Infamous ‘Brexit Bus’ Revamped to Promote Pro-Europe Startup

  • London-based Monese leased the same bus as part of promotion
  • Bus was used by Brexit campaigners to promote a ‘leave’ vote

The infamous “Brexit bus” that toured the U.K. as part of the Brexit referendum’s Leave campaign is getting a new life: to promote the European expansion of a London-based fintech startup.

Monese lets people sign up for instant current accounts using a mobile phone. As a nod to the Brexit campaign’s NHS promise, Monese has said that users of its service would be permitted to transfer as much as 350 million euros between its U.K. and euro zone accounts for no fee. The messaging to appear on the side of bus, in English and French, will promote this offer to onlookers.

The newly-decorated Monese bus.

Source: Monese

“Our expansion is aimed at breaking down financial barriers when crossing borders within the EU,” Norris Koppel, founder and chief executive officer of Monese, said in a statement. “People should be able to live, travel, and work freely, without the administrative burdens and restraints of legacy financial systems.”

Monese, which launched its mobile-only bank in 2015, employs 90 people across its London and Tallinn, Estonia offices.

The Brexit bus caused controversy over a claim printed on its sides that the U.K.’s departure from the European Union would enable as much as 350 million pounds ($472 million) per week to be given to Britain’s National Health Service. Opposing campaigners contested the figure as a gross overstatement of fact and no such promise could be delivered upon.

The bus was hired from Acklams Coaches Ltd, a Yorkshire-based coach rental company, and decorated with the Leave campaign’s messaging. Alan Acklam, one of the company’s directors, told Bloomberg his company leased the bus to Brexit campaigners “for around 30 days” and that the same bus was being leased to Monese for “a tour around Europe.” It will start that journey from London’s Westminster on Monday.

Monese spent 35,000 pounds ($47,300) on a combination of the bus lease, and the design and printing of the artwork that will wrap around the vehicle.

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