Digital challenger bank Monzo is expanding to Ireland after Bank of England approval kicks off Europe plans

Lynsey Barber
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Monzo will soon launch in Ireland (Source: Monzo)

Monzo is kickstarting its international expansion plans with a move into Ireland after gaining the green-light from the City watchdog.

The digital challenger bank will start working on launching its product in the country after gaining passporting permission from the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) .

Ireland will be the start of Monzo's international expansion plans, which will include other countries in Europe this year, the fintech startup said.

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"We're thrilled to have received official passporting permission to offer Monzo in the Republic of Ireland," said head of international Thomas George.

"Beyond unlocking a whole new set of customers who can soon get their hands on a Monzo account, this moment is particularly exciting because Ireland will be Monzo’s first step outside the UK, as we begin our journey to bring Monzo to the world."

There are no plans yet for the startup to apply for a banking licence in Europe with Brexit approaching, said George.

"We’re keeping a close eye on Brexit developments: we don’t yet know the exact terms under which the UK will leave the EU, or how any form of financial services passporting or equivalence will work after Brexit. Once there is more certainty we will make a decision," he told City A.M..

The three-year-old firm is also considering a move into the US in the long term. Founder Tom Blomfield last week that it is in very early discussions with regulators there.

An exact date for launch has not been set, but Monzo said it will take a few months to gain access to European payment systems.

Update: This story was amended to say the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority granted permission, not the Financial Conduct Authority.

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