May 16, 2020

How Monzo is helping users overcome gambling addictions

Banking
Monzo
gambling
Challenger Banks
Amber Donovan-Stevens
3 min
FInTech magazine Monzo logo
FinTech takes a closer look at how the challenger bank Monzo is helping its users to overcome gambling addictions through its in-app solutions.

Monzo h...

FinTech takes a closer look at how the challenger bank Monzo is helping its users to overcome gambling addictions through its in-app solutions.

Monzo has been the challenger bank darling of the UK for a couple of years now, working continuously to update its services in order to provide solutions that will improve the lives of its users. Just last week, it announced that it would be providing an in-app credit checker that would allow customers monthly insights into how best to improve their credit.

One major area of focus for Monzo and its CEO Tom Blomfield, is that of financial management in relation to addiction. According to an interview with Wired, Blomfield believes in creating a challenger bank that doesn’t just create cool features, but one that is ethical. To achieve this, Monzo has been building new solutions to assist users in managing their own addictions. 

Solutions to support people to self-exclude from gambling

The most important solution created by Monzo is its spending blocker.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, gambling is one of the biggest addictions, and this is inextricably linked to finances. According to GambleAware, 80% of people seeking help for a gambling addiction also reported being in debt.

Following the feedback from a number of customers, Monzo introduced the gambling blocker, which allows users to block themselves from making gambling transactions on their Monzo accounts. Users can access this under ‘controls’ in settings, where there will be a switch to turn on the gambling block option. To turn the block off, users will need to speak to a member of customer service, where they will need to answer a number of questions. Of course, this isn’t the ultimate solution to an addiction, but it is important to see that banks are taking steps to protect their customers and give them as much help as possible when managing their finances. 

A number of customers have since come forward to share their experiences, saying that the block on the app has helped them to beat their gambling debt. Danny Cheetham, a gambling addict, shared his journey with the challenger bank, and said “things really started to change when I started using the gambling block with Monzo. I know my card will get rejected for any gambling transactions I try to make. I’ve also got a limit so I can only take out £20 a day in cash.”
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Did you know? Monzo customers can see their 2019 year in review for a summary of spending habits. 

To find out more information/advice/help surrounding gambling addiction please visit: www.begambleaware.org

For more information on all topics for FinTech, please take a look at the latest edition of FinTech magazine.

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Jun 17, 2021

Zafin: Banking is now in the era of the tech ecosystem

Zafin
Banking
Technology
Digital
3 min
FinTech Magazine holds a Q&A session with John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, on the evolution of banking and its future as an aspect of tech ecosystems

The development of tech ecosystems is placing the future of post-COVID banking in jeopardy. At a time when Big Tech can replicate the functions of traditional financial institutions, what can banks do to retain a grip on the market?

John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, has a few ideas. A SaaS cloud-native product and pricing platform for financial institutions, Zafin is preparing the next generation of banks to cope with this precise challenge.

Smith is responsible for the strategic and tactical management of the company’s ecosystem, including the creation of new business models to support growth and differentiation. We asked him four questions:  

Q. Have the events of the pandemic caused an irreversible shift in the digitalisation of banks? If so, is COVID the sole cause or are there other factors?

It’s a great question and one that I am asked a lot. Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a significant shift in the acceleration of digital. In fact, I’ve seen some estimates show there to have been as much as four to six years of digital adoption growth since the initial lockdown started. 

While the pandemic may be the primary reason for this growth, two other drivers include fintech disruption and the high costs of operating a traditional retail bank. Both of these factors have caught the attention of banking executives as they set their minds on accelerating digital transformation with a focus on high return, low risk. 

Q. Some commentators believe banks must learn from Big Tech in order to survive. Do you agree? Please expand. 

I agree completely; we’re living in the era of the ‘ecosystem’. All the seismic shifts we’re seeing in technology, be it aggregation, embedded finance, DeFi or hyper-personalisation are all enabled by the foundation of an ecosystem.  

When financial institutions work with a strategic partner like Zafin, which has made the strategic investments in a best-in-class ecosystem, they’re able to capitalise on opportunities more quickly and safely, and will be better positioned for growth now and at the other side of the pandemic. 

Q. What are currently the obstacles to adopting Open Banking? Is it more likely to 'take off' in some regions rather than others?

I would argue that Open Banking has been in the US for some time and will only continue to grow there. By definition, Open Banking is about the secure sharing of financial information that customers are aware of and have authorised. Under that definition, we’re seeing aspects of this well underway even though its full potential remains to be seen.

Third-Party Providers are a natural outcome of Open Banking, whereby they can create propositions beyond what a bank normally does to enable banking functions such as payments, borrowing, saving and so on. Once again, some of these are already present through industry-led initiatives, whereas regions such as the EU have taken the pathway of regulation such as PSD2.  

The industry-led initiatives we’ve seen in the US have also had the added advantage of guard-rails that regulatory bodies like FFIEC and CFPB provide. There are also other technology-led initiatives such as API definitions that are set out through the FS-ISAC. 

I would argue the future of Open Banking in North America will be through the natural evolution of the guidelines and API definitions that have been published, as well as the natural progression of industry initiatives. 

Q. Are there any other bank tech trends you'd like to discuss? 

Coreless banking. Zafin has been pioneering some of the work around externalising functions out of the legacy core to drive a more ‘fintech nimble’ bank, while not having to deliver a ‘heart and lungs’ core bank replacement. 

Real life examples of this include moving some of the core functions of a banking system, such as product and pricing to a platform like Zafin. Origination, onboarding, KYC, risk, and compliance are all other examples of externalising banking functions for added agility.

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