Most Important Features for Simple Refugees

Preface:
I recently switched to Monzo USA from Simple since they are shutting down. After doing some research, I realized Monzo cannot be a full replacement YET, but (at least for me) with the below features I would be able to completely switch to Monzo.

I received my Monzo card this week and have been playing with the US app. Overall I’m happy with the way Monzo works. I love you cant “overdraw” your main account by auto-spending from pots (I’m sure others will have different opinions here). I think the interface is easy to use and based off the features available in the UK, I’m optimistic for the future of the USA version.

Before getting into the two feature that are a must for me (and I suspect many others transferring from Simple), I want to explain my current setup. I’m a heavy budgeter who uses YNAB to regularly reconcile accounts across multiple institutions. YNAB allows me to track my net worth and balances of investment accounts over time, and get a deep look into my spending habits. A Shared Simple account (with my wife) is our primary checking account. We have other checking accounts as well which have small direct deposits setup for rewards purposes - this makes YNAB critical for budgeting purposes. I had
(have) Simple setup with Expenses which mirror my budget in YNAB. Expenses are funded from our paychecks as they hit our account automatically (similar to Monzo’s salary sorter from what I can tell). Simple is connected to YNAB via Plaid to import transactions (as are all other institutions). Each of us have individual Simple accounts which we use for discretionary or fun-money spending.

The two must-have features:

  1. Shared / Joint Accounts
    My wife and I use our joint account daily for purchases. It’s critical that we have a joint account with which each of us have debit cards for spending. Monzo already has our individual accounts covered, but lack of a shared account means our primary bank account will have to be at another institution.
  2. Plaid Integration
    Being able to view transactions in other FinTech tools is critical, but it is really only important with a Shared / Joint account for me. We don’t budget discretionary purchases, we budget the transfer to discretionary account. I only need to track transactions in the shared account. (I’m sure others will have different needs).

With these two in place, I’m able to transition over to Monzo entirely (hand happy to!).


Other non-critical, nice-to-have features:

  1. Salary Sorter and Spending from Pots
    • Automate my regular task of populating my budget / pots? Um… yes please!
      Salary Sorter Calculated as a Percentage would be a great improvement on this feature too!
    • Pay recurring bills from those pots, so I am confident I won’t overspend? YES!! (Improvement over Simple in my opinion)
  2. Pot Goals: Set a Target Date
    Simple allows customers to set a target date for goals, but also lets customers setup recurring expenses and dates for those as well. This lets you easily set a funding source for an expense (presumably update your salary sorter for Monzo) when setting up the expense. Simple handles all the math for you to ensure you have enough money on-hand by the time your expense or goal date comes. It also supports setting this up as a recurring expense on a monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or annual basis.
  3. Integration with “Instant” Payment services like Zelle
    This would be great to be able to send / receive money from non-Monzo US friends and family. Especially since Monzo is in its infancy in the US.
    Note: US users can still use Venmo today, we just have to go through account verification which takes a few days. If Plaid integration was supported, US users could link accounts instantly to use Venmo.
  4. Bill Pay
    This would be a nice feature - Since I dont have a UK account, I’m not entirely sure if this is the same as (1.)
  5. Earn Interest on Pots
    Today, for long-term savings I use a second institution to save for long-term expenses so I can get a better interest rate. Being able to earn additional interest on “long term” pots would be a big win in my opinion. Having said this, it would actually be nice to have long-term vs short term pots. In the US you get 6 outgoing transfers from “savings” accounts per month. I’d be happy with the same limitations in exchange for a decent interest rate.
  6. Mobile Check Deposits
    I can get around this right now because I also bank at other institutions which have mobile check deposit. It’ll be annoying though to have to wait for the deposit to clear, then the transfer…

Ok enough ranting. The first two are critical, the rest bring Monzo to par or ahead of Simple :slight_smile:

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Wow - thanks so much for the detailed write-up. A lot of these things are on our list as well, but I’d love to hear more about how you used YNAB and Simple, and what Monzo would need to build to help fully meet your budgeting needs. Would you be up for spending 15-20 mins on the phone to help our team get our heads around that part? If so drop us a message in the in-app chat or write me an email at thomas@monzo.com?

Thanks again!

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Thanks for the reply Thomas! Just sent you an email to follow up :slight_smile:

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I made an account to follow up and say, as another Simple Refugee - please please please Spending from Pots. Expenses in Simple helped me save so much money and really learn how to not be dumb with my salary. Having a feature that is able to go “On payday, allocate $500 into a Groceries pot, $300 into a dog pot, etc” and then be able to spend from those pots automatically would be amazing.

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Thanks for this! (and welcome to the community) We’re exploring what this could look like and will keep the community in the loop…

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Thanks! Replied to your email!

This is my biggest thing too! That’s all I need is to be able to spend from a goal, after the fact. So I can make the purchase and then assign it to a certain goal.

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How close are the Monzo US and UK teams, Thomas? Are we expecting the functionality to diverge significantly, or so you usually consider both markets when looking at potential functionality?

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As a added specific pot feature-- it would be nice able to to choose whether a pot is “spendable” or not. Simple would just steal from goals if your safe to spend got too low, and right now pots are totally segregated. I’d like a per-pot toggle that is essentially “if monzo balance would go to 0 with this transaction, transfer what’s needed from this pot rather than it being declined”. If multiple pots have this toggled, you could get real clever and steal a relative % from each, or just from one.

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I would absolutely love if there was any type of functionality where your Monzo card wouldn’t be declined if there wasn’t enough money in your main balance, but you had it in pots. Monzo is by far my favorite bank of all the new ones I’ve tried over the last few months and it would be incredible to switch over to it full time, even in beta. The only thing that’s stopping me is not being able to spend unless my money is already in my main account balance. I like the idea of it being a setting, as I’m sure some people use it differently and love that you can’t “overdraft” your own account.

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