Moni revolutionises mobile consumer finance
Finnish startup Moni has created an innovative service so people can manage their finances on mobile devices.
For years we have been promised that we would soon be able to handle our finances on our phones, from payments to loans, from invoices to transaction records. Finally that vision is becoming reality thanks to Moni.
“I already had many ideas for online services at the end of the 1990s, but online payments were always the problem,” says Antti Pennanen, Moni CEO and founder. “More recently I was frustrated with banks, especially their online user experience. It was really difficult to handle your personal finances, there were no digital receipts, paper invoices were mailed to your home, and there were many different apps for handling one specific task.”
Moni was founded in 2014 with the idea of taking a 21st Century approach to consumer finance, and now their platform is near fruition. It allows a user to make payments, send and receive money, and link a debit or credit card to a Moni account. Even salaries can be deposited to a user’s account, which they can access via a prepaid Mastercard.
A particularly novel approach is for credit: a user can apply for credit from banks or other professional lenders via a real-time auction, but they can also use the peer-to-peer system. This arrangement allows a user to borrow money from or lend money to different individuals in their network.
Over the winter the company ran a unique pilot programme with the Finnish Immigration Service Migri. The Finnish state paid regular government benefits to almost 4 000 refugees with Moni accounts. They could then use prepaid cards to make purchases in Finland.
“As the refugees cannot get a bank account in Finland, the second experiment was to pay salaries to Moni accounts for refugees who have obtained permission to work,” Pennanen says.
Refugees with no passports may not be able to open accounts at regular banks due to their strict know-your-customer rules, but Migri has an identification system which can be used with Moni. Now refugees can better participate in Finnish society.
“So far all the concerned parties – Migri, the reception centres and the refugees – have been satisfied with Moni,” Pennanen continues.
This is not simply a mobile application they are building. Instead, they want to create a hub and ecosystem, such as the App Store and its developers, which enables third parties to innovate services for the consumers. These could be things such as loyal shopper programs or insurance services. Pennanen explains that a user would be able to choose what services he wants, just like picking which cards to carry in a physical wallet.
Now Moni is testing their full consumer product. After testing they will roll out a full public launch in Finland, and soon after they plan to expand into other European countries as soon as regulatory licenses are in place.
“Our big vision is that our technology makes it possible to have a ‘banking’ account on any mobile phone for any person on the planet,” Pennanen concludes. “We are happy to see how many investors and collaborators share our vision and are helping us to reach our goals.”
Text: David J. Cord