Joint Account Parity Lite

TL;DR: Monzo should add custom categories and virtual cards to joint accounts if at least one of the users has Plus/Premium, and they should make this change immediately, resolving other feature integration of Plus/Premium into joint accounts later. This “lite” version would solve the 95% case.

We talk a lot on here about Joint Account Parity - or, rather - the tragic lack thereof. Have any staff recently indicated whether this is being actively worked on? If not perhaps a staff member could do so?

I understand that fully integrating all the features of Plus/Premium is complex as there’s things like insurance in there. However, for people who’s financial lives revolve around their family (so: the majority of people out of their ‘20s), the lack of two key features in joint accounts is really crippling them:

  • Custom Categories
  • Virtual Cards

With Summary/Trends and a lack of custom categorises, the overview you get is completely blunted: there’s a reason custom categories was the most requested feature ever, and it’s a bit of a joke that six years later we’re still here without them in the joint account. The blog itself describes this as “one of our most-requested features!” - so how is this still not a part of joint accounts?

Virtual cards are critical for money management in Monzo because a whole slew of bills payments can only be done on a card (thanks American tech companies!). This undermines the utility of the bills pot, leaving very fuzzy edges around it. Further, the ability to tie a virtual card to a particular pot enables segmented budgeting that’s really critical to money management. But again, for no real good reason, this is completely denied to joint accounts. The blog post announcing this (“Take total control of your spending”) also describes paying from a pot as one of the “most requested features”, and the lack of it very weird - yes indeed!

There’s no good reason not to allow these features in the joint account immediately. You can either let both users use the whole feature if either has Plus/Premium, or make it read-only for the non-Plus/Premium user if you must to encourage the other user to upgrade.

As Monzo’s customer base grows, more and more people will be older than 20-something, and so more and more will find these features in the joint account critical. So please, Monzo, fix this and don’t leave it another year. Joint accounts can’t continue to be a second-class citizen, and these two simple feature additions would solve the 95% case!

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Did we really need another thread? All the effort to write that for zero gain. Monzo know all of this.

Putting things in bold doesn’t mean it happens quicker btw.

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Thanks for the helpful comments :+1:. The point of putting things in bold is to help someone who is skim reading.

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Yes, they have:

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Sadly my joint account transfer is happening now on the 11th as a result - mind you as a sixty something grandfather - I’m still keeping my personal Monzo to keep an eye on progress so I can switch back in future!

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So, for clarity I’ll reiterate: what I am suggesting here is just incorporating Custom Categories and Virtual Cards, as a way to get a huge effort/reward trade-off.

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But that’s likely all it would be anyway. And the Google export.

You’ll need Plus/Premium on your single account or you have this problem in reverse.

You’ll have the insurances and the “difficult” parts already, so that’s all that would be added.

There’s a whole host of reasons why they haven’t done it yet, it’s annoying as I’d like all the features across all accounts but it isn’t happening anytime soon.

Thanks for the link to @jackcully’s post. It shows precisely the problem that I’m outlining here:

a lot of folks at Monzo really, really, really care about this problem

we just haven’t got round to it yet

I can’t say when we’ll properly tackle this problem

So absolutely nothing is being actively done on this. Some people at Monzo care. Great. But absolutely nothing gets done until a team of people are assigned to the task - period. And what I am saying here is that there is a potential path to solve the 95% case - enabling Custom Categories and Virtual Cards. And while there’s not zero work involved in doing this, it’s both a small subset of the features, and fundamentally these features already work on the personal account, and so it’s really just some modifications to enable two people to use them, rather than a whole extra set of features to develop.

It still blows my mind that despite the majority of Monzo’s users likely being tied to a joint account for most of their expenses, there’s nobody actively working on this.

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You’re quickly rising to the levels of :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: that I operate at with JA parity.

EDIT: Jeez - it’s over a year since I posted this:

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I considered titling the post “Dear Monzo, not everyone is a 24 year old startup employee”, but, well…

THAT is the problem! It’s just being serially ignored. And if you sort by votes it’s basically the top thing that findamentally affects people’s usage of a modern app-only bank. The lack of dark mode doesn’t prevent anything. Pot to pot transfers are a nicity, not a necessity. And a desktop version, while useful, doesn’t change anything. Cheque imaging, sure, if you rely on that it’s serious, but really that has got to be the vast minority of people. But joint account parity: it’s everyone.

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Probably worthy of a bigger post, but I think Monzo still has a way to go.

The CEO is inward facing. Over a year in and we have no real idea what his priorities or vision are.

Product is getting better but pace is still terrible. We’ve been a bit distracted by the agile iterative vs polish release switch - but ultimately the problem has always been a lack of focus and follow up - public betas would have been fine had they ever actually finished each thing. Now they just polish and release things that still need more work (don’t even get me started on the bulk recategorisation stuff).

Support was excellent and is now medicore. I can wait anywhere from minutes to hours for a response. But most things need to be transferred to a specialist… And I can’t really rely on the response (I’ve had incorrect responses, even as part of a “final” response to a complaint). And I won’t rant again at just how inappropriate I find hiding the chat button and not really delivering proper contextualised help to replace it.

I don’t want to depress anyone from Monzo - as I say, product is getting better (the Flex launch is excellent, for example), but things still feel like they have a long way to go…

Edit: this sounds a bit like a non-context rant. I say all of this because I think there’s something fundamental in leadership, in strategy and in resource prioritisation that seems to be a bit endemic. Joint accounts seems to be a major part of this.

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What’s wrong with the recategorisation feature? It seems to work well for me?

It’s only half finished. For reasons that baffle me it only works for card transactions, not for faster payments or pot transfers. Inexplicable.

It works for BACS transfers as well

But not for faster payments?

Simply put, if this was the case then I suspect the Joint Account would already be at least at parity with the Personal Account.

The fact that JAs get as little attention as they do tells me that they are not financially significant to Monzo.

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I’ll admit that financially Monzo had to ship Flex because loans are fundamentally how banks make money. But that doesn’t tie up the whole dev team. And a joint account that works as well as the personal one is absolutely essential to most people. Just think about the demographics; people are only single for a short while at the beginning of their adult lives, thereafter it’s more common than not to be sharing with a partner.

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This is it I think.

We (the collective) might use a JA in the traditional sense but I don’t think this is common as it used to be.

The JA might be lacking the super user features that we all like/want but compare it to the competition, they don’t have these either.

Monzo will know how many joint accounts they have and if 10% of those upgrade (or however they do it for JA) that would bring in £x but working on other things brings in more.

The JA is a great joint account as it is. We might want it to be better but clearly it isn’t given that level of priority.

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I think that can be a bit of a misinterpretation of useful data - see also my rant about Cheques and Cash.

Are they not financially significant to Monzo, because the features aren’t there, so the potential significant user base who do want a fully functioning JA go elsewhere?

Same argument as “We only get very few cheques” → Because most sensible cheque users have an alternative method that’s faster and easier.

And to build on that point - I wonder how many potential Plus and Premium users just don’t ‘convert’ because of the mess it creates in having a mishmash of financial data and feature sets…

(It is bonkers that I can (custom) categorise external account transactions but I cannot do that to Joint ones)

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