A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about an app I had discovered called Monzo and I promised to write again once I'd had a chance to play around with it a bit, so here I am! If you haven't read it, you should check out my previous post about Monzo to get a better understanding of what it is. But, in short, it's a new kind of banking.

monzo app telling me my new card is on its way

The first thing to keep in mind is that there's a waiting list to receive your Monzo card. When I first downloaded the app, there was a queue of some 10,000 people to wait behind before I could get my card - if I remember correctly, this was about 7 days. Whilst it wasn't a deal-breaker for me, the wait can't be under-stated for people who discover the app and want to dive right in.

A letter from monzo with my card attached

Once your card arrives, you're required to go through few steps to activate it and verify your identity. It's not a big deal to do this and it's certainly easier than the traditional manner in which you open a bank account. My verification was done in about 5 minutes - someone at Monzo manually verified my ID from a picture I sent them.

If you get it all set-up and activated, you can then top up your card using your bank card. In my experience, it took less than a minute for funds to appear and Monzo remembers your card details for easy-access.

monzo home screen shows my initial top up of 100 pounds

With your topped-up card, you can begin using your card to pay for things in stores and online. The card's contactless works without issue.

I did run into a problem whilst using it though. I bought something for £5 at a toy store and the transaction was initially declined. After quickly checking my Monzo account, I could see there were enough funds in there, but £5 has still been deducted.

I attempted payment again and on the second try, the transaction was authorised. I raised the issue using the app and funds were returned in a few days.

In this instance, it was only £5, but I can imagine being annoyed if it was a larger purchase and I had to wait several days for the funds to be returned.

spending notifications on my phone

As promised, with every purchase I made, I was notified on my phone in moments (often before the cashier was notified) and purchases were categories on Monzo with surprising accuracy.

purchases categorised by type on the monzo app. In my case, shopping and eating out

In summary

All in all, Monzo is a fantastic app, with huge potential. Currently, with no account number and sort code, it's uses are limited, but once it becomes a fully-fledged bank, I can see it becoming the new standard of banking.

I would feel more comfortable and it'd be a lot easier to have my wages paid into it rather than this extra step of topping up the card. But...

I particularly enjoyed my purchases being categorised for added clarity on where I'm spending my money and I see it being helpful in future with monitoring my spending habits.

Sam Littler