18 Feb 2016

I’m enjoying being an alpha tester for a new bank card at the moment.

You know how you sometimes spend money on your debit/credit card, then check your balance, but the transaction hasn’t shown up yet and you have to mentally remember to subtract it from the number you see on the screen? Assuming, that is, your bank has a usable app. Another example: “SMS alerts” consisting of a weekly gibberish message at 8am on a Tuesday morning. I can only find out about incoming payments by logging in and looking. I’ve often thought there’re quite a lot of things that “just are” in the banking world, without there being a good reason.

Hopefully, Mondo might change the picture. Right after a contactless spend, I get a notification on my phone. By the way, “contactless” is another one of those things in the banking world that just is, but isn’t. “Touch your card on the reader” is hardly contactless, is it? Anyway, nearly always I get a phone notification before the receipt has printed out on one of those weird rectangles made of dead trees. I see the retailer’s details, the location, amount, category; it’s great. Apart from the geek “look-what-mine-does” factor, this makes me feel slightly more secure. I’d find out much more quickly if someone was using my card - and I can “freeze” and “unfreeze” it with a click, anyway: another feature missing from “normal” accounts.

Mondo has an API, so it’s geek friendly. I’ve tried it; it’s great. I can hook up my transactions to a programmable world. My own idea: a joint account without the commitment. This could be great for housemates. Imagine if every spend I make in a particular category (did I mention that transactions are automatically categorised?) got securely shared with a simple web app. My mates/other half could find out: “Richard spent £17.54 on groceries for the house this week. Your spend was £13.45. Click here to square up.”

Mondo are working on peer-to-peer payments, so that’ll be doable soon. I look forward to seeing what comes out of this.

Tags: money, geeky