2020-04-15

Monzo Business Account

Finally, Monzo have launched a business account.

I have taken the step of moving the incoming payments account for customers paying us (AAISP) to Monzo. This means we have updated the account details people see on invoices and statements and on the web site, and we are working on a "redirect" for the old Barclays account.

This is not a decision I have taken lightly. We rely on people paying us money, but thankfully a lot of that is via Direct Debit (for which we use Lloyds). But quite a lot of money comes in via bank transfers to us. I appreciate people prefer this than Direct Debit in many cases as I know a lot of companies are nowhere near as pedantic in following the Direct Debit rules as we are.

Up until now, payments arrive at Barclays and we can download a statement. At various points in the past I have managed to screen scrape that on Barclays, but that is not ideal and for a couple of years it has meant I log in every day, even when on a cruise ship in the Pacific! Either way, all we get is a CSV file up to the end of the previous day.

We can then load that in to the accounts to record who has paid us, and how much.

Fraud

It is always a concern advising customers of new bank details as this is the way a lot of frauds work. So we are asking customers to check our web site to confirm details, as well as digitally signed invoices and statements. https://www.aa.net.uk/legal/bacs-payments/

Also, of course, now it is all real time, customers can easily sent say £1 deposit and see on their on-line account at A&A that it has arrived. This is very sensible, and thanks to the customers doing this to be sure.

Real time

Changing to Monzo for incoming payments is a huge difference. We have a simple means to have web hooks which means Monzo send us a secure post of the details of the transaction as it happens.

And I mean real time here - before the sender has seen on their mobile or web banking app even that the payment has gone, we know we have the money! It is impressive.

This is also very robust, retrying if we don't answer, and we can reload all transactions if we need. They have a unique reference on each transaction too, unlike Barclays where no unique reference meant it was tricky if someone paid the same amount twice on the same day.

Barclays even have a limit on how many transactions are in the statement, which meant that at one point it was impossible to download the previous days transactions. When that happened we set up two accounts for people paying us to keep the daily total below the limit. Crazy. Direct Debit solved that, but it shows how behind the times banks are. As far as I know, that limit (I think 300, off the top of my head) still applies.

Moving to Monzo makes a big difference for our accounts staff as it mean they can see people have paid in real time. This avoids delay sending equipment and any delay enabling, or re-enabling, a service that has been suspended.

Payer details

We also get proper payer details, notably sender sort code and account number. This means that when people forget to put the right reference on the payment we can often find the account based on their bank details. Remember that when you used a cheque in the past you gave your bank details on the cheque.

This helps with privacy as well, as our accounts staff can be looking at the customer account and not a general "company bank account". Only if the payment does not match anyone do we put it in a suspense account to be allocated.

In those rare cases of a random, unexplained, payment to us, we used to be a tad stuck. We have had money from someone listed as "CURRENT ACCOUNT" before now, and nobody complaining they had paid and we had not seen it. What do you do? Well, now, we can, simply, send back to the sort code and account from which it came, if all else fails. That said, we also get more of the payer name as Fast Payments have longer fields that are not truncated to 18 characters used by BACS (and what Barclays gave us).

Opportunities

The process also allows some opportunities, which we are working on. Some of our services are, sadly, prone to fraudulent orders. We manage these quite well both automatically and with manual checks by our accounts staff, but this means, for example, you cannot order 07 VoIP numbers from us outside some restricted office hours, and there are some services we don't sell on-line yet.

Live incoming payments would allow many of these services to be activated immediately if we get a small deposit by bank fast payment, and also allow us to confirm the details for subsequent Direct Debit.

Obviously we can make this optional - allowing customers that would rather talk to our accounts staff and delay activating a service, to do so. But it would allow people to order services any time, day or night, and have them immediately activated if they are prepared to send a small deposit by on-line banking.

I'm not sure when we will have that in place, but Monzo make it possible.

7 comments:

  1. Can Monzo automatically email us when a payment is received? I have to login to our existing bank at least three times daily to see what has arrived and to keep on top of Accounts Receivable especially when we are about to send a debt chaser email to a customer. Don't want to be doing that if they paid an hour ago.

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    Replies
    1. Not an email, but the phone app shows it and as I say the API can use a webhook (or you can script a poll).

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  2. Do Monzo support moving your Direct Debit Service User Number (SUN) to manage? I'd consider moving to them fully if they did! I did check with Starling a few days ago but said they don't and had no date as to when this would be done either.

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  3. So as a Monzo user, should I do something to transfer the payments to this account. Currently paying you via Direct Debit. I could cancel the direct debit and set a scheduled payment to you?

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    Replies
    1. Direct Debits are still the main way most people pay us, and still required for Home::1. This is to improve the way we handle customers paying us by bank transfer, and allows some more options (as per my latest blog post on this).

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