Monzo opens banking up to refugees and the homeless


Signing up for a bank account can be stressful at the best of times, but for refugees, homeless people, and recent immigrants, it can feel impossible. Monzo is making banking more inclusive with a scheme that will allow those without addresses to sign up using just an ID.

People without a fixed home are often faced with a dilemma –in order to sign up to a bank, they need an address, but in order to rent accommodation, they need a bank statement or bank account. Monzo is unravelling this catch-22 by allowing refugees, recent immigrants and homeless individuals to open accounts using just an ID (such as a passport or driving license) or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). While this may be difficult for those who have just arrived in the UK or who are living on the streets, it solves the difficulty of having to produce a utility bill without even having a home.

There are roughly 1.5 million adults in the UK without a bank, but fintech companies such as Monzo are working towards greater financial inclusion. The importance of smartphones as a lifeline for refugees is well-documented, so Monzo’s move can help them get back on their feet in a new country. And it could also improve the lives of the 307,000 people sleeping rough by helping them reintegrate into society. Beam is another organisation harnessing technology to improve people’s lives, using crowdfunding to fund homeless people’s employment training, while building greater empathy between individuals in the process.

This article was first published by Canvas8.

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