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Monzo applies for US banking license as UK fintechs chase American customers

Mohit Oberoi
Author: Mohit Oberoi

Last Updated: April 23, 2020

UK digital bank Monzo has applied for a US banking license in a bid to launch a full range of services to American customers.

The bank, which has 4 million customers in Britain, applied to the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for the licence on 20 April.

Monzo, led by cofounder and chief executive Tom Blomfield (pictured), would be able to offer fully insured deposit accounts in the US and could lend money to customers, if its application is successful.

Two of the UK’s biggest fintechs are racing to launch expanded services in the US market, with plans to offer customers such features as real-time accounts, foreign exchange with lower fees and free travel money.

UK fintechs compete for US customers

Monzo began operating a limited test of its banking app in the US in August in partnership with Ohio-based Sutton Bank. Revolut, which claims over 10 million customers across Europe, launched its banking app in the US in March in partnership with New York-based Metropolitan Commercial Bank but has not yet applied for a full banking licence in the country.

Gaining a US banking license is a lengthy and complex process.  Menlo Park-based Stock trading app Robinhood, withdrew its application in the US in December seven months after filing its application.

San Francisco-based Varo Money received preliminary approval for its app in 2018, but is yet to receive a full license.

The coronavirus pandemic has also hit Monzo, which employs 800 staff. Last month, chief executive Tom Blomfield told employees that he would forego salary for a year. It has furloughed 295 employees in the UK and closed its Las Vegas customer support office employing 165 people

Personal loans can be one of the ways to raise finances amid the pandemic. If you’re interested in raising finance amid the pandemic, see our recommended loan providers here. We have also compiled a separate list of loan providers for people with bad credit.

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Mohit Oberoi

Mohit Oberoi is a freelance finance writer based in India. he has completed his MBA with finance as majors and also holds a CFA charter. He has over 13 years of experience in financial markets. He has been writing extensively on global markets for the last six years and has written over 6,500 articles. He mainly covers metals, electric vehicles, asset managers, and other macroeconomic news. He also loves writing on personal finance and topics related to valuation.