Banking for Users with Mental Health Conditions

(Alex Sherwood) #1

There’s a really good article on the BBC news website today about the improvements that banks should be making in order to assist users with mental health conditions -

I know this is something that Monzo is already thinking about but this looks like useful food for thought.

The good news is, Monzo has already addressed the first issue mentioned in the story

For example it found that people with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder were likely to struggle with short-term memory, making Pin numbers harder to remember.

with this feature (available for iOS users & on it’s way for Android) :thumbsup:

Targets for iOS (which are on the roadmap for Android) should help with the next two issues, although additional features may be needed to really help manage them.

  • Those experiencing bipolar disorder or ADHD often struggled to resist impulses, potentially leading to dramatic spending sprees, it said.
  • People with borderline personality disorder or psychosis could find it very difficult to compare financial options and found it more difficult to plan ahead.


  • Extreme anxiety could also stop people opening letters or taking calls from banks.

And the story also suggests ways to help users:

  • The ability to delegate limited permissions to someone else to manage an aspect of your finances, as is available to wealthy individuals
  • Setting spending limits on cards or blocking access to some merchant codes, as is possible on many corporate cards
  • The ability to set communication preferences on an account, which is generally offered to people with visual or hearing impairments.

The first two items on that list seem particularly solvable - limits & blocks could be applied using similar technology to the card freeze feature. While communication preferences may be more of a challenge, given Monzo’s ‘mobile first’ approach.

As always, I’m sure Monzo would appreciate thoughts on other features that could help users manage these challenges :bulb:

Edit - In fact, giving the card to a user with mental health conditions & the app to their carer, would enable the user to spend normally for their carer keep track of their spending or even, to freeze the card, if they saw that the user was spending too much, through the instant transaction notifications.

I’d be interested to hear whether Monzo has managed to design any processes to help deal with these challenges already.

Banking for Users Without Banking Services such as Asylum Seekers
Competitor update
(Tristan Thomas) #2

I think you’re reading our minds @alexs! @zancler has a blog post coming very soon to talk more about this :slight_smile:


There are issues not just for a customer spending too much on a card or current account but also for lenders granting credit to someone with a mental health condition as to what mental state they were in when entering a contract for debt and the implications on repayment.

(Zander) #4

Indeed, this is something we’ve been thinking very hard about, and personally I’ve been in contact with Polly Mackenzie from the MMHPI on the matter. Coincidentally, as @tristan says, we have a blogpost on this matter coming this week!

(Colin Robinson) #5


Is it this one?


Agree. All acronyms and abbreviations really should be stated in full first before being used in a post or thread particularly when they more obscure (like this) or shorter (and therefore more likely to be used for multiple purposes)

(Alex Sherwood) #7

I agree that, that would be best practice.

In this instance the abbreviation is spelt out in the BBC article that I provided a link to in the original post (OP :wink:) & perhaps that’s why Zander didn’t explain it. @Dunsford it stands for Money and Mental Health Policy Institute so this organisation

(Colin Robinson) #8

Thanks :slight_smile:


Interesting, and encouraging. It may be that some features/services being considered for this “user group” might overlap those that could be useful to other groups that become excluded from best-of-breed current accounts. For example:

  • Those without permanent home addresses
  • Those with physical disabilities
  • Those from other vulnerable groups (e.g. those at risk of domestic abuse, financial abuse, etc)
  • Those for whom English is not their first language
  • Those who cannot afford smart phones :open_mouth:

Anyway, I know there are plenty of charities and other organisations that specialise in these areas, that are located close to Monzo HQ. Some things done for “users with mental health conditions” might have wider benefits that help some people and even encourage take-up by other groups, and raise the bar for other banks.

(Zander) #10

:grimacing: Apologies, I should have been clear in what I was referencing.

As @alexs says, it’s the Money & Mental Health Policy Institute from the BBC article. They’re a really important and progressive organisation and I recommend reading more about them on their website — personally I’m very inspired by their work, and want to use their findings and research to help make Monzo the best financial product for vulnerable customers possible. We’ll be sharing my post on the subject later this week and I’d love to hear everyone’s opinions :smiley:

(Alex Sherwood) #11

Here’s the blog post that Zander was referring to :smile:


The Starling Bank hackathon entry on mental health (interesting screen prints)


The screen shot suggesting “indicate a medical … concern” could be problematic. This appears to be generating sensitive personal data, from non sensitive data, as defined in the UK Data Protection Act. Financial apps also need to be careful they don’t stray into the “providing medical diagnosis” area. There’s even more regulation in that sphere.

Apart from regulation, the approach and intent need to be carefully thought about. An example app with problems was the Samaritans Radar app which was not thought out well and had to be removed.