Custom Category Creation


I was just wondering if someone from Monzo could answer if the existing categories are assigned by using MasterCard’s merchant category codes or by your own intelligent tagging? Reason I ask is because I believe it’s the latter as I’ve had transactions at a supermarket for example come through as transport (which I’ve later manually changed) when if it was done by MCC then they would be assigned to groceries based on MCC 5411 Grocery Stores and Supermarkets.

The way I’d expect categories based on MCC to be set up is have a pre-defined classification assigned to groups of MCC’s e.g. 5811 through to 5814 would all be eating out as they represent restaurants, alcoholic drinking places and fast food. Of course this isn’t still 100% accurate with the likes of say M&S which I know use terminals that register as groceries for their food market as well as department/clothing stores for their main store. You obviously can’t account for people buying their clothes along with their food shop and it all coming through as groceries but I think it would be a better way to categorise especially with the likes of Tesco and other supermarkets that offer fuel categorise their transactions as store and PFS (petrol filling stations) which would then be assigned correctly to their respective category.

This goes some way in the right direction to giving more accurate default categories and then you could look further into custom or group less MCC’s together giving greater detail.

Obviously if you’re already doing this and I’ve not used my card enough to learn it better than ignore everything I said haha.



For me a useful feature would just be being able to split one transaction into two or three existing categories by amount, so there would be no problems with aggregation.

For example, going to Sainsbury’s I spend £20 on groceries, £10 on household, and £10 on medicines (micellaneous).
It would be ideal to take this £40 transaction and split it between the three categories so that my groceries limit is not exceeded, and so that I don’t have to put through three separate transactions on the till.

Tagging cannot solve this problem as it would not be one tag for the transaction so applying three tags would not help track individual category budgets.


(Alex Sherwood) #156

Here’s Hugo’s comment on splitting transactions into multiple categories, earlier in the topic -

It’s a tricky one to solve, without creating a lot of work for the user too :thinking:


(Stephanie) #157

I agree with previous comments that it would be great to be able to add additional custom categories. It is good to keep things simple however there are always goIng to be addional expenses that are unique to the person and not able to fit in a category.

From this point of view it doesn’t make sense to keep the set categories in order to be able make comparisons to peers in the same categories as it is probably less accurate because it is forcing people into putting a purchase into a misfitted category, and so comparisons potentially aren’t actually valid or reliable.

I would like to add some categories for areas of regular spending that really don’t fit into any of the predefined categories- for example how much do I spend on smoking (vaping) and I am currently redecorating my whole flat (which will take a couple of years or more so it’s a long term project) so would be great to have a single category for that.

For now I will take on the previous suggestions of being able to make a note which is searchable so I can pull up transactions within my self defined group- but it is a bit of a faff!

Not an easy job though to get that balance between usability and simplicity vs individual tailoring to catch more detail :wink:


(Jack) #158

Just thinking it would be awesome to be able to customise the categories, at the moment they are fixed to groceries/entertainment/bills etc.

I just bought some stuff at Tesco which was for “on the go” rather than a larger grocery shop for home, rather than this all being captured under "groceries"z

Really want to be able to split this out to see how much cash I am wasting buying stuff I don’t need on the go!!


(Alex Sherwood) #159

I’ve heard that there could be some more improvements to the category functionality that’ll be revealed in one of the next weekly sneak peaks so watch this space :slight_smile:

If you haven’t already, check out this preview of the next lot of improvements in this area from Hugo here too -

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(Jolin) #160

I know this quote is more than a year old now, but having spent almost a year with Monzo and some time with the targets feature, I want to comment further. The more I’ve used Monzo, the more useful I feel multiple category assignments for a single transaction is important. But I don’t think it should be done as @hugo describes above where you assign multiple categories to the same amount. It should be done (as others have suggested) where you can assign, say, £5.50 to “eating out” and £10.20 to “groceries” for a single transaction at a supermarket. This is particularly important for cash, where I’d like to be able to categorise it based on my spend. In this way, the sum of all categories will always add up to the total of the transactions. But without splitting transactions into multiple categories (or some other way of solving this problem), the target/budgeting feature will never work smoothly, and we’ll always be hacking around it.

I very much support the suggestion above (and elsewhere) for sub-categories. I understand :monzo:'s desire to keep a standard set of categories that everything is assigned to, and that’s fine. But there should be some way for us to augment that with our own better-defined categories. Again, this would help hugely with the targets/budgeting features.

I think these are real concerns about the current state of categories. With not being able to split transactions, and having to stuff things in “General” because they don’t fit anywhere else, I’m not sure any comparisons will be accurate enough to be even vaguely meaningful. And even ‘specific’ categories are too broad: “Transport” covers such a wide range, that there’s seemingly no way you will be able to make comparisons, given that some people will have cars, some won’t, some travel by train, some never do, some people take loads of flights, some rarely do, etc.

Ultimately, I think targets are a great start. I know they are only a start, and :monzo: will improve upon them. But without addressing the fundamental issues with categories (the 20% or 40%), I can’t see how the budgeting features can become frictionless and usable without tweaks and hacks.


(Jolin) #161

I use Copied, an app/extension/keyboard. (It’s excellent, highly recommended!) One of its features is that you can set up lists of clippings which are then accessible from its keyboard. I’ve set up a list for Monzo notes and stored a standard set of emojis and other text in it. When I go to tag a transaction, I switch to the Copied keyboard and tap on the emoji or text I want to insert. Presumably there’s an Android app that could do something similar. I find it a great way to work around the categories issue for now (notwithstanding this doesn’t help address the issue with my Targets).


Add Account Number & Sort Code to the Debit Card
(Ed Watson) #162

Please please enable custom categories (or sub categories). Love the new card, but easy categorisation of monthly spend was the primary reason for getting a monzo card


(Mark Dunne) #163

It would be good if there was a health and beauty category so that think like hair cuts, grooming products can be logged :grin:

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(Alex Sherwood) #164

It’s on it’s way :tada: there’s a new category called ‘Personal Care’ which is shown is one of the screenshots from Hugo’s preview of changes to the Spending tab for the current accounts -


(Mr G Hemingway) #165

Firstly, Im new to Monzo and so far Im happy with the system. Everything works the way it should (I even had the opportunity to receive a refund through a contactless touch at Tesco).

The biggest reason I chose to try Monzo out is to get an in depth break down of my expenses (I would imagine this is the same for many people).

As an Android user, I feel the categories are really quite light and it seems the disparity between the two operating systems is really quite large. My example is, I want to reduce the amount of money I spend on Fast Food, Beer, Coffee and eating out. However, I cant categorise these expenses, meaning I have no easy visibility of what Im spending and therefore Im not reducing what I spend.

Are there any updates from the team that give an indication on where this falls in the priority list? I cant see anything on the Trello board.


(Alex Sherwood) #166

The categories are actually the same in both apps although you can’t get to a total spent / average spent summary using search yet.

As I mentioned, a couple of weeks ago, hopefully one of the next few sneak peaks will reveal the improvements that Monzo’s working on in this area too :slight_smile:


(Jolin) #167

When you’re viewing the detail of a transaction, you should be able to tap the category and change it to “eating out”. As @alexs says, the categories can’t be changed or added to at the moment, but there is an eating out one which should serve your purposes for now?


(Richard Bartlett) #168

Ok, I’ve just had a very long read through this thread and understand how custom categories would be at odds with another part of Monzo’s vision, namely comparisons of other Monzo user’s spending to your own*.

I do agree that customisable sub-categories are the answer here. It appears as though most people on the thread above agree on this. It’s worth looking at Lloyd’s Money Manager solution as once you create a subcategory “Coffee” and assign it to, for example your local coffee shop, the subcategory will default for transactions at that shop in the future. I cannot stress enough that the use of an emoji for categorising transactions is not something that most users -myself included- would be willing to do. I feel that a semi-automatic system where you define the category once for a given shop is mich better.

  • I’m personally not interested in metrics comparing my spending to other Monzo users. Have you considered how you’ll handle the case mentioned earlier in the thread? (People who shop at Sainsbury’s spend £X less on groceries per week on average). How regularly would people have to visit Sainsbury’s in order to be counted in that tally for example? I personally go there once or twice a month but do most of my other grocery spending at Waitrose. Would I be considered as “someone who shops at Sainsbury’s”? My point is that you may see such a variety in user behaviour that you’re unable to derive much in the way of accurate or useful comparisons anyway.

By the way, this forum is a great resource! It’s great to see the level of engagement the Monzo staff have with it.


(Jolin) #169

Totally agree with your thoughts on sub-categories and. It wanting to (manually) assign emojis to every transaction.

Regarding your question about comparisons, I assume that the general idea is that the number of Monzo users grows to the millions and they can use the properties of so-called ‘big data’ to gain insights. But I know very little about this, and am also interested in how Monzo will deal with anomalies in people’s spending and habits. Really from a technical/philosophical standpoint rather than being worried about it.


(Rad) #170

Just adding my 10p worth here.

I like that it’s simple and does the categorisation for me. If I have to do work to categorise things I tend to not bother after some months.

But I would like a few more categories. Like Pets, Toiletries/Cleaning and all that stuff, Gifts and perhaps one or two other but not loads. Keep it simple still.

Thanks :slight_smile:


(Henry) #171

For example, if I did some grocery shopping however as part of that that transaction I bought clothes, it would be useful to have the option of sperating a single transaction into two or more categories.

If the total of the shop came to £20 and it popped up in the Monzo app as a “Groceries” shop. It would be nice to have a slider bar to change a certain amount of that £20 into a different categories.

Hopefully I’ve explained my idea well enough!


(Alex Sherwood) #172

Hi Henry, I’ve moved your topic (which was originally titled ‘Slider bar for separating a single transaction into different spending catergories’) here, as there’s been some more discussion about splitting transactions into several categories in this thread & it’ll help other users find these ideas, I hope that makes sense! :slight_smile:

The slider idea’s a new one though, that sounds cool :zap:

Hugo’s comment on this idea towards the top of the thread will give you some sense of the design considerations for this.

He’s also recently previewed some of the new functionality for the spending tab :arrow_down: (it looks like categories will be splittable but we don’t know about transactions yet). It sounds like we’ll get some more details as the launch of the current accounts gets nearer :smiley:


(Alex Sherwood) #173

Matt’s answered your question now, you guessed right :clap: