Banner image

A Week With Mondo

I’ve been looking for the perfect budgeting app for a long time now. With the introduction of Apple Pay, I had hoped that all of my budgeting could be achieved through Apple’s Wallet app. However, where I try to use Apple Pay wherever possible, it’s tracking experience is near non-existent. Yes, a lot of that can be achieved through mobile banking apps, but the constant logging in, entering of different digits of customer numbers and passcode soon becomes tedious. And, after all that, the budgeting side of it still comes down to you.

You have to make the spreadsheet, you have to search through lines of transactions that all look the same, you have to put in the effort. Even with apps I have used, such as Next, the input of your expenditure comes down to you.

Where this may be a little lazy on my part, putting in the expenses myself soon becomes a chore. When I spend just a few pounds at a time, I find myself not adding those in because I think it’s not worth it. Well what I have found, is that all of those ’not worth it’ payments soon add up at the end of the month.

With all that said, I was incredibly excited when I came across Mondo.

About Mondo

Mondo, is looking to become a bank, based solely on your smartphone. This past week, I have been beta testing their services, which currently runs from a prepaid Mastercard, and I have to confess, I’m in love, all of my issues are solved.

The Mondo App, links directly with the card they provide you with, giving you instant notifications of any payments. These payments are then tracked within the app, so you can review your transactions at your leisure. In just one week this has opened my eyes to a number of things.

Clear, concise listing of expenses

Firstly, it’s amazing how quickly those little payments everyone is guilty of making add up. To begin using the service, you need to make an initial £100 deposit from an existing debit card. Where I thought that £100 was a bit much, it’s really just moving your money to a different location than an expenditure. I thought that would last me a while, but because of a sandwich here and a coffee there, that £100 disappears fast. In just one week, I’ve already changed my spending habits, something that use of other budgeting apps hasn’t prompted me to do.

Sleek, Sexy Savings

Although still in Beta, the Mondo App is visually great. Your expenditure is listed by date, where the remaining balance of your card is displayed clearly in the top right corner, right next to how much you have spent today.

Having spent a long time looking at my waiting list position go down in the app, I knew that it was going to look good. The colour scheme is complementary, and the expense view is clear and concise. Clicking on an expenditure shows you how much you spent, displays where you spent it on a map, and also sorts it into a category, which I assume will play bigger parts in future iterations of the app. It is a real shame however, that this subtle UI didn’t make it’s way to the garishly luminous pink MasterCard…

There are also options to add receipts, which again, will play bigger parts in future updates, particularly when it comes to adding business expenses.

Detailed views of individual transactions

Those instant notifications I mentioned are also playful. Each of them is accompanied by an appropriate emoji, which I thought I was a really nice touch. I book my train tickets to London for the weekend, and was sent a little train with my notification. Small touches, but very cool.

Cheerful emoji's feature in your notifications

Tracking is also smart, based on where you’ve done your shopping, Mondo will automatically assign your expense to a category, such as shopping, transport or entertainment. This helps keep an eye on what activities are eating their way through your bank account.

The Future

This is just the beginning of Mondo, and while it’s an excellent start, I’m keen to see the addition of more features.

To begin with, I’d like to have a ’Spent This Month’ tab added at the top of the screen. Working on a daily basis is less than ideal for people who are looking to track a real budget. If you press on your daily expenditure, it does show you how much you have spent so far this month, but I’d like to see that straight off the bat.

Secondly, where I don’t like the extensive log in procedures of mobile bank apps, I think the lack of anything in Mondo is a little worrying. Integrating the use of Touch ID upon opening the app would be a great start.

Compatibility with Apple Pay would also be welcome, if only to shield my eyes from the most offensively coloured credit card I've ever seen. But at the moment, all of these are minor issues.

Finally, I’d like to see a native Apple Watch app. Sure, the notifications get pushed to my watch, but I’d like to be able to see my card balance at a glance while I’m out and about, rather than pulling out my phone.

Mondo, Banking for the Future

Overall, I am incredibly impressed with Mondo. My budgeting woes have been addressed, and the service has a lot of room to grow. I think that it will take a lot to convince people to change. Where I do my minor spending using Mondo, the lack of rewards offered compared to my usual Tesco card, means I won’t be moving my major expenditure over to it just yet. I also have a graduate bank account with many perks, so until Mondo can offer similar, that will be staying the same too.

However, Mondo does offer zero foreign transaction fees. I have a trip to Poland coming up, and will be taking my Mondo card - and substantially less cash than I was planning to - with me as a result of this.

The potential with Mondo is evident though, and I’d encourage everyone to try the service. It’s no wonder that they broke crowdfunding records, raising £1,000,000 in just 96 seconds.

It’s not a secret anymore, with a waiting list currently approaching an excess of 100,000 people, so if you’re interested download the Mondo app now!