Monzo, the challenging US bank with more than a million customers and a unicorn valuation to start, quietly began working on a US launch, TechCrunch has learned.
According to multiple sources, the fintech startup has created a small team to start preparing the work to carry a version of Monzo. to North America, which will initially be driven by a banking partner from the United States, while Monzo works on the necessarily regulatory licenses to go it alone.
The plan, which could still be subject to change, is for Monzo to create a “light” version of its product for US customers, much like the first UK launch with a prepaid debit card before finally offer a full bank account.
The idea, according to a person familiar with the company’s strategy, is that this will allow Monzo to build a customer base in the US and iterate its product for the US market in parallel with the request of the challenger bank’s federal charter bank.
I understand the plan is for the US Monzo product to offer in-app registration, the trademarked Monzo “hot coral” debit card, an account and routing number, the ability to make and accept payments, ATM withdrawals and real-time transaction notifications. In other words, many of the same characteristics that have made Monzo love with UK customers.
Contacted by TechCrunch, a Monzo spokesperson provided the following statement:
We are very excited about international expansion in the coming months and years. After all, it is difficult to build a bank for a billion people in the UK alone!
However, we don’t have anything specific to share at this stage about those plans. When we do, we’ll make sure to tell the world.
Meanwhile, the news that Monzo has started executing on the US expansion plans is not entirely surprising, it even appears to be happening significantly faster than previously thought.
Co-founder and CEO Tom Blomfield has spoken openly about his ambition to bring Monzo to the United States one day and the London-based challenger bank has a wide variety of American investors.
They include, most recently, General Catalyst, along with Thrive Capital, Goodwater Capital, Stripe, Michael Moritz, and Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom.
The fintech company also recently opened an office in Las Vegas, from which it offers twilight-hour customer service for UK customers. Or at least that’s the party line. Now it looks like Las Vegas could have Monzo customers closer to home to be happy too.