UK-based Monese has raised $1.8m from early Spotify investor Shakil Khan, Europe’s acceleration fund Seedcamp and a select group of other angel investors.
Monese which launches this summer is a branchless digital banking service that offers instant account opening via a mobile app, a fully-featured current account interface, cheap global payments and a contactless debit card.
It’s underlying technology enables the company to provide customers with a UK current account (‘checking account’) regardless of their citizenship.
This will revolutionise banking for immigrants and expats as ‘residency restrictions’ imposed by traditional high street banks are one of the single greatest barriers to accessing the banking system when they arrive in a new country.
Monese has already attracted top industry talent to its cause with ex-Skype, ex-AKQA and ex-RBS staff on the payroll. Its founder and CEO Norris Koppel states that "Monese is committed to not merely filling a gap in the market by focusing on immigrants and expats, but also to providing them with a best in class digital banking experience designed from the ground up according to their needs, using the latest technologies."
"I have personally experienced how difficult it is to open an account with a high street bank when you’re new to a country. 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", Koppel explains.
Licensed and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Monese is able to open accounts in less than 3 minutes by running customer ID verification checks in real-time. There are no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees for the customers; the company only charges small transparent fees for certain types of payment.
Monese is set to launch in the UK in summer 2015 with plans for international expansion in the near future.