Monzo vs Zeta vs One Finance?

I’ve been doing a ton of research on banks to replace Simple. My husband and I have used the Expenses “buckets” since they were introduced. Our financial situation before them was a bit rocky, and very “paycheck to paycheck.” In the last few years of using them, we’ve really been able to truly get ahold of our finances, never been late on a bill, and haven’t come up short on funds. We’ve built a savings account (technically 2, with Goals), and we’re in a better financial situation than ever before. Plus, I stopped having to use my Excel spreadsheet for budgeting… We tried budgeting sites and apps like Mint, but they still can’t get our transactions tagged correctly, and I’d spend hours fixing it.

Our hearts, and stomachs, sank when we got the alert that Simple is no longer come May… So, I’ve spent hours, days and weeks combing through bank after bank, feature after feature. I’ve done my own searching, and used the Reddit spreadsheet (now a website). Here are the 3 I’ve chosen to compare:

Zeta- Similar to Simple starting out, they’re “backed” by a bank, but not actually a bank themselves. They feature “couples” account features, including funding for bill pay. I’m not entirely sure how it works, but the website features an image of a reminder that rent is due soon, and has the option to fund it.

In addition, you can create your own bucket like savings accounts for yourself or shared between you and your joint account holder.

One Finance- This one seems complicated and time consuming to setup, but does seem like it could be a good replacement down the line. One is boasting a direct comparison to Simple. Their twitter account is littered with these, and even suggests their users share their own budgeting flows using One’s “Pockets” feature to compare to Simple.

However, I’ve seen notes that there is no way to setup a “safety net” pocket to fund your spending pocket if you drop below a certain amount (similar to an unprotected savings account). I’ve also heard that you have to actually set your card to a specific pocket before using it, which would make paying your bills via debit card extremely time consuming and complicated (especially with services that solely rely on debit card payments, like Netflix or Amazon services).

That said, it seems as though this might change later down the line with them being so heavy on their comparisons with Simple’s features. In the long term, this could be the bank to replace them, but for now looks very convoluted.

What sets this apart at the current moment is the auto savings APY (3% up to $1k, and 1% on the savings account up to $5k), and ability to share “Pockets” with other account holders. It removes the need for joint account holders, and expands the ability to share money. Their “Boost” feature seems like it could be a very powerful tool as well, which finds places where you can save automatically as well as tracking your spending habits.

Then there’s Monzo. I’ve seen other banks that tout bucket saving, including Ally (which is a strong competitor even without the Expenses feature), but without automated spending from these buckets it’s just not as much of a draw. I’m very curious how Monzo handles this feature, or how the IFTTT automation can be set to handle this.

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I have been researching every Neobank in existence too, and I still can’t decide. I do have a Monzo account, and its on my short list. No one does Expenses like Simple, so I think my workaround will be to pay everything with my Apple Card and create a Pot that should have enough money at the end of the month to pay the card.

So, I have an update. My husband and I are going with One (One Finance). Their “Pockets” can work like expenses, just with a little extra work. They have made changes since Feb, and have included unlimited automatic scheduled funds transfers, and virtual cards for every pocket you create.

It’s a few extra steps to setup, but once it’s set it should work just as well as expenses. The 3% APY for auto transfer of part of your paycheck and rounding up the change on your purchases will come to a higher savings ability than Simple.

Their support is also stellar! My husband’s application somehow got flagged, and required an ID verification. It didn’t go through the first time, so the next day we chatted (I’m so happy they have chat support) with them. Come to find out, the system also didn’t like his beard! LMAO! But the rep I chatted with is helping us and keeping in touch with us every single step of the way! The same rep, not just whoever gets assigned the next phase of the support ticket. It’s a huge step up from Simple’s support, and most any other bank out there.

So far, we’re very happy with our choice, and I’d definitely recommend giving them a try.

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@LushMelody, I have a question. The main reason I turned away from OneFinance originally was because there were no joint or shared accounts. Their own words:

“One offers something even better, Pocket sharing!”

In my mind, shared pockets are great for friends or family, but for a couple that works from combined finances, it seems like it would fall horribly short.

What has your experience with the shared pockets been like?

Also, while Monzo USA does not have joint accounts, the reason I have hope is that Monzo UK already offers this, so possibly this will get better down the line.

Of course, this means that we are unable to make the full jump to Monzo or anywhere else that looks interesting right now, so we’re actually staying with BBVA for the short-term future and we will be trying out a couple of apps such as Every Dollar and Mvelopes, hoping we find a solution to ‘patch’ the shortcomings until a better solution comes along.

My husband and I have setup and been using our One accounts now for a few weeks. It really works better than a joint account, to be honest. In a joint account, you can’t have a secret place for making birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s, etc. purchases. With the shared Pockets things, you simply send your partner a text with the link, they tap the link, sign in, and tap “join pocket,” then done. My husband and I have our own unshareable pockets (the opening “Spend” pocket), plus our individual save and auto save pockets.

Each of our bill pockets are shared, and we have our physical card linked to our “Shared Spend” pocket, which we treat as our “safe to spend” pocket. We’ve setup auto transfer to coordinate with our paychecks (which my husband now gets his on Wednesday, instead of Friday. But we set the transfers for Friday, just in case).

So, once it’s setup, it works the same way. It’s also a lot easier to setup than I thought. With the auto save, it is impressive on how fast it builds! It rounds up your purchases from your physical card, like Acorns. You can setup the auto save to put 1 to 10% of your direct deposit into savings.

I was hesitant on the whole pocket thing at first too, but I’m really growing to like this a lot. I’ve made 1 pocket for “bills” like Comcast, electric, etc. and that uses a virtual debit card, and completely independent account number. Then a “subscriptions” pocket which has is own virtual debit card (each member gets their own virtual card as well) and account number for things like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. Then a pocket specifically for Rent.

So, each pocket is like it’s own account, with both of you having your own virtual debit cards, but a single account number per pocket. Then you have your physical cards that can just be connected to your “Safe to spend” pocket.

I have my paycheck going into the spending pocket, while my husband set his up to go into his locked “Spend” account (simply because he didn’t know when he setup the direct deposit). Which means, you can have your direct deposit go into any pocket you want, then go from there. It’s incredibly flexible and customizable! The 3% APY helps too. Because it’s a percentage, it wouldn’t matter if you both have it in one place or not, you’ll get the same APY. However, since there’s a limit on the 3%, having it split will actually increase your APY. Otherwise, you’d be limited to $1k at 3%, but with both of you using the auto save, you’re actually able to get 3% on $2k between both of you. Make sense?

Please hit me up with all your questions!! I’m happy to answer anything to keep you away from BBVA…

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OK. That’s really interesting. So, you create a general shared pocket to hold everything that isn’t in a different shared pocket. I can see how you could use this to eliminate the need for an actual shared account. I totally get the need for private spaces. I currently use my Simple Personal account for that, but work primarily out of the Shared account for everything else.

And having unique account numbers for each of the pockets is cool, too. Actually, sounds a bit better than what Simple had. Hulu, for instance, submits its bill every month with a different name, so I always have to pay that bill by hand after it comes out of Safe to Spend because the system can never identify it.

I’m curious, though. How do you handle purchases like groceries or eating out? If your physical card points to your Shared Spend pocket, do you have to move funds out of your groceries or eating out pockets before you can spend those funds, or can you simply make the purchase and then assign the pocket afterwards, the way you can with Simple?

I guess I realize now that I don’t know exactly how Monzo handles pots. I have to look at that as well. I spent some time this evening copying all of my Simple expenses and goals into a spreadsheet so that I can use that to help maintain things while we figure out what to do next. I can’t imagine moving all of those out of their pots and into the main account every time a bill comes through. Or deal with missed payments should a pot not be adequately funded to handle a higher than normal utility bill.

For Groceries, we actually use Blue Apron for most of our meals (it’s actually cheaper, and less wasteful, especially now with the price of everything increasing), so that comes out of our Bills pocket.
Eating out we don’t see as a bill, so we use our “safe to spend” money in our Shared Spend pocket. But, if you wanted to set a budget for eating out, you could always create a pocket for it, then just link your card on the go before paying. It’s really quick, and immediate to link your physical card to any pocket. You can do the same with groceries. At the store, just pull up the app while at checkout, link the card to your groceries pocket, pay, then link back to your spending pocket.

I always overestimate my bills. Our average winter electric bill comes in around $60, but I ALWAYS assume $100. Anything over is covered that way. Bills that never change, like Netflix or Prime, I just round up to the nearest 5. So, Netflix is $17.99 a month, which I round up to $20. This way if a bill is ever over what it should be, it’s well accounted and padded for. It also leaves a little extra emergency money for situations where you’d need extra padding. We did that with Simple too, and just set the auto funding at the rounded amounts.

I’m not sure how Monzo’s Pots work, but I figure they work similar to One, just no auto funding. The auto funding or “scheduled transfers” was why we went with One instead.

I also used Google Sheets spreadsheet to list and budget for our bills, then used the SUM feature to total out our Bills, Subscriptions, etc. The total amounts are what I set the scheduled transfers to. So far, it’s working perfectly!

Thanks, @LushMelody. Appreciate the feedback. I’ve talked to my wife about the shared ‘safe to spend’ bucket. Makes sense. We’re still thinking things out. I just started a new job last week, so I’ve been very preoccupied. We will definitely be with BBVA for a short while just because I haven’t had the capacity to figure the next steps. But we’ll be moving soon unless Simple’s tech magically appears in their app. But I’m not betting on it.

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I know you’ve made your choice with One Finance, but wanted to relay what I see as an absolute Simple replacement. Monzo coupled with the DAS Budget app. The developer of DAS (which is still in Beta) created it specifically for Simple closing, and the expenses and goals are identical. What’s better is that since Monzo has an open API for developers, he integrated it into DAS so transactions in Monzo are pushed to DAS instantly. No more waiting on Plaid to sync, etc. It’s basically Simple re-invented since the app handles credit cards and round ups.


I’ll look into that. We went with One because of the auto transfer feature. Don’t have time to look into or build code for Monzo right now as we just moved, and a bunch of other emergencies came up in the family. It’s been a crazy few months…

I will definitely look into that once things settle down and I’ve got time for it. Thank you very much for the information!!