Mondo: Ideal Banking for Students

If you haven’t heard of Mondo, you should have. It’s a new startup which is trying to create “the best bank on the planet“, all managed from an iOS/Android app. Mondo is currently in beta, and although it’s not quite a bank yet (they should get their licence this year), once it is I think it might just be perfect for students, like myself.

What they plan to offer is simple. A current account, with an overdraft and a debit card. That’s it. But here’s what makes it smart…

Be Money Smart

Instant, smart notifications will let you know when money is going in or out of your account. No more needing to constantly check if your student loan or wage from your part time job has come in, as you’ll be notified immediately. Equally, you’ll be notified of any money going out, as well as how much you’ve spent that day instantly. E.g. “🍟£4.99 Spent at McDonalds. You have spent £13.99 today” – yes, there’s even emojis!

Inside the app, your account balance will be updated instantly (no more waiting until Monday to find out how hard you went on Friday night 🍻) and Mondo will also utilise all the data provided to it during payments (cost, merchant, merchant category, GPS location etc) to provide you with useful information, such as:

  • Account balance
  • How much you spent today
  • Spending by month (including graphs, to give you a visual of how hard the student life is 📉)
  • Spending by category (How much did you spend on groceries this month? 🍇)
  • Spending by merchant (How much did you spend at Starbucks this month? ☕️)

Having this information provided to me instantly would certainly help me, especially on a student budget, to be more aware and take better control of my finances. I could see clearly when I’ve spent too much on groceries or entertainment, and I can be proactive by seeking better value products and services or cutting back on unnecessary spending.

Split The Bill

Also, with person-to-person payments, you can easily split your household bills with flatmates or pay back friends and family. When money comes in you’ll be instantly notified of this too.

Seamlessness & Secure

No more paper, after you’ve initially received your card, Mondo can contact you electronically. You can also take a picture of your receipts and attach them to that payment within the app, just in case you should need it for future reference.

No fiddling around with notes or coins, either. The debit card will support contactless payments and there should also be support for Apple and (hopefully soon) Android Pay. Yeah, that’s contactless payments secured by your fingerprint.

If you’ve managed to lose your card, or you get notified of an unexpected bill, you can also freeze your card from the app so nobody can use it until you unlock it again.

From what I can tell, there will also be biometric security too, so you can use your fingerprint to unlock the app.

Mondo Transaction Screen

Save Money

Lastly, if you get some time for a holiday over the summer, or you go on tour with a club/society, you can take this simplicity abroad and save money with no transaction fees, just the exchange rate – and you’ll be notified of this upon arrival in a different country. Simples.

Mondo also holds hackathons and has its own API, like Twitter and YouTube do, so in the future Mondo, or another app that pulls data securely from Mondo, could automagically collect and notify you of new loyalty points like Clubcard and Nectar, give you automatic student discounts or get you a refund if you forget to tap out on the Transport for London network etc. The possibilities are endless. This is banking of the 21st century.

Overdraft on Mondo?

One of the biggest draws to traditional banks is the interest-free overdraft and incentives they offer. However, I think the simplicity and convenience of Mondo far outweighs a free NUS card, travel card or voucher. That said, an interest-free overdraft is something that many students count as an essential when choosing a bank. Indeed, this is how many traditional banks draw in customers which will then stay with them for many years, or even their entire lives.

But, banks suck – I’m only 19 and I’ve already had issues with Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays and Santander. What gives?! With a range of new “challenger banks” like Mondo coming in, it’ll be interesting to see this change, but I do wonder if Mondo will provide a much sought over interest-free overdraft for students? Even if it was just a small one, I’d take it.

Regardless, Mondo is perfect for a generation of people who have grown up in an age where technology can assist them in almost everything they do. It’s also perfect for students who need to keep on top of their tight budgets. Mondos forward-thinking approach to banking and embracing new technologies is something I truly admire as a young person, and I’m sure many other students would too. There are beautiful apps to socialise. There are beautiful apps to get work done. Now there’s a beautiful app to bank with.


Want more posts like this? Sign up to my new weekly newsletter.