Romain Deville

the mondo experience, 2 months later

A little while back, I wrote about the banking of tomorrow, at the time I mentioned a startup that was of particular interest to me: Mondo.

They caught my attention for a few reasons:

  • my bank card could be controlled by my smartphone
  • instant updates of my spendings
  • a nice-looking UI to monitor my budget
  • no fees when spending money in foreign currencies

Having had the chance to participate in Mondo’s crowdcube campaign, I received a card shortly after my previous blog post was published. I’m often quite excited about novelty, this one wasn’t different and I ran to my local shop in order to see my first Mondo notification on my phone.

An artistic depiction of my Mondo card

that xmas feeling

Remember the feeling when you have a new gadget and you want to show it all around you? Well, I can tell you that a bank card usually doesn’t come in that category; Mondo changed that for me.

Once the honeymoon phase wore off (and I stopped bothering my local Sainsbury’s cashier) I went back to using my Amex as my main card (because credit score and insurances. Hate the system, I do too) but I got rid of my debit card and now use Mondo when I can’t use the Amex.

buongiorno mondo

Talking about cases where my Amex is out of the equation, I wanted to talk specifically about using Mondo abroad. So far I only had the chance to try it out in Rome but I have to say, it didn’t disappoint!

First of all, the payments in € were notified as quick as when I’m home but I was also instantly shown the exchange rate with a message saying that this was an estimate and that the final value would settle in 48h time. After checking my dear friend Google, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the rate was a match and that Mondo kept their word!

There is another feature however that I found even more useful: the ability to freeze my card.

Rome, like every other big city, has its pickpockets and the rumor is that those individuals are carrying around NFC readers and try to charge small transactions through tourists pockets and backpacks.

Reading various tech papers/news on an everyday basis, I knew this was an existing practice but having never heard of it happening to anyone even remotely close, I was never really worried about it. However, after being told by locals that this was real practice in their streets, I decided that caution was the mother of safety and took the habit of freezing my card between each use. Even if nothing happened, at least it brought me peace of mind until I take the time to educate myself a little bit more about the feasibility of such practice (especially how they can get away with it).

conclusion

After 2 months, my conclusion is fairly simple: Mondo is amazing! It works, it’s gorgeous (the app AND the card) and it’s revolutionary on many levels! A product that they should be proud of, the product manager in me is even a bit jealous!

As soon as they start offering current accounts and credit cards (credit score, I call your name) I’ll be more than happy to be an early adopter.

So far, Mondo has succeeded to excite us about something new and create a need at a time when very few startups manage to impress. Obviously, the adventure is far from over and I think the real challenge is ahead; charming the geeks is one thing but I think becoming a mainstream product will be the real fight.

Good luck, you Mondo-people (or whatever your new name might be), I believe in you!

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