Digital-only bank Monzo gets go-ahead to expand in Ireland

Company has raised more than £100m from backers including the Collison brothers

Monzo, a UK-headquartered digital-only bank that has raised more than £100 million (€112 million) from investors that include Stripe, has obtained passporting permission enabling it to operate in the Republic.

The company, which received its full banking licence last April, said the Republic was the first step in the challenger bank’s plans for international expansion.

Monzo, which has more than 550,000 users in the UK, said it intends to spend the next few months setting up access to the necessary European payment schemes, before offering its products locally.

The company said it received passporting approval from the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the last week.


"We're thrilled to have received official passporting permission to offer Monzo in the Republic of Ireland, " said Thomas George, head of international at the bank.

“Beyond unlocking a whole new set of customers who can soon get their hands on a Monzo account, this moment is particularly exciting because Ireland will be Monzo’s first step outside the UK, as we begin our journey to bring Monzo to the world,” he added.


Monzo said it had no immediate plans to open an office in the Republic, although it hasn’t ruled out doing so in the future, depending on how Brexit works out.

Mr George said the bank, which employs more than 300 people, is also eyeing a move into other European markets this year and is looking at expansion into the US in the longer term.

Founded in February 2015, Monzo, raised £71 million last November, in a funding round led by Silicon Valley-based Goodwater Capital that valued the company at £280 million. Other investors in that round including Stripe, the online payments company established by Limerick-born brothers Patrick and John Collison.


In obtaining passporting rights, Monzo is following in the footsteps of Starling Bank, the digital-only entity founded by former AIB executive Anne Boden. Starling received approval from the Bank of England to operate in the Republic under the European Union's passporting arrangements last June.

In addition to Starling, a number of other digital-only banks have been making waves in the Republic of late, including London-based Revolut, which has one million customers globally, including about 50,000 here, and Berlin-headquartered N26.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist