It's time to kill the Payments and Help tabs!

Bold statement, right?

I talked a bit about this before the summer. But having thought about it, I’m convinced now’s the time to kill the payments and help tabs. And the Monzo Plus one, for good measure.

But why?

As Monzo evolves, it’s helpful to think about the app as three timeframes:

  • What’s happening right now: that’s currently the home button (or the feed).
  • What’s happened in the past: looking back, what did I spend on what? Where does my money go? That’s a bit all over the place, but it’s primarily in Summary
  • What’s happening in the future: when, what and for how much are my upcoming payments? Will I have enough money? Am I spending to budget?

So if we think that’s the right mental model, that helps us work out how the app could be sensibly structured. Perhaps something like:

Zooming in on the tab bar:

These are in time order: so things in the past are on the left, things in the future are on the right.

  • Analysis would look at trends and previous spend. Something like this - but better.

  • Feed would be more or less as it is now (with tweaks for payments)

  • Home would give immediate access to the pots / accounts screen you see when you pull down the card (with tweaks to show net worth)

  • Schedule would show future stuff: budgets (if set), upcoming payments, potentially some simulated future balances allowing you model particular scenarios…

It’s a different mental model, but one that I think might stimulate some interesting thought.


So what would this mean for payments and help?

Payments: I strongly believe that having a payments tab is counterproductive, especially as we move to open banking and Monzo as a financial hub. Payments therefore become contextual, and need to be associated with an account - and the feed/card carousel is the place to do that. It could be done through a tab, I suppose, but it seems inelegant. In this example, I’ve used a floating button. But there are other ways: in Dozens, for example, payments are done from an icon under the card - a little like the pot transfer button.

As for maintaining payees, this could (should?) be done through the new Home button. More on that below. And future payments should be moved to the schedule tab.

Help: I think that it’s important as ever to have immediate access to help. Let’s not reopen the chat button debacle, but I think that a common place for help (be that self service or whatever) - but which understands that it’s a different level of hierarchy to transactional stuff - is important. So I’ve put it top right. It’d be in the same position on every single screen. It also helps free up the bottom tab panel.


What other assumptions have you made?

I’m glad you asked.

  • Summary will be no longer - its functionality put in the right place either on the Analysis or Schedule tabs.
  • The Home tab (or it could be called Accounts if that works better) would be where everything comes together. I’d bring back pulse to show net worth over time (probably longer than a month) taking into account of all connected accounts. I’d use this as the hub to manage Plus, and to manage payees. It would be a thing of beauty.
  • The schedule tab might have three parts: 1) a feed-like structure showing upcoming direct debits, standing orders, recurring card payments… that you can tap on, add before-the-event notes to, change, etc, as well as short-cuts to create new SOs or cancel continuous payment authorities/direct debits; 2) sophisticated budgeting features (including the ability to run ‘what-if’ scenarios on changes in income/expenditure; 3) rules engine, for power users (when salary is received, send X to external savings, Y to pots; when Z direct debit is paid, add note of “#Electricity”…)

So, there it is. Kill the Payments tab (sorry @kavi), move the help to the top right, kill Summary, introduce some insanely powerful features. Jobs a good’un.

Might have a lie down. If anyone wants to have a go at mocking up the new tabs, feel free!

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I might move back from Starling if this came to be.

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I’m on board with this! Get rid of the Plus tab too.

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I really like the idea of this

Gets my vote for sure

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100% this. So much more logical than the mess we’ve got at the moment.

I’ve been using this version of the app since the redesign and it still takes 2 navigations to find some things.

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I’m with you on this. New nav was a big - and necessary - step to take.

Now it is time to build on this and the framework presented by @Peter_G is absolutely solid. Good work there :+1:

I’d do some mock-ups for the excellent ideas but have to decorate the kitchen this weekend. Sorry!

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I think almost everyone agrees the plus tab should go, it smells of desperation if you’re not on plus and cloying advertising if you are. The few functional screens under there belong elsewhere.

Interesting to think of the tabs as based on time, though I think this overstates the importance of scheduled transactions (which rarely change and are of little interest most of the time), and the feed is the natural place to have the past/future/present for me. Anything called home needs to be first on the left as Monzo have it IMO - home is the place you start and place you return to.

Personally the money things I care about and would thus have as tabs are:

  • Home - Your financial life in one place, all the events from all accounts, future, present and past
  • Accounts - A list of accounts (savings, pots, cc’s, mortgage, vcards, tabs, joint, kids etc) - feed/settings/± under each account. Existing swipey list on home would be fine.
  • Plans - budgets, saving plans etc - lots of room for plus features here, key differentiator
  • People - a list of the people and contacts I might exchange money with
  • Help - this should be a stellar selling point for monzo. It used to be.

Home
I really like the idea of a feed or stream in monzo - to me this is where time comes into play - it could show the future (payments coming up for the next month even, not just the next day or so), have a choice of accounts and notifications to include, and become my financial home screen with everything from transactions to encouragement to save more etc.

Essentials:

  • Your financial life in one place - a global feed of all accounts

Fun:

  • Give each customer an email to forward receipts, put them on the feed, parse common ones
  • Show special payments from friends with fun entries here, animojis etc. encourage small payments with messages so they show in the feed this way.

Accounts
All accounts here, get rid of the confusing hierarchy, pots, vcards, shared tabs, joint etc. This is all jargon for newcomers, ditch it. Everything is an account, some accounts unfortunately have fewer features right now, but equal treatment keeps pressure on them to converge - all should have a feed of transactions, all should have account details, all should be able to add and remove money, all should be shareable, all allowed a card (real or virtual). Some of those features like cards might only be on plus of course.

Essentials:

  • See all my accounts with transactions and settings for each
  • Strive to achieve the same features for all accounts, forget complex distinctions/naming
  • Add investment accounts (money there for monzo)

Fun:

  • Rules for accounts - IFTTT for all accounts
  • Share diff accounts with other monzo people as a read-only feed (for example kids’ accounts)

Planning
This is the little pie chart on home at present, I think they have the start of something really interesting there and could make more of it. Categories belong under here, not under the plus advert tab. Encourage people to build a savings plan and stick to it as well as or instead of a budget.

Essentials:

  • Budgeting
  • Saving goals (including saving in other accounts)
  • Categories
  • Credit Tracker

Fun:

  • Gamify saving, budget goals, credit tracker with rewards, badges etc
  • Show flow between accounts as a funnel chart
  • I’d drop offers in favour of points/loyalty, everyone does limp offers of 10% off, do something new - points was fun and engaging and long term could be a USP

People
This could do the job of payments without the confusing plethora of options. Payments currently looks like it started nice and simple and gradually accreted features like barnacles till you can hardly see the shape of the original design. So the existing design isn’t great, BUT it is a top level feature IMO - some probably use it every day, and everyone uses it now and then. To me it’s about the people and companies you’re connected to though, not so much payments.

Essentials:

  • Give me a list of contacts and a search box, nothing else - look at the help tab design
  • Contacts let you pick an account to send to and from, pick an amount and msg and send
  • Contacts show transactions and recurring payments to that person/contact
  • Ask someone for money if on monzo - it pops up in their app with a simple yes/no
  • Just show very close monzo people automatically here
  • Disrupt then replace existing payment networks! By sending money monzo to monzo and then monzo to stripe.

Fun:

  • Encourage using amounts as a message, encourage longer messages/refs to monzo contacts
  • Encourage giving to charities
  • Pick a person and send a small gift with a message including emojis
  • Pay people a symbolic amount or points on an anniversary or birthday - make messages for friends with special penny amounts that turn into emojis, encourage giving small amounts to do so
  • Donate monzo points to friends etc

Help
This used to be a big selling point for monzo, I think it could be again with sufficient work. The design is good and it deserves to stay top level IMO. Biggest improvement needed from a customer point of view is to avoid long waits and bouncing around between agents.

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I really like your idea.

The help icon could easily be hidden by passing it so you have to click on your face icon first (somewhere easy to find basically for people who need help but not necessarily in the tab form)

In a total of 8 posts, the team at Monzo have been offered a really well considered and argued set of development ideas.

Will they now read them? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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(Part of me is annoyed that I didn’t combine the home and feed tabs, and then label them past, present and future. But I think that’s stretching the metaphor a bit too far.)

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It looks like it’s adding complexity (more tabs, opaque naming) and not really making anything easier.

Only thing I’d change about the current is possibly replace ‘help’ with the summary tab as summary is buried in a tiny icon such that it wouldn’t surprise me if plenty of monzo members didn’t even know it existed, and it’s one of Monzo’s selling points.

Maybe get rid of ‘things you can do with monzo’ because that’s not an account so it’s wierd it’s on the accounts list… plus it’s just a mirror of the account menu (literally a modified burger menu, heh).

Currently it’s fairly simple… left/right to swap accounts, tabs to operate on them. Not my favourite UI but it works for most, so I live with it.

btw. I’ve never seen a plus tab, presumably an iOS thing?

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Shocking lack of commitment there.

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I think this is excellent. I remember your previous attempt at this and it’s nice to see this new iteration that’s taken some of the feedback you received from last time on board. This is a nice improvement, and compared to now, I think I prefer your take, with a few reservations.

I find myself getting hung up with the home tab though, maybe it’s the name or it’s location in the bar or both.

Personally I think the feed should be considered the home and be the left-most tab, and the home stuff should be something else. Accounts works better perhaps, but I suspect you’ll find other stuff in there too, so perhaps not. I get the impression this will be like the N26 actions tab. I think they’ve got the placement right, which is on the far right. I also think that would be a better place to position help too.

I still find myself not particularly liking the FABs. I don’t think they work, and honestly I don’t think Monzo is a complex enough app to warrant them, and I definitely don’t think they should creep into the iOS app. Search, I think should stay where it is, or since I imagine your home tab replaces the functionality of swiping down, then swipe down for search is a good option as it’s a consistent action users have come to expect to find search.

Payments I think should stick with adding payees, that is in the Home tab. That tab really needs a more befitting name. Which gives me an idea for a poll… :crazy_face:

Finally, I absolutely believe pots deserve their own tab and interface. It’s such a vital function of Monzo in my opinion, more so than payments or analytics, that it deserves its own dedicated tab. I can’t stress that enough. It’s too important to be bundled into the home tab.

I think analytics and spending could be merged into their own tab. Schedule’s functionality I think could also fit into the feed, in a sort of time machine-esque style but looking into the future. Either an upcoming button at the top of the feed, or simply scrolling up to view upcoming and predicted payments. Scrolling up I think would be particularly cool as it could allow the app to display a running predicted balance as you go, which could effectively replace left to spend; utilising predicted outgoing payments that are due before your next predicted income as a means to show you how much of your money you can spend without going into the red.
The idea behind the left to spend value is great, and the best part of summary. I’d like to see that remain and be granted a level of prominence, but also be smarter and more self aware, which your idea for the scheduled stuff could allow it to achieve.

Hope this isn’t too critical feedback, and feels more constructive. I love speculating and imagining stuff that could be myself. It’s fun to dream. Even right down to process of prototyping and wire framing potential designs and mock-ups of my own reimagining of interfaces I think could be done better. Been a while since I’ve done one, so maybe I will give Monzo a go myself some point down the line.

As always, great work here, and some solid ideas! :+1:

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Interesting thread, you’re on fire this week P_G with your feedback! Be careful or you’ll be getting a new badge!

I think @kennygrant touched on something that’s been on my mind, how the current Hierarchy of Stuff is confusing, and not only that is limiting the design.

I have lots of thoughts about this as a whole, which I need to write down in a sensible order… but I’ve said for a long time “budgeting tools in Monzo don’t all work well together”, which leads to confusion.

But I think now I’m leaning towards their being a bigger hierarchy issue that is limiting the ability to develop around it, which includes my much loved budgeting issue!

Will likely expand at some point, but I do agree with the sentiment of the thread.

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Some excellent ideas and thoughts in here - keep them coming!

Let me pick up on a few things:

So this is just a conversation starter - I think I’d be be simultaneously horrified and excited if Monzo just lifted and shifted this! I think I agree that the “home” tab isn’t quite right: maybe it should be called Accounts? I think the location would work better if it were the central icon, and if it were the default one when the app opened. So maybe keep help as a fifth tab?

I think there are probably better options! I like the idea of a search bar between the card and the feed, maybe. Or a more consistent design language for transfers - perhaps a button below the card where pot transfers are at the moment. I also think we need an enhanced search / filter capability - building on something like this, maybe.

This is interesting - I’ve tried to stay away from my individual interests or cares, instead trying to look for an overall paradigm that the app could pivot around. I think time works, but I’m sure there will be others. What really stuck me from your post (aside from the great feature ideas) was the notion of People as an important area. That’s probably the thing I thought about the most, and I’m still not sure has been really cracked in my thoughts - where do you best manage all that?

This is really insightful. For me, there’s the paradigm for the app (I’ve used time), then how the various elements fit into that. I think part of the problem is the skeuomorphic representation of cards on the carousel. I’ve said before that I think this encourages use of Monzo as a spending card, but more importantly, I think the hierarchy between the overall Monzo account, the current account, pots, connected accounts etc needs work - and clarity in the app.

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As customers I’m not sure we’re in a position to offer a synthesis (which really requires more insight into tradeoffs and other customers than we have), but we can offer a thesis based on our experience, concrete pain points and problems we want to solve. Monzo can then combine those points of view into something coherent based on lots of factors beyond our ken.

I think people or contacts could replace payments, as when we pay we think of a person or company.

I’m going to add to your topic if that’s okay, about how I think that summary and looking back needs to improve.

I saw this ad today

I know I can sort of see some of this. I’ve had a total of 52 transactions ( :zipper_mouth_face:) at McDonalds but no more depth?

Everyone loves the “Your year in Monzo” but why does it have to be once a year?

At the end of the month I get the summary of what categories but it’s so minimal. I have to click into eating out and then it’s just a list. Nothing is totalled. Where is my trend? Is my McDonalds spend up or down on last month? Is my eating out up because I spent £100 on a meal out or because I went to Greggs every day?

“That’s 6 months in a row you’ve spent more than £50 at McDonalds”

That sort of insight would be great.

Now for some people that’s obvious. They know they like it and they know they go there a lot. But lots won’t realise.

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So to summarise (pun intended), it feels like we think that:

  • Future financial planning / budgeting* needs a lot of work
  • We need better tools to look back at what we’ve previously spent
  • Summary is broken as it tries to do both of these things and doesn’t really manage either
  • Contacts probably needs its own place in the app, in preference to payments.

Anything else?

*Do we think these are different things? I think that financial planning might be aggregate “where do I want to be in a decade” whereas budgeting is “what will I spend next week/month”. Thoughts?

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I think of them as the same thing… but I don’t think I can even imagine what I’ll be doing in a decade… it’s more like ‘I aim to pay off this credit card in 6 months, how do I manage my spending to do that’. Monzo is currently very good at that - a combination of left to spend plus the summary of what last month’s money went on is perfect… I get far more use out of my money than my pre-monzo days.

Contacts has never worked for me. The list of people I pay is not the same as the list of people I know, not even close - and the monzo contacts list has always been broken in that it won’t list contacts with no phone number (many of my friends I only know their email, or even if they have a phone number). I wouldn’t miss that if it went away to be replaced with a proper payees list.

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