最有看点的互联网金融门户

最有看点的互联网金融门户
国际资讯基于互联网平台的金融业务

Monese:新时代的无国界数字银行

国际资讯基于互联网平台的金融业务

Monese:新时代的无国界数字银行

18年前,Norris Koppel来到英国,那时他有一份好工作,并且租了一间公寓。

但是有一个问题:银行拒绝为他开设现金账户。因为Koppel在英国没有信用记录,银行担心这个人并不存在。

由于国际付款会产生高昂的外汇费用,因此雇主也不愿意将工资打入他的爱沙尼亚银行账户。

最后经各方协商同意,决定将Koppel的工资发给他的室友,然后由室友每月支付给他。Koppel告诉我说:"这种情况让人觉得尴尬。我的生活各方面进展都很顺利,但我却受到了二等公民的待遇。不管是谁,如果不能享受自己应有的基本权利,那感觉真是糟透了。"

直到几个月后Koppel才获得了开户所需的文件和英国的信用评分,但他的经历暴露了一个问题,而且这个问题如果得不到妥善解决,会变成更严重的问题。

除了Koppel以外,还有其他人,包括英国境外的人,也遇到过这种问题。仅欧洲就有1.4亿人只能享受有限的银行服务,相当于每三个欧洲人中就有一个。而在全球范围内,人数更是达到了20多亿。

Barclays研究显示,与有账户的人相比,没有正式银行账户的人每年金融服务费用平均要高出1,000英镑。

而且通常对企业家来说,Koppel解决问题的办法也让人困扰。

2015年,手机银行应用 Monese发布。Monese目前在欧洲20个国家/地区拥有50万客户,对于一家创立仅三年的公司来说,这非常了不起。

自拍时代

Koppel殚精竭虑,思考了每一种可能性,这也是我对Monese的看法,各方面都经过谨慎思考和规划。

当然,安全起见,金融机构需要验证客户身份,这点至关重要。目前大部分银行都要求纸质地址证明,但法规要求并没有现在的银行流程这么严格。Koppel说道:"监管机构支持创新,这点让人大为放心。

所以我就开始思考我们该如何改进这个流程,实现数字化,帮助更多的人进入银行体系。"

不仅这么想,Koppel和他的团队也这样做了,他们只要求用户拍张自拍,同时上传护照或本国身份证件的照片,便可以完成身份验证,只需两分钟就可以完成在线开户流程,就像Koppel说的,"比煮鸡蛋还快"。

当然,这样做并不代表安全没有保障,Koppel表示,甚至可以说Monese更安全。

"客户走进银行分行开户,出示自己的护照。但是没有经过培训的工作人员并不能区分真假护照。而我们扫描流程的准确度是人眼的25倍左右,这是人类无法做到的技术。"

Monese的支持技术可能非常复杂,但应用却尽可能的简单,方便用户使用,这才是致胜的关键。

事实上,自从几年前金融科技公司横空出世后,因为其使用更简单、价格更低和速度更快的优点,迅速获得消费者青睐,毕竟消费者已经厌倦了大银行繁琐的流程。

勇往直前者

这并不是说建立一家银行,尤其是一家跨国银行,不会遇到任何挑战。Koppel笑道:"作为一家金融服务公司,必须严格遵守法规,也就是说你要牢牢把控自己的业务。金融科技公司要想成功,必须付出更多。我们非常重视客户服务,所有新兴银行都知道这点,但保守银行并没有意识到。"

Monese设计的本意是为了帮助那些无法享受金融服务的人群,所以客户大多都是移民,这些人来到另一个国家,希望能够过上更好的生活。

"我们注重全球思维,致力于为那些勇往直前,希望漫游世界的人提供服务,让这些人可以选择自己的想要的工作和地点,不受传统政策和机构的困扰。我们将这些人称为勇往直前者。"

只需轻点按钮,用户便可立即在十种语言之间切换。Koppel称其为"真正本地化的产品",你可能住在德国或者法国,同时使用着来自肖迪奇的Monese产品。

Koppel骑着Brompton单车,向我展示了这个应用"真正酷炫的功能",用户可以分别在不同国家/地区拥有一个银行账户,每个账户都有单独的余额和借记卡。他说道:"这些账户不仅支持多种货币,降低外汇利率,还可以作为你的主要工资账户。"

信贷合作

对于移民来说,开设现金账户堪称一大难题,可以想象,想要获得信用卡更是难上加难。

Koppel告诉我,在他决定永久定居英国以后,他的银行冒险还在继续,因为他不符合任何信用卡申请条件。"我在这里创办银行服务企业,薪水丰厚,努力养家和三个孩子,而我唯一能获得的信用卡费用却相当高昂。"

当然,Koppel再一次从这件事中发现了商机,开始为用户提供渠道,接触更好的信贷产品。

Monese已就银行卡业务开展合作,将与其他银行和借贷方建立合作伙伴关系,在应用的市场上提供这些机构的信贷产品。Koppel表示:"我们可以看到客户的交易,可以确定他们是否有足够的偿还能力。所以,在用户同意的情况下,我们会与其他银行分享客户的数据。也就是说,银行不会盲目作出决策,客户也可以获得以往享受不到的服务。"

Koppel还记得人们以前认为金融科技公司终将统治世界,而大银行会"衰落直至消亡"。

当然,这种情况尚未发生。但大银行已经注意到当前正在进行的金融科技革命,也意识到与这些新秀合作能够带来的价值。正如一句老话所说"如果不能打败你的对手,那就加入他们的行列"。

在迅速发展的全球化和技术面前,银行体系的问题或许不能说荒诞可笑,但确实看起来陈旧不堪。

Monese正是应当前需求而生的银行,充分利用无国界世界的机会。

When Norris Koppel came to the UK 18 years ago, he landed a good job and found a flat to rent.

But there was a problem: the banks refused to let him open a current account. Koppel had no credit history in the UK, which meant – as far as the banks were concerned – he didn’t exist.

Given that international payments would incur costly foreign exchange fees, his employer didn’t want to send his salary to his Estonian bank account either.

In the end, Koppel found himself in a weird situation where his salary was being sent to his flatmate (with consent from all parties, of course), who would then pay him his monthly earnings. “It was humiliating,” he tells me. “Everything in my life was going well, but I was being treated like a second-class citizen. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you are not getting something which you assume is a basic right, it feels bad.”

It took several months before Koppel had the necessary paperwork and some sort of credit score in the UK, but his own experience had exposed a flaw, a problem – something which could be improved, if not fixed.

And this wasn’t just Koppel’s problem – nor one that is limited to the UK. In Europe alone, 140m people have very limited access to banking services – that’s every third European. And on a global scale, it’s over two billion people.

According to Barclays research, people who don’t have a formal bank account, pay on average £1,000 more annually for financially services than those who do.

And so, as is often the case with entrepreneurs, Koppel’s problem-solving cogs started whirring.

Fast forward to 2015, and the launch of mobile-only banking app Monese. It now has 500,000 customers in 20 countries around Europe – impressive for a company which has only been running for three years.

The selfie era

Koppel is thorough in every answer, leaving no stone unturned. And that’s the perception I get about Monese too – that everything has been considered and planned very carefully.

Of course, for security purposes, it’s crucial that financial institutions verify the identity of their customers. But while most banks ask for a proof of address in paper format, the regulations aren’t as rigid as existing banking processes would suggest. “It was very liberating to find that regulators are open to innovation,” says Koppel.

“So I thought: how can we improve this process, make it digital, and help more people get access to the banking system?”

This entrepreneur and his team have done just that, by allowing users to verify their identity by simply taking a selfie and uploading a photo of their passport or national ID card, creating a bank that lets you open an account online in just 120 seconds (which, Koppel points out, is “quicker than boiling an egg”).

Everything in my life was going well, but I was being treated like a second-class citizen

That doesn’t mean it skimps on the security. You could even argue – as Koppel does – that Monese is more secure.

“When customers walk into a bank branch to open an account, they show their passport. While the untrained human eye is not able to differentiate between a real and fraudulent passport, our scanning process is roughly 25 times more accurate than a human’s – so we are providing technology where humans fail.”

The tech that underpins Monese might be complex, but the trick is making sure that the app is as simple as possible for the users.

Indeed, since fintech firms burst onto the scene a few years back, their popularity has been driven by their ability to make everything easier, cheaper, and faster for consumers, who are fed up with clunky processes associated with the big banks.

The unstoppables

That’s not to say building a bank – particularly a cross-border one – doesn’t come without its challenges. “As a financial services company, you have to take regulation seriously, which means you have to be on the top of your game. Fintechs have to massively overdeliver to be successful, and for us, we are obsessed with customer service. All the challenger banks know this, but I don’t think the old guys know about it yet,” Koppel laughs.

Monese is essentially designed to help people who are excluded from financial services, and so it doesn’t surprise me to learn that the typical customer is a migrant – someone who has moved to another country in the hope of creating a better life for themselves.

“We were focused on the global mindset, we are building a service for people who want to roam the world and not be held back by anything. They can pick the job and location they want, without being held back by archaic policy and bureaucracy. We call them the unstoppables.”

With the tap of a button, users can instantly switch between 10 different languages. Koppel says this makes it a “truly localised product” – you can live in Germany or France and you wouldn’t know that the Monese product is made in Shoreditch.

This Brompton bike-riding business owner shows me what he describes as the “really cool part” of the app, which allows users to have multiple bank accounts, each in a different country, with their own balance and debit cards. “It’s not just a multi-currency support and cheaper FX rates, it’s an actual account you can use as your main salary account.”

Credit collaboration

If opening a current account is such a struggle for migrant workers, imagine how hard it is to get credit.

Koppel tells me that his banking saga continued once he decided to permanently move to the UK, but didn’t qualify for any kind of credit card. “Here I am building a banking service, getting a decent salary, trying to support a family and three kids, and the only credit card I could get was incredibly expensive.”

Again, Koppel saw vividly how this problem could be turned into an opportunity by giving users access to better credit products.

Collaboration is already on the cards, as Monese, will be partnering with other banks and lenders, which will offer their credit products through the app’s marketplace. “We can see customer transactions, so we know whether we can rely on these people to pay money back. So, provided the user gives us consent, we can share their data with the other banks. This means the bank’s decisions aren’t being made in the dark, and the customer can get a service where they normally wouldn’t.”

Koppel recalls how people thought fintechs were going to take over the world, while the big banks would “drop dead and die”.

That, of course, hasn’t happened. But the big banks have finally noticed that a fintech revolution is taking place, and now see the value in working with these new players – as the old saying goes “if you can’t beat them, join them”.

The rapid increase in globalisation and technology make the problems in the banking system seem archaic, if not ridiculous.

Monese is a bank that exists for the now, embracing our borderless world.


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