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Monzo to revisit paid accounts after aborted 2019 attempt

Monzo to revisit paid accounts after aborted 2019 attempt

UK digital bank Monzo is planning to relaunch its paid-for account, having ditched it in September last year owing to poor customer feedback.

Founder and CEO Tom Blomfield has told Reuters that the premium account will see a renewed launch in the first quarter of this year, with lessons from its first attempt taken on board.

Monzo Plus offered numerous services such as travel and home insurance, increased ATM allowances and airport lounge access for up to £13 per month, but was negatively received by customers and subsequently withdrawn only five months after its launch.

Blomfield has suggested Monzo Plus' problems lay in the bank's approach to new products not having developed from when it was "50 people people launching iteratively as no one [was] paying attention".

Continuing to do this when the customer base has grown to 3.5 million strong is "foolish", Blomfield adds. Despite its success since launching in 2015, Monzo has begun to encounter its share of problems of late. Last month, customers complained of their accounts being blocked for no apparent reason.

A Facebook group called "Monzo stole our money" contained nearly 1000 members who complained that their accounts had been frozen without warning.

Monzo reported losses of £47.2 million in 2018, but plans to be profitable within three to four years, something it will achieve through lending more and premium services like its Plus account.

The digital bank's lending book currently sits at £120m, compared to £2bn it holds in deposits. Blomfield has also stated that he expects to recruit 500 additional staff this year, increasing Monzo's total to over 2000.

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