Designing a product with mental health issues in mind

Zander was recently interviewed from this story, which includes some great examples of how Monzo’s existing features have helped a user with depression manage their money :thumbsup:

It’s great to see that some of the Monzo team are going to be at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s TechSprint event aka hackathon, along with the FCA, some legacy banks & another start up next week.

The ‘TechSprint’ will bring together tech developers for two days, working in teams alongside mental health experts, to develop new and innovative tools to help people with mental health problems manage their money.

I’m looking forward to see what they come up with!

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I expect I’m just jumping the gun here but it’d be great to hear more about what the team designed at this hackathon, will there be a post about this?

Edit - I expect we’ll hear a lot more about this event during the panel for the March open office -

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Following the blog post, here’s a short presentation from @zancler on the same topic -

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Being the partner of someone who suffers with mental health issues I think you are very wrong with your response and these features would be welcome by me.

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For anyone who can’t make it to the Open Office this evening (now sold out :frowning:️) we will be streaming live here from 7pm


Please do more of these. :joy:

Interesting today that the winners of the Starling Bank hackathon were a team with an entry targetting mental health issues. Their entry flagged up increases in expenditure on shopping etc.


Some very interesting ideas, and I hope they see the light of day.

Unfortunately, the most useful thing Monzo can do for me, as somebody with Bipolar II, is something that you are already doing, but plan to stop doing soon.

I am subject to the type of late-night spending sprees that you mention (although I hardly ever make individual purchases costing “over £100”, more often many many purchases costing £10 or £20). The best solution I have found to this is to give my wife control over top-up of my card, so that I have a hard limit (unfortunately I rarely know what this limit is, as giving my wife control means that I am unable to see my balance on my own phone).

I contacted Monzo to ask whether I would still be able to use my card in this way once you become a bank, and sadly the answer was no: Monzo is too busy trying to “build the best current account in the world” to be able to keep safeguards like this in place for people with bipolar disorder.

In light of the fact that Monzo will soon be removing from their card the one safeguard that people with bipolar have, I find it hard to take seriously your claim that you are “designing a product with mental health issues in mind”.


surely your wife being able to freeze your card if its a current account will be the same control she has now on top ups - if she wants to control your spend and in effect make you think whether your card is frozen or not before your purchase you won’t know when she is ready to freeze it and you would be more “careful” with your spending - sorry don’t know much about bi polar , correct me if Im wrong but it would seem the same control that makes you think before purchase at the moment ?

Not the same at all.

With hard spending limits, my wife is able to say “I’ve put £20 on your account, that’s your limit for today”.

With a frozen card, I don’t have anything to spend today. So how do I buy my lunch?

You also make it sound like it’s a game, my wife trying to “make me think” my card is frozen so that I’m more “careful”. It’s not a game, or some kind of trickery as you imply. It’s a working cooperatively.

I can assure you that I am always thinking before purchases, that’s not the problem.

again not wanting to get into an argument or imply its a game - you can work co operatively with your wife in what I consider - maybe wrongly - to be the same as her saying Ive topped up £20 on your card today for lunch just the same as I will freeze your card at £20 today when you reach that on the phone that you have asked her to control your card spending by top ups - maybe Im wrong I was just trying to see a way around using current accounts for you - not to attack you

That doesn’t sound quite right but the answer that they gave would of course depend on what exactly it was that you asked. If you asked whether you can keep the prepaid card for example, I’d understand that answer.

It’s also worth mentioning that as far as I know, Monzo have not yet designed any features for people with mental health conditions. Instead that’s something that they plan to do. In the meantime, it’s great to hear that you found a way to use the standard functionality to address your needs so let’s see whether there’s another way to do that now.

There’s a couple of ways that may work, that I can think of.

The most simple option could be to not make your current account your primary bank account (the one that you store all of your money in) & to give your wife control over topping up your Monzo account, by bank transfer or card.

The other option might be to use Pots to set aside all of your money in your Monzo current account apart from £x, that you can spend each day.
I’m less sure that using Pots will enable you to lock the rest of your money away - you might still be able to ‘break into’ another Pot but we’re waiting for more details about the feature - so option 1 seems like the most likely solution to me.

Might that work for you?

That might work - although the reply I got from Monzo implied that it wouldn’t, because with the current account there’s no hard limit (I assume that if I overspend, I will just go more and more overdrawn).

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In actual fact, once your balance reaches 0, Monzo will simply decline any more payments that you try to make & although overdrafts will be available, you can choose not to have one -

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Hey Dan – I think @alexs has already addressed a few of the concerns, but I just wanted to add on top of it. First of all, thank you very much for bringing up the issues you face and how Monzo can help tackle them.

On the full current account you will still be able to freeze and unfreeze your card instantly, and the card can be topped like the pre-paid card now if you wished to use it in that manner. For hard limits, as you mention you would be able to go overdrawn, but that would require you to explicitly set up your overdraft (with a limit) in the app. If you think that could be dangerous for your spending habits, we’d recommend being super vigilant before setting one up, if at all.

Thank you again for sharing your side of the story here, it’s incredibly useful for us to understand how you’re using (and hope to use) Monzo to help safeguard you – this kinda stuff has a big influence on how we design the product.


Thanks Zander. The only problem with using the overdraft is my hard limit is… I would have to empty my bank account to hit it. I guess that I could keep my First Direct account as my main current account, and only transfer as much money to Monzo as I’m OK to spend - which ought to allow me to keep things similar to at present, although it’s a shame as I had been thinking of moving my main account to Monzo.


As someone who is prone to these late night spending cycles that brings the next day guilt and regret that develops into dispondency and dispair, one night will impact me for weeks. It impacts me and my family. For me any steps or measures that create enough friction in transactions to make me pause is highly desirable and welcome.

I don’t want a Bank to tell me what l can spend, but if a Bank gave me options of things like; temporary pausing card transactions, giving me an ability to lock my card over a time period, to prevent multiple transactions to the same retailer in a given time window would be amazing tools to have. It’s not about absolving responsibility to my Bank but it is about knowing someone has my back and provided me a toolkit that l can deploy. That would be simply amazing.


As part of the budgeting process in the CA from what I’ve seen in the preview images, would it not be possible to make a daily budget - that can be turned on/off or readjusted in the app for a bigger purchase if required - so that would work as a daily limit kinda of like how Dan uses the prepaid account now?

I know having a daily limit of spending would help me stop buying things that I don’t necessarily need.

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I have just seen this article, any idea when this may be implemented for Android? The designated carer option would be invaluable to me while trying to get my finances back on track :slight_smile:

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