Should traditional banks be scared of Monzo?

Matt PalframanDirector, Financial Services Research
April 15, 2019, 9:26 AM GMT+0

As the digital-only bank Monzo prepares to launch its first major advertising campaign, should more established lenders be concerned about losing market share?

Around two percent of Brits already have a Monzo account, according to YouGov research, despite the bank only being founded in 2015. Just over one in ten (11%) of the nation have heard of the company, but this may change soon as it prepares to launch its first major advertising campaign.

To date its growth has relied on word-of-mouth and the majority of its customers are young, affluent city-dwellers. Around four in five (81%) are 39 or under and 29% live in London.

Despite attracting a younger audience, more than half (58%) of Monzo customers earn over £30,000 a year, and 69% work full-time.

Reaching new demographics

Monzo’s new ad campaign will aim to generate appeal beyond young early-adopters. While a mobile-only bank won’t appeal to all, its high levels of customer satisfaction could win people over - Monzo’s net satisfaction score of +89 beats every other bank tracked in BrandIndex by YouGov.

What’s more, Monzo account holders are much less likely than customers of the “big four” banks to believe that “all banks are basically the same” (59% versus 74%).

While many Monzo customers also keep their “traditional” bank accounts — certain functions such as paying in cheques or cash are less straightforward when there are no physical branches — this could work in its favour.

Past YouGov research shows that many people are reluctant to switch banks, but Monzo is often trialled alongside an existing account, with customers gradually transferring direct debits and salary payments at a later date if they wish.

Will the advertising campaign work?

Last year, Monzo ran a London-only campaign and its awareness score grew from 21% in July 2018 to 40% in March 2019.

Moreover, almost a quarter (23%) of 40 to 59 year olds already say they would consider Monzo, showing it does have appeal beyond Millennials. Monzo considerers differ from the general public in that they are more likely to:

  • Want to save more money in the next year (86% versus 67%)
  • Believe that banks are trying to trick people out of their money (48% versus 38%)
  • Think that technology changes their life for the better (79% versus 67%)

Therefore, messaging around Monzo’s ease of use could encourage those on the fence to make the leap.

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