Now in Labs: Spending Block 🧪

Hi everyone :wave:

I’m Jon, I normally work on the backend systems that power Monzo Business. But today, I’m incredibly excited to share with you a feature that we worked on in our recent hackathon!

Help us test our new spending block feature :tada:

Ever since we shipped gambling block, you’ve asked us if you can also block other places where you spend. And now, you can!

Our mission at Monzo is to make money work for everyone, and our original motivation was to support folk who struggle to feel in control of impulsive spending. But we also hope this new financial control tool helps those who just want a bit of help to save money too.

We’d love to hear how you find using this initial version. What works well? What surprised you? Did anything not work how you expected?

How does it work?

For now, you can only create a block by going into the detail view for a past transaction and going to the new “Spending controls” section. In a future iteration, we hope to remove the need to have spent somewhere to block it!

When setting up the block, you have the option to leave yourself a reminder, which we’ll show you if you later try to remove the block.

Over the years since we launched the gambling block we’ve worked with experts by experience, and expert organisations, to understand impulsive spending behaviours and how we can design tools that help you feel more in control, so we’re keen to learn as much as possible from your feedback.

How do you start using it?

You can access this new feature by going into Monzo Labs and activating the “Spending block” toggle. You’ll need to be on app version 5.34.0 or later.

This is – hopefully – just the beginning :rocket:

A block is a start, and we already have some ideas for what to do next. But we’d also love to hear what the Community would like to see!

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Is Monzo coming to the Mac? :eyes:

Awesome addition though. I know a few people who have been really wanting this and who it will really help.

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Fantastic feature - good work :+1:

I doubt I’ll use it personally, but this may be of incredible value to others.

Ooh, wait a mo - this’ll no doubt work with Virtual Card transactions - so I could access another level of spending control for the kids who use virtual cards :thinking:

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This is a great feature, that HyperJar has had for a while, so good to see it come to Monzo.

Hyperjar allow it to be blocked before the annoying transaction though, thus preventing your money being taken, and you having to fight to get it back.

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This is great!

First issue encountered:
I’ve activated the toggle in labs, which has made a “Spending block enabled in Labs” item in my feed (as usual for labs stuff). However, when I “Tap to find out more”, the app crashes and closes. Happens each time I click it.
(Beta 5.38.0, Android 13, new UI).

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Just checked, based on your post, @BurnyCubbers77 , and I get the same.

Also on Beta 5.38.0, Android 13, new UI, Oppo phone.

This doesn’t happen on iOS. The feed item just isn’t tappable, even though it says to tap to find out more.

5.38.0 (via the App Store, not TestFlight beta), iOS 17, new UI.

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A few questions :
Does this work with all cards in my name (personal, virtual, flex and joint?)
Does it only affect my joint account card (so my partner can still spend at said merchant, even with their joint card?)
Sounds like this works using merchant but is it an exact match?
So If I block “Tesco”, will that block “Tesco Petrol”, “Tesco Credit Card”, “Tesco Mobile”, etc. or just Tesco? Or blocking “Amazon Prime” would block “Amazon”?
What about merchants who may appear under several different names? Such as Xbox, who may show as “Xbox” or “Microsoft”.

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Can confirm it affects VCs at least.

Just to be clear as well. I manually blocked The National Lottery using this new feature. I don’t have the gambling block switched on.

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Great feature that I am sure will help in many different scenarios!

One bug I have found:
Transactions that have given me cashback don’t show the “Block spending” button.

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Some quick clarifications!

  • Thanks for flagging the issue with the Labs feed item. We’ll get that fixed up shortly. It’s just a notification, not the entry point to the feature, so shouldn’t block you testing everything else :sweat_smile:

  • The block is per user, so will work across all your Monzo cards, but not apply to other joint account users

  • Getting merchants right is tricky. That’s part of what we’re looking to test!

  • We don’t let you block everything. For example we don’t allow blocks for some essentials (which might be why you don’t see it on one of the cashback transactions)

And we’re able to run a testing build of the iOS app on our Macs. It’s not Monzo coming to Macs, sorry.

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also on android and when i click on the see more app crashed

So in theory, this could be a tool to block CPAs on cards taking payments?

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I’ve been without a phone since last Thursday and it’s been an absolute nightmare for banking. First thing I checked was to see if Monzo was available on silicone Mac’s but alas, not at the moment. Can’t even purchase certain things as can’t get passed 3D secure!

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I hate to be the person to say it, but this is really going to need a proper push to have a consistent correction of merchant data. There was a brief push a few months back and then it seems to have stalled out totally again. I am always appreciative of the lovely COps when they can get to them, but it is not really working out right now as a part time and lowest priority task for a very overworked crew

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Is that why I see the option for almost all my transactions, but not for Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Iceland?

Can confirm, running on a Pixel 5 with stable Monzo, app crashes on latest build when clicking tap more.

That would be the IOS version running on macOS because of the M1/M2 chip and Apple allowing iOS/iPadOS to run on the Mac.

It would be awesome on multiple devices. :blush:

It’s not.

Monzo opted out of that program for whatever reason when Apple implemented it.

The Monzo employee answered it above though:

I agree it would be awesome for Monzo to allow the app on Mac though, and it would be pretty trivial for them to do so. I don’t know why they haven’t.

Revolut, N26, and Nationwide iOS apps all support Apple silicon macs. Probably more do since I last checked.

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