Idea to fight addiction

I think mental health problems and addiction issues are very difficult to monitor through an app. However, if I use an example of a gambling addiction for example, I think I have a good idea.
Assume Person A has 100% of his money in his Monzo account.
If he is spending 10% of his money on gambling each week/month/year, a green dot indicating a mild gambling addiction should go next to his name.
If 20%, an amber dot.
If 30% a red dot.
I’m not sure how best to deal with person A but it is a good way to monitor all users fairly.


and if spending money in a bar you could have one white wine glass, two rosé glasses, or three red wine glasses like traffic lights to warn about drinking habits

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I really like your idea, but I think it’s rather murky area. My uncle had really bad gambling addition and based on his behaviour I see some gaps:

  • money for gambling is obtained in any possible method. For example, selling furniture to place a bet - money would change hands even without touching Monzo
  • Bets can be paid in cash. Monzo wouldn’t know that ATM withdrawal is going for gambling.

Based on this, even if Monzo would attempt to warn users, it might be highly inaccurate and misleading. Addicted person might spend £1000/month, but only £30 could be via Monzo and he would get ‘green’ dot.

I don’t think Monzo should really get deep inside this problem, because bank is not most suitable advisory for this complex problem.

However, Monzo can show ‘care’ in other, less obligating formats. ‘Read this tips how to gamble safe’ if they notice more than one payment related to gambling. ‘Considered quitting smoking? Read this.’ - if they notice any related payments (that are not general grocery payments).

Basically, curating good content on the subject and offering this, rather than tagging people as 1st/2nd/3rd stage gamblers/smokers/shopping addicts/alcoholics/else, in a non-offending manner, seems like healthier way to go. It’s less impactful, but I wouldn’t expect my bank to be too involved in my stuff, regardless of the addiction.


Don’t like the idea and I’m not comfortable with my bank judging my habits. Let me explain why: There is no correlation whatsoever between money spent and addiction; not to mention that as @Avishai says, money can be obtained/used extra-Monzo.

I’m just going to use alcohol as the example for why it wouldn’t work.

1-) 3 litres of Frosty Jack’s is about £3.5. At 40 hours work a week at minimum wage (40 * £7.20 = £288) you would need to be drinking just under 25 litres of this stinking cider. Anyone drinking a 3L Frosty Jacks’s bottle a day, wouldn’t trigger the 10% warning band. Many other Monzo users at same minimum wage work, would annoyingly trigger this 10% band most weekends? £28.8 on a Friday and Saturday nights, specially if doing rounds in a more pricey :champagne: hipster bar?

2-) Impossible to accurately quantify: How much of that £200 restaurant bill is food and how much alcohol? If you are trying to seduce the girl of your dreams, :heart: how does Monzo know how much of it was drank by you or that girl you brought out for dinner?

3-) I have wined and dined customers at my company’s expense where I pick up the bill and then just claim my money back. What would anyone monitoring my spending think of me spending 130% :chart_with_upwards_trend: month’s salary in the one night (Happens when taking out a big group of people). That would set all kinds of alarm bells. :rotating_light: Looks like one of them massive binges that Hunter S. Thompson would be proud of!! :joy:

I admire your thinking but intrusive monitoring of my lifestyle is a big red line for me. If Monzo were to do this, I would certainly stop using them.


You make many valid points, what if it can up on your account without Monzo knowing?

Surely it would always be relative to income/money spent in app

I can’t disagree with anything you are saying, I just think that if maybe icons came up on your app for your eyes only that would only prove helpful for you?

The problem is not that Monzo know. Monzo will know about all my spending and may make decisions based on them.

This is part of my point though. Monzo could have a customer selling their possessions, stealing from their employer and gambling all of that on greyhounds without Monzo ever seeing any of that money and not being flagged as an issue, yet someone else could be wrongly suggested to be an alcoholic based on a heavy night out where he invited some people to drinks.

No, it’s just going to irritate me. We already have “targets” for that, I put what I aim to spend a month and see if I can keep to that, my budgeting, my decision, my responsibility. Monzo labelling my spending as a potential addiction is insulting to me as an adult, they are my bank not my personal minder. I will only ever accept accusations of drinking or gambling too much and lack of femail companionship from my mother. Anyone else is going to be nicely asked to get off their high horse and requested to go and annoy someone else.

What else? A message telling us our live is wonderful and a telephone number for Samaritans if Monzo notice we are buying rope or sharp items?

I’m all for Monzo being socially responsible, but any help they may offer should work FOR us with no hint of condescension whatsoever. The day I think Monzo are trying to lecture me or proselytise, it’s the day I will cut my coral card in two and uninstall their app.

All very good points again, fair enough :smile:

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I think it’s great that you’re trying to think of ways to support users who are trying to overcome this addiction. It seems like the sort of thing that Monzo are keen to develop - they’ve been thinking about developing the same kinds of features for users with mental health conditions.

Clearly these alerts wouldn’t be useful for every user & I’m not sure how you could get around someone wanting to game the transaction history so perhaps this wouldn’t work for reporting behaviour to others.

But for users who do want to kick an addiction, I think the indicators could be a really helpful alert to flag the fact that they’re getting sucked into behaviour which they’re trying to avoid.

I’m sure Monzo would want to do some more research on this, in order to work out the best possible solutions but whether this particular feature gets built or not, it’s good to start the conversation!


I read the blog post on mental health and that’s what inspired me to write this post because addictions, including gambling, are mental health problems in my opinion. Thanks for the feedback :smiley: :mondo: