC, the UK arm of Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland – that dominate more than 80% of the current-account market in the UK.
So far, Monzo has made a particularly effective landgrab in the youth sector. Half of its users are under 30, and a further quarter are under 40. It started out offering a prepaid debit card that updated purchases instantly and sorted them into helpful categories (eating out, groceries, transport and so on) on the app on your smartphone. In recent months, it has begun to switch customers over to a full-blown current account.