While I’m generally cynical when it comes to most fintech startups (I’m British – cynicism is my default position), I’m a huge fan of Monzo. This UK-only banking startup lets you track your spending through a gorgeous mobile application, as well as spend with abandon while overseas without incurring any fees.
Monzo, like many fintech startups, hasn’t fully developed its infrastructure yet. When it comes to spending money through the cards, it depends on a third-party payment processor called Global Processing Services (GPS), which is based in Dubai.
Monzo isn’t alone in this. Other hot fintech startups that depend on GPS include Revolut, Curve, and Loot. And on Sunday, a technical glitch in what was supposed to be routine maintenance of GPS’ systems brought all these companies to a standstill.
We truly apologise for any inconvenience caused. Our card payment processor is experiencing an issue, which is causing card payments to fail
— Revolut (@RevolutApp) March 5, 2017
UPDATE: We’re still experiencing 💳 declines – we’re working hard to fix the issue with our partners. Updates at: https://t.co/iH2dF3M9XW
— Curve (@imaginecurve) March 5, 2017
⚠️We’re experiencing an issue relating to payments & transactions. We’re working to have this fixed within the next few hours! ⚠️
— Loot (@LootApp) March 5, 2017
We’re experiencing problems with card payments, top ups, and sending money atm. We’re working hard to fix it 🛠 https://t.co/OBxU96FyoJ
— Monzo (@monzo) March 5, 2017
For almost an entire day, Monzo customers could not top up their debit cards. When they tried to spend their money, their cards would be declined.
Customers, obviously, were unhappy.
hello, are the Monzo cards working now? Just had my card declined in US and had to use debit card and will be charged exchange costs
— Shola Aleje (@beefheartzappa) March 5, 2017
@monzo nothing more awkward than a “I’m sorry sir, your card has been declined” in a long queue… 😔
— OllieB (@OllieB) March 5, 2017
— Ryan McEwan (@RyanMcEwan2) March 6, 2017
For most companies, an event like this would be disastrous. People are, understandably, very sensitive when it comes to money.
But actually, this incident served to reinforce the trust I had with Monzo, and make me even more convinced that smartphone-only…