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Monzo CEO accuses Halifax of copying challenger bank in rebrand

Halifax is undergoing a re-brand in order to compete with challenger banks like Monzo but in doing so, appears to have copied straight from its rival

The CEO of Monzo has called out Halifax for apparently copying directly from the challenger bank for its app re-brand.

The legacy bank was hoping to modernise the brand with a new sleek logo and colour palette to appeal to younger customers who are switching to digital challenger banks.

However, Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield was quick to notice that Halifax’s updated branding included a copy of the Monzo card.

Halifax’s redesigned digital card featured a Monzo banking identification number (BIN) and the name of one of its employees.

The branding for the bank, which was designed by creative agency Rufus Leonard and reportedly took four months to complete, also features pastel colours, often used in the branding of challenger banks such as Monzo, Starling and N26.

A spokesperson for Halifax said: “This is one of many early mock-ups of a potential redesign of the Halifax app, but one we’re not going to use.

“We look forward to revealing our new-look app soon.

“The Halifax brand redesign is rolling out to customers throughout this year.

“Our design agency have apologised to us for the inadvertent release of one of their concept images, but we have told them ‘no harm done’.”


Why has Halifax re-branded?

The first details and images of the Halifax re-brand were shared in an article on website Design Week.

The re-brand includes a new app, redesigned logo, updated website and new marketing campaign.

The bank, which is owned by Big Four bank Lloyds Banking Group, hopes the new “decluttered” redesign will persuade customers not to switch to the growing number of online and app-based banks, while also enticing new users.


Halifax Monzo

A mock-up of Halifax’s redesign (Credit Halifax)Carlo D’Alanno, executive creative director at Rufus Leonard, said the new design was based on the concept of “fintech meets humanity” as it looks to take on the new digital banks.

Mr D’Alanno said: “We wanted to make the brand appeal to younger people, without excluding the older demographic.

“Halifax is trying to [adopt principles] of brands like Monzo, which are simplicity, ease of use and straightforward-ness.

“The idea is to make sure the service comes first, and the bank comes second.”

Fintech brands are continuing to disrupt the UK banking sector and are eating into the Big Four’s market share, with GlobalData research showing that 28% of UK respondents – and 35% globally – are now willing to use a digital-only bank.

Monzo claimed that more than 60,000 new people opened an account with them each month last year.