Jon Fingas

It’ll only serve as a payment service at first.

You might not have heard of Monzo in the US, but there’s a good chance your British friends have when the digital bank has racked up over 2 million customers in its short history. And now, it’s coming to the US… in a manner of speaking. Monzo has unveiled plans to roll out service to the US in the “next few months,” including the mobile app and a Mastercard debit card. It’ll build the audience slowly by connecting with hundreds of people at a time at events before it conducts a wider-scale launch. However, don’t expect it to function as a bank at first. It’ll be closer to a money transfer service akin to Venmo or Apple Pay Cash.

The initial version will allow person-to-person payments, “pots” to split savings from spending money, and no-fee international spending. Monzo intends to become a fully licensed US bank with the help of a partner bank, but that’s a “long process” — it would rather start offering some kind of service in the US and learn from that in the meantime.

It’s not shocking that Monzo would make the trip across the Atlantic. The digital banking space is heating up, and Monzo has both experience and momentum on its side. Even a limited launch could get its foot in the door and ensure that you’re at least aware of the company by the time it’s ready to offer full-fledged banking services. If it waited until everything was ready, it risked being passed over in favor of existing options like Chime or Simple.


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