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Monzo and Starling take bigger steps towards payment integration

Challenger banks are upping their game as Monzo announces integration with Android Pay, while Starling Bank makes connections in wearable tech.

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Monzo has announced today, after a week of dropping hints on various Twitter accounts, that it plans to integrate Android Pay into its user interface for current account users.

A few hours earlier, Starling Bank confirmed this morning that it will be the first bank in the UK to connect with Fitbit Pay.

The updates only serve to reinforce the idea that Monzo, despite its larger customer numbers, is still lagging behind its rival Starling to compete in compatibility with other major consumer products.

Android Pay is Monzo’s first step towards cardless physical payments, and rumours of iOS support suggest that Apple Pay integration is still a long way off.

The announcement comes almost two months after Starling introduced support for Android Pay to its banking app in early September. Starling is also ahead on Apple Pay, having become the first fintech bank to allow its customers to use it in July.

The move into Fitbit Pay represents the first official wearable tech integration from a UK bank, allowing users to add their Starling debit card to the device and make payments on the go.

Previously, Starling’s mobile integration with Android and Apple users has allowed for their services to be used in wearable tech like smartwatches, as well as in other products like the Kerv payment ring.

Digital banking consumers, and particularly young people, have been vocal in their requests for more integration of their banking services, with mobile payment options increasing in popularity.

Several of those interviewed for our Millennial Money Matters podcast have complained about the lack of integration on their favourite platforms, which until now included Monzo as well as competitor banking app Revolut.

This morning Anne Boden, founder and CEO of Starling Bank, said: “Having successfully launched other payment platforms in September, we are delighted to be the first bank in the UK to offer Fitbit Pay as we expand our work to make secure, digital payments easier for all.”

Daniel Cannon, a senior software engineer at Monzo, has commented: “Whether we’re scrolling on Instagram and streaming on Spotify, or ordering a cab and finding our way around a new city, we use our phones for almost everything. Now, thanks to Android Pay, we’re excited to say that you can use your Monzo debit card to make payments with your phone too!”

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