Monese raises $1.8m for mobile banking service for immigrants

Monese raises $1.8m for mobile banking service for immigrants

Monese, a London-based digital banking service targeting immigrants that have trouble opening accounts with traditional high street players, has raised $1.8 million from Seedcamp, early Spotify investor Shakil Khan and a group of angel investors.

Monese says that it plans to launch in the UK this summer, promising to address the problem of bank residency restrictions that many new arrivals to the UK face.

The startup will offer instant account opening via a mobile app, a fully-featured current account interface, cheap global payments and a contactless debit card.

Monese was founded by Estonian Norris Koppel, who says that he has first-hand experience of the hassle involved with opening a bank account in a new country. He has since added ex-Skype, ex-AKQA and ex-RBS staff to his payroll.

Says Koppel: "We are determined to bridge that gap, as we consider access to modern banking facilities and a safe place to keep one’s money everyone’s basic right."

Unlike the slew of challenger banks - such as Atom and Starling - entering the UK market, Monese has not applied for a full banking license but is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as an electronic money institution.

Although it is initially focusing on the UK, the firm says it plans international expansion in the near future.

Comments: (2)

Clive Munn
Clive Munn - MFTSE Affairs S.A. - Luxembourg 28 May, 2015, 13:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Ok this seems like a good step. What do you use for KYC and can this be rolled out to help the poorest of the poor? What are the busness ethics behind??

Graham Seel
Graham Seel - BankTech Consulting - Concord 28 May, 2015, 15:42Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Good concept. Right now this appears to be primarily a payments-driven account. Does anyone know if Monese plans to expand into any form of savings and lending - these are just as much a challenge for new immigrants (documented or not), as well as for many others with no financial history.