Monzo, the U.K. challenger bank that now boasts 1.5 million current account customers, has partnered with fintech startup Flux to bring itemised receipts and loyalty points to its banking app.
Due to be officially unveiled at a joint event in London on Wednesday, the new functionality means that if you’re a customer of Monzo — and once you’ve opted in — Flux will deliver digital receipts, rewards and loyalty to the Monzo app in real-time, whenever you spend at a Flux partner merchant. Currently this includes EAT, Costa Coffee (announced but not yet live), itsu, pod, and pure, while I understand a number of other major merchants are in the pipeline and could be announced quite soon.
In the long-term, Flux wants to become the proprietary technology platform for the interchange of item-level digital receipt data, but has always faced a chicken and egg problem: It needs bank integrations to sign up merchants and it needs merchant integrations to sign up banks. As I wrote when the company raised its Series A in December, cracking this problem has clearly started to gather momentum.
Noteworthy is that Monzo had actually been trialing Flux in a very small closed beta since 2017, but progress had stalled while the challenger bank built out its current account offering and figured out its “marketplace banking” strategy. Related to this is the question of how deep third-party integration should go and how wide the Monzo marketplace should cast its net in terms of the number of competing third-party products vying for attention.
To that end, the Flux integration feels pretty wholehearted. This includes a call-to-action within the Monzo app to link your account to Flux when you spend in a Flux partner merchant. On-boarding users to Flux in context — ie right after the point of purchase — and therefore unlocking itemised digital receipts immediately and retroactively, will very likely make opting into the feature a no-brainer.
Flux’s integration with the Barclays Launchpad app works in a similar fashion. However, within challenger bank Starling, the other Flux bank partner, no such call-to-action exists. Instead, it can only be enabled within the Starling Marketplace, which at two taps deep feels slightly buried for now.
Meanwhile, although the current focus is building receipt infrastructure, the Flux vision is much broader. By bridging the gap between the itemised receipt data captured by a merchant’s point-of-sale (POS) system and what little information typically shows up in your bank statement or mobile banking app, the startup can not only power loyalty schemes and card-linked offers, as well as give merchants much deeper POS analytics, it could also offer new types of enriched experiences for consumers.
This could in the future include letting you easily track your eating out habits, right down to item-level rather than just merchant category, as part of your general health goals. Or providing much deeper spending analytics to help you improve financial wellbeing. In other words, there’s a great deal more latent value in item-level receipt data to be unlocked yet.
Cue Matty Cusden-Ross, CEO and Founder at Flux: “Flux’s mission is to liberate the worlds’ receipt data in order to enrich trillions of experiences globally. Today we’re excited to be expanding our partnership with Monzo to bring automated receipts and rewards to even more people. Monzo share our vision of the future and as Flux continues to scale across bigger and bigger merchants we can’t wait to make Flux available everywhere”.