Thursday 20 September 2018

Digital bank Monzo - backed by the Collison brothers - given green light to operate in Ireland

Tom Blomfield, boss of challenger bank Monzo (Photo: PA)
Tom Blomfield, boss of challenger bank Monzo (Photo: PA)
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

A digital "challenger" bank who has the financial backing of the Collison brothers has achieved approval to operate in Ireland.

The Irish brothers behind payments firm Stripe, Patrick and John Collison, contributed to a recent funding round for app-only UK bank Monzo.

Monzo has now won approval from the Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) to offer its product here through the EU passporting facility.

"Passporting" is a European-wide arrangement that effectively mirrors regulation to help create a kind of financial services single market.

While the UK remains a member of the EU, Monzo is eligible to apply for additional rights for other member states - and Ireland was chosen first.

The bank will spend the next few months setting up access to the necessary European payment schemes, before being able to offer its product to consumers in the Republic of Ireland.

Thomas George, Head of International at Monzo told Independent.ie that the group is "thrilled" to receive official passporting permission to offer their service here.

"Beyond unlocking a whole new set of customers who can soon get their hands on a Monzo account, this moment is particularly exciting because Ireland will be Monzo’s first step outside the UK, as we begin our journey to bring Monzo to the world."

Over 550,000 people in the UK have signed up to avail of Monzo's service since the bank was founded in 2015.

Last year, the firm gained a full banking licence and rolled out their full current account for customers.

In November 2017, Monzo announced that raised £71m from Goodwater Capital, Stripe and Michael Moritz in a funding round.

This latest development comes less than twelve months after Starling Bank won similar approval to operate here.

The UK-based financial startup, also offering consumers checking accounts via smartphones, is run by a former executive of AIB, Anne Boden.

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