Account fees and paid for accounts

With the news that Starling and Monzo are introducing fees, I was wondering if @robert or @AC had any views, and could comment on whether Dozens has any principles around this? Are you, for example, open minded about introduction of fees later down the line, or do you have clear views about what should be free or not?

More generally, it seems that fintechs are trying to go down the packaged account route (see for example Revolut, N26 and Curve). Following on from the other thread about “digital life” insurance, are packaged accounts something that Project Imagine might think about in the future?


The only thing charging fees does, is stop people considering switching to the new banks. It’s not whether or not you will be charged fees that people consider, its the fact there is fees.

So many of these fintechs started off well, but as they go along they are more expensive than the equivalent high street bank account. With the high street banks upping there game, what with the new instant notifications from lloyds, the real time notifications in trial with barclays and so on, what does a fintech offer above them, a nice app? well lets be honest the lloyds and barclays app do everything if not more than the current fintech apps. Yes they miss spaces, but they allow you to open new accounts in a few taps thus giving you spaces.

There is the security of using an established account, people might swap to a new fintech if it offered something extra, but considering they are all going backwards charging for things, it’s not a big pull for people.

I hope Dozens doesn’t start charging fees making it just another fee paying account with a fancy app. Although with its investments and so on, it should have other income streams, so should become self sufficient easier without the need for fees.

I don’t mind fees per se, as long it’s crystal clear what the line is between fees and no fees.

I’m thinking of bunq recently ditching nonpaying customers, the Curve subscription debacle, and now Monzo and Starling coming up with structures that take a bit of reading and seem, frankly, reactive to losses, rather than a great model.

Rowing back from offering a service for free to charging for it really annoys your customers, however reasonable economically.

I have kept my former primary legacy bank current account open precisely in case I need to revert from challenger banks introducing unreasonable fees. It should not be necessary to charge fees for core everyday banking activities such as card transactions, bill payments and occasional cash withdrawals.

I think Monzo and Starling have got the balance right at the moment - targeting customers with atypical usage patterns.

On the other hand, the recent news about changes at Tandem Bank had been on the cards for some time. Product development had stalled, communication channels with the customer community were very poor and so it seemed inevitable that the £5.99 monthly fee would kill off the existing business model.