Improving Monzo Plus - If you were Monzo

The third (and possibly last) of our Monzo Plus polls is running over here. I think it’s fair to say that folk are clamouring for improvements to Plus. So here’s a bit of a game / thought experiment:

Imagine that, for the next quarter, you can prioritize two big projects for Plus, as well as three smaller, perhaps incremental, improvements.

None of us really know what makes a big or small piece of work for Monzo, so we’ll need some creative licence. But for the big ones, think about brand new screens or features. For the small ones, think about building on what’s already there.

No right or wrong answers, just curious about what you’d prioritise for Plus if you were Monzo…

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So mine would be…

Big stuff

Notes, Categories etc for Connected Accounts
Replicating the native Monzo experience would be amazing. But I don’t want a 60% job, I want it all: tags, categories, searching, split the bill… And some extra gloss like tapping on a transaction and being able to either send that exact amount to that account from Monzo (or elsewhere), or to a pot (or another connected account).

Pay from a pot
I might play about with this a bit, but this is more a strategic business decision. I know it’s difficult with regulation, but start now, otherwise it’ll just take longer. Folk are clamouring for it, and it’d really drive take up of Plus.

Small stuff

Automatic Get Paid Early
It’s been built, so just a tweak so that Plus subscribers can always get paid at 4pm the day before. No effort required.

IFTTT Google Sheets applet
The automation possibilities from the Google Sheet are pointless if you have to pay for IFTTT to be able to use them. I think that if Monzo publish an applet it’ll get around the trigger. Should be less than a day’s work?

Add virtual cards to Google/Apple Pay
I’m thinking this should be straightforward: the components have already been built, but this would give a nice and visible extra feature. Especially when combined with pay from pot…

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I’d quite like:

  • Pay “Open Banking” linked credit cards within the app
    For example, if I’ve added my X Visa card to Monzo Plus, I’d like to be able to pay “X” from that view in the app without having to either go to X’s app or find them in the list of payees, cross-reference the reference number and then remember how much is outstanding.
  • More cards/accounts for Open Banking
    Including mortgage accounts, Jaja credit card, other savings accounts (Marcus) and pensions would be brilliant.
  • Credit report, not just the credit score
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I didn’t think this was possible from a “what is a card” sort of stand-point, rather than a Monzo imposed limitation? Or have I read the posts about it wrongly?

For me the biggest thing they could do is talk to people! The internal email went out on Day1 “We need members from each team to visit the forum today” and then the same again when the added AMEX support and that’s it?

I don’t expect a daily update and I know the difficulty in that as soon as they mention something, everyone is all over them expecting it to be in labs within 6 minutes.

But there has been multiple feedback threads, lots of (great) polls and not a word. Nearly 3 months on and it’s like they launched it and forgot.

And I’m not just meaning on here, I follow Monzo on Twitter and Instagram and they are fairly active, but aside from the nudges to upgrade and once asking for feedback on Twitter, there’s been no mention of anything else.

In the grand scheme of things Plus costs me a few quid a month and I’ll probably keep it, but if things were to get a bit tighter financially, Plus would be the first thing to go. That’s not something Monzo should be proud of.

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They haven’t even added any offers. I get push notifications from Revolut most weeks with new ones. The radio silence is alarming, maybe many people have just cancelled because the perceived value of the product is just not there until the premium tier launches.

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The lack of offers is really weird to me. Seems like every other company who does offers like this, be it a bank account, phone contract etc. have rotating offers every week, and they aren’t just things for new customers only.

For example, Vodafone today are offering me a free Tesco meal deal, that’s pretty good offer in my book and is useful. And that’s free with my phone contract. So the fact that Monzo Plus offers, which are explicitly paid for, haven’t updated (to my knowledge) makes little sense to me.

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I’m pretty sure this is an urban myth. I have my Monzo virtual card on Google Pay via Curve. And I’m sure that others have said that Revolut let’s you connect a virtual card to the Pays.

Small stuff

Use a Pot as money source for Virtual Cards instead of main account
:duck: me… Why this wasn’t though at the first place… This is going to change the way we do our budgeting. Like really!

Add virtual cards to Google/Apple Pay
Revolut has that, why Monzo can’t?

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Agreed. I see little point in virtual cards if any excess is just taken from your main account anyway, and not declined :man_shrugging:

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Great idea - really hard to pick, but:

Big stuff

A proper, in earnest, overhaul of how all “budget adjacent” features work in Monzo.

There’s clearly differing views on what “budgeting” is and means to each user, per the other thread; wether that’s assigning a category to track, or paying all your bills from a Bills Pot. It’s all “budgeting” of some form.

The biggest and best thing I could want from Monzo, would be a totally comprehensive budgeting approach

Rethink budgeting, and all budget adjacent features, so they play nicely together.

That’s my one biggie.

Little Stuff

Optimise how Virtual Cards work

  • lots of threads have touched this already; but a truly single use card, lockable VCards, Pay from Pot, Freezable VCards, and maybe other ‘dynamic use’ style featurs. This would be my biggest wish from Plus, and will likely keep it if they improve VCards.

  • I think this is becoming my favourite feature at the mo, so making this “best in class” would be my priority.

UI Stuff

  • There’s just bits about the UI that don’t play nice - the infinite scroll list of categories icons, the weird Plus tab that does nothing. Etc etc. All that could Be Nicer.

I’m obvs keen to see what comes next with Premium though, and if that brings any new non-insurance/product led features.

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YNAB tie in, wether that be by Monzo calling their API or persuading them to use yours (via Plaid who they use for US linked accounts)

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Transactions from pots, link a virtual card to a pot

I’d love to be able to attach PayPal credit and klarna along with my credit cards and bank accounts

I’d love to see some integration with loyalty cards for retailers and if it’s possible, have them automatically scanned alongside my Monzo card :+1:

I really like this thread, I think it might be a little ambitious to what our one squad can achieve in this ever shortening quarter, but I think it’s great to think about how you would fit work in if you were us

Small stuff
Use a Pot as money source for Virtual Cards instead of main account

We really want to do this, but I have to contest the calling of it a small job. On the surface it may seem so, but there is a huge amount of legal and compliance questions to solve in relation to various payment account regulations and what that would mean for the product, as well as mastercard lifecycle problems to solve (mainly if we allow you to swap the virtual card between various money sources), what happens if you go overdrawn on a pot, and we need to support transaction feeds on pots.

All of these things can be solved, but it will take us a fair amount of time, and is the reason we didn’t make this an option for launch (but didn’t rule it out, and paved the way for it by leaving the money source item in the creation flow).

Edit: I forgot to mention dealing with the fact that virtual cards on pots might work the opposite to how bills pots work, which would be confusing

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I’d love you to expand on this, what would you do to the infinite scroll list to make it nicer? What do you expect from the Plus tab?

There’s another really great thread by @Peter_G (although no polls in that one…) that covers some design related context better than I can probably articulate (here)

But as a quick off top of head list:

  • Creating a category - the top two rows of the page account have quite a wide selection set behind them - not sure how many icons there are, but to find the “right one” can take some time - it could be made better by utilising the blank space in the Category Creation area. (Similar to the “emoji keyboard” built in to OSs these days)

  • There’s built in tedium into the top icon picker, when there’s a shed load of screen real estate that could make that process smoother:

  • The Plus Page - Doesn’t really serve much purpose once you’ve learnt what all the features do. For the most part, most of the pages in this tab either lead to a Help page screen, or are settings accessed elsewhere in app - so from a heirarchy point of view, it just seems to ‘not fit’. It’s not bad in and of its self, but I just don’t see the purpose it serves once you are signed up and have turned on the relevant features - it’s effectively a settings page that’s given a very high status in the UI.
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I see that @BritishLibrary is replying, but it might be useful to take a quick look over here:

Monzo Plus: Thoughts on Design

Edit: beaten to it!

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Just jumping in to hugely echo this point.

It can take such a long time to find the right icon, and this would be greatly improved by showing a grid of icons for us to choose from. This is perhaps the single most confusing UX decision in the app in my opinion.

Also, on this screen, more colours please. Only 8 (right?) colours for dozens of potential custom categories just doesn’t line up. The colour of the category is a huge visual indicator and so it really seems a missed opportunity here.

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Super interesting, I hadn’t considered the latter half of this in how it would work - but it does make sense.

I honestly believe that if Virtual Cards got a bit of a power up, it would be the feature I want the most / would most want to keep from Plus. As it stands now, I can live with or without it.

In terms of implications of design, I guess you have:

  • Pay from Pot - and work like a Bills Pot - there would be no sense in this as the desire (as I can tell) would be to completely ring fence money from your main account, if it takes it out of your main balance first, then out of the pot, that’s no providing the ring-fencing I believe is the desired effect. This then leads to the problem of “Pot Transaction History”.

  • Pay from Pot - and is seen as an entirely separate funding source - likely the most desirable - but comes with the most work.

  • Overdrawn pots & Pay from VCard - I suppose the ideal is that a Pot couldn’t go overdrawn / the transaction rejected (otherwise you’re back to the ‘what’s the value in a pot and a vcard’ thing again).

  • Freezing a card - Does that cause problems? - not sure the Mastercard rules around it, but that ‘feels’ like a nice win without complicating too much, relatively speaking…

  • Instant disposal / one time use? Again another feature highly sought after in the Vcards - aside from a theoretical limit of cards, and the workflow to automate the stoppage and generation of a new card, is there any other ‘behind the scenes’ reason this is harder than we may think?