A new mobile first digital bank has launched in the UK targeting a demographic often overlooked by established providers, immigrants. The new bank (Monese) hopes to simplify the process and allow foreign residents to open UK bank accounts more quickly. According to Monese, interested customers will only have to download an Android application and start the sign-up process, which includes taking a photo of an ID document and a selfie. Once completed, Monese promises
“a fully-functioning UK current account in a matter of minutes.”
While the bank hopes to expand its potential consumer reach over the coming years, initially it will be only available to customers at least 18 years of age who already live in the European Union, meaning that target customers will be students and or professionals moving to the U.K. for school or work. According to Monese it does not conduct a credit history to deem eligibility but rather uses a algorithim to decide whether or not to accept a user based on their ID document, selfie and other, unspecified, data points.
The UK retail banking market is rapidly becoming more crowded with a number of digital banks now joining more traditional providers and other disrupters combining the branch and digital approach. Monese is unique though in its targeting of immigrants and its approach does solve a clear problem and lessons can be learned from its onboarding procedures but questions will be asked if it can garner enough consumer adoption to make it viable over the long run.
Overview by Tristan Hugo-Webb, Associate Director, Global Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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