I’ve long thought that Summary and Committed Pots are two sides of the same problem - they are trying to separate out spend you know that isn’t discretionary for that which is.
I was thinking about the new look for the Monzo app the other day, and it struck me that this design could actually provide the foundations for doing committed pots / Summary properly. So I’ve had a play around with some designs to explain!
This all comes from @bruno’s post exploring what might be a replacement for the Account tab:
The ability to create groupings here really caught my eye. And I thought that it might be a game changer for folk who like to spend on credit cards, for example, in seeing everything in one place.
But it got me thinking. What if, instead of just aggregating accounts, you could maybe split them, too? And that took me on quickly to the idea that, instead of one Monzo account, you could perhaps see two - one that ringfenced your committed outgoings, and one that would have only your discretionary spending in.
Now, this might sound a bit like committed pots, but in this example it’d still be one account - with one sort code and account number. And if - for whatever reason - you didn’t have enough money in your committed section it’d just come out of the spending section. And it’d be like Summary, showing you the money you’ve left to spend in a discrete place. And I think it’d go some way to addressing @duncang’s thought-provoking and insightful post about Monzo having more value when you can see your discretionary and mandatory spending separately.
Anyway, rubbish mocks follow:
- We start with a set-up page. Explaining what’s what and what’ll happen when you turn on “Committed Spend”
- Then, instead of one Monzo card at the top of the new home screen, there are two that you can swipe between. I’ve called this one Discretionary Spend - but is basically what we’ve got at the moment - taking out all the committed spending:
- Then, swiping to the right, you can see the Committed Spend - a bit like we have in Summary, but without the categories:
And, of course, using Bruno’s design above, you could create a virtual view combining these, showing what we’ve got now.
For me, though, the most interesting questions are about what happens when either of the accounts become empty.
For example, if £500 is ringfenced for bills, but you have an exceptional one that takes you to £550, I don’t think you want it bounced - so I’d suggest that the money gets taken from the discretionary spend fund. And that’s where the fun begins. Without an overdraft, I think it makes sense to decline your card when the discretionary element reaches £0. But what happens when you do have an overdraft? Do you pay fees even if there is money is in your committed spend area (even if that’s been earmarked for future spend)?
There are no easy answers here, so - as much as I hate excess toggles - I thought it’s probably best to let the user decide. After all - a committed pot isn’t much use if you can still spend the money you’ve committed elsewhere. But also there are those (on here and elsewhere) who will be apoplectic that Monzo might charge overdraft fees when there is money elsewhere in their account.
As I say, easy answers there are not. (Maybe this is one of the reasons it’s not here yet?)
Anyway, I liked this elegant way of addressing the problem (thorny issues aside) because it ties in the new look with the committed spend question and the future of Summary.
Any thoughts on the design and the practicality of this?