Fans of Watchdog know they don’t shy away from taking down the big banks, but many were surprised when they turned their attention to one of the newcomers on the scene, Monzo.

In series 42 episode 6 (Thursday, October 17th), Steph McGovern, Matt Allwright and Nikki Fox investigated the mobile banking app and found some pretty shocking feedback. In fact, Watchdog received more complaints about Monzo than any other bank they have investigated.

So, what is the problem with Monzo? Here’s what Watchdog found out about the new banking system.

Screenshot: Watchdog S42 E6 – iPlayer

What is Monzo?

For those who are new to the mobile-only bank Monzo, it has a very simple premise.

The aim is to manage your spending, budgeting and saving all through the mobile app. It functions like a standard bank otherwise, where you can open a current account, joint account or even a business account.

Monzo began in 2015 and now over 3 million people use the bank account in the UK.

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Watchdog take on Monzo

Usually, Watchdog takes on banks which have too little security but this time the problem went the other way. Monzo’s security was too extreme that some users were blocked from accessing their own money.

Steph met with Monzo user Frankie in the episode, who had been experiencing trouble financially since she was blocked from accessing the app.

Frankie explained: “Initially it all seemed easy, stress-free and then all of a sudden they froze the account.”

As Frankie could not access her own current account or joint account with her husband, the couple went into rent arrears and struggled to put food on the table for their son. She was blocked for five weeks.

Steph also met with another Monzo user who had difficulty communicating with the bank. After her account was frozen, they blocked her number!

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Screenshot: Watchdog S42 E6 – iPlayer

Missing money

If it wasn’t bad enough to be blocked from your own money, Steph then discovered that the two women she interviewed were missing money.


Frankie’s husband’s wages should have been paid into their joint Monzo account but while it was frozen the payment could not be processed. After two months, £750 was still missing with no answer.

Luckily, by the broadcast of episode 6, they had received that money. But there were plenty of other customers who had similar experiences and were still searching for their funds.

Monzo has rebutted the Watchdog investigation explaining why they “very rarely” freeze accounts. They explain that it is a legal requirement to block accounts. This is to potentially protect at-risk customers from fraudulent or criminal activity.





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