Pot as overdraft

(Dicky Moore) #45

I’m on the verge of changing my current account to Monzo, but am just slightly hesitant. This ‘revenue by stealth’ allegation is turning my hesitation into real reluctance.

(Happy St Patrick’s Day ) #46

I can see the argument for it to be counted but when I have money in pots I don’t want them included in my balance. They are separate so I can’t spend them. By allowing them to count it would mess up my planning.
If there’s a notification that I don’t have enough money I can then choose to transfer if I want. If I go into my overdraft I can transfer it the same day to avoid charges.

I don’t think they are being forceful, just overly enthusiastic about making people they are aware

(Peter Roberts) #47

Starling still show you a negative balance but they just use your pots as a buffer to avoid you paying them when they have no legitimate claim to charge you… Because they aren’t actually lending you anything at that point… Technically you’re lending to them!

(Alex Sherwood) #48

Still, it’s much more confusing to not be paying interest when your balance shows you should & to have to check your Goals (Pots) to see whether enough money is in them.

I’d imagine that users could be caught out by seeing that their main account’s in a negative balance & thinking that, that’s fine because they have money in their Goals so they won’t be charged. When in fact they don’t have enough money in Goals & end up being charged.

With this design, you know that when your main balance - the one on your home screen - is in the red by more than £20, you will be charged. Simple.


Yes, it’s simple. It’s also convenient (for Monzo). And it’s wrong! Because I’m always right! :wink:

But doesn’t Monzo want to make the complex things simple? Surely this is a problem that can be solved. Otherwise why should I use Monzo over my high street bank?

Very practically, leaving aside the legal question (which I am not competent to answer), and the ethical question (which I am convinced is quite grey), from a product perspective I see Starling’s approach to this particular question as far superior:

Monzo is behaving a bit like my high street bank here (only worse because they insist their pots aren’t separate accounts, until it suits them): If I want to save with my high street bank I need to open a separate savings account. If I have money in my savings but not in my current account I pay overdraft. It’s simple, but also not ideal (from my perspective!)

If I want to save money with Starling it works a bit like an offset mortgage: I can have money in savings, and if I have a sudden large bill, I don’t need to move my money out of savings. I can just wait until pay day. Great!

(Not saying that I’d advocate saving large amounts with Starling, as the interest is meagre, but that’s a different discussion.)

(Dave) #50

This brings back memories of The One account, although I never had one myself.

“The type of offset products offered by The One account are called Current Account Mortgages (CAM). As the name suggests, customers consolidate the balances of their mortgage, traditional current accounts, personal loans and, if desired, their saving accounts into one account.”

(Peter Roberts) #51

That’s certainly valid, my opinion is still I’d rather have this complexity over paying when I don’t have to

For me, if it says I’m negative that means I should fix it immediately if I can, if I can’t then also this approach does is minimise my loss where possible

(Alex Sherwood) #52

Me too but I don’t think that users will end up paying because of this.

To be clear, I agree with the idea that if there’s enough money in Pots to cover the negative balance (of over £20) in your main account then you shouldn’t be charged for being ‘overdrawn’.

But for me, this is a design UI / UX problem because it needs to be simple to understand / manage & I don’t think anyone’s really solved that yet. In my opinion, Monzo’s approach is the easiest to understand.

(Peter Roberts) #53

I disagree because I think Monzo’s violates an expectation I theorise people have that pots money is inside their Monzo account and it isn’t fair to charge them against that understanding

Maybe we should have a poll? :thinking:

(Alex Sherwood) #54

You can if you like but all that’s going to do is show us what people think in theory, not what users actually do & they’ve often very different things. The overdraft pricing is another example of this :wink:

Monzo has the data to see whether lots of users aren’t moving their money out of Pots when they’re overdrawn so they can address this if they need to.

(Peter Roberts) #55

I agree with that but careful using it as a black and white argument! As an ultimate reduction it boils down to “Monzo can do no wrong and users can never know what they want”

(Alex Sherwood) #56

For me it boils down to, Monzo has the data (whereas we don’t) & I trust them to do the right thing based upon it :slight_smile:

We can still have an opinion but need to remember that without the data, we really don’t know.

(Peter Roberts) #57

This is a conflict of interest as they profit from not acting on this. Monzo employees are not immune to bias either so is it possible they could think something is ok to do since they benefit despite not overall wanting to harm users? :thinking: I believe so

(Alex Sherwood) #58


Yes so it’s good that we’re here to share our constructive concerns / opinions :slight_smile:

(Peter Roberts) #59

Indeed, thank you for an interesting and amicable lunchtime debate :slightly_smiling_face:

(Joe Walls) #60

I agree, swapping money between pots and my main account is just annoying and the exact type of thing high street banks would do and the exact type of thing that Monzo should not be doing.

I use pots simply as a reference as to what my money is saved for, e.g. £100 in a pot for a rainy day fund and £500 in my holiday pot, I could transfer money to my main account the day my main balance goes below -£20 (and not pay an overdraft fee), then transfer it back to the pot(s) a few days later (e.g when I get paid), but to be honest that’s going to make me not want to use pots, I’d rather just leave the £600 in my main account instead of transferring it in and out all the time.

I’ve been trialling Monzo and Starling, and with Monzo 2.0 they have just edged the advantage over Starling, but for me this is one area that Starling are beating the high street banks but Monzo aren’t.

(MikeF) #61

My default expectation would be that Pots would offset overdraft but as I don’t manage my money that way, it’s a purely theoretical discussion for me.

I’m also pretty sure that it wouldn’t be too hard to illustrate, particularly on the pulse graph which is the only place we traditionally have any sort of running balance display.


Can I maybe recommend actually spicing up the pots a bit. Edit only currently allows a name change but why not give users the ability to set a buffer from a pot?

Say I’m heart bent on not touching my savings and I have 2k in my pot, can I not just set a 200 buffer from it? Meaning that if my current account is to go to lets say -90, it will take my savings to 1910 and set my buffer limit to 110, if my buffer hits 0 then my current account will use my overdraft?

It sounds like a good compromise, rather than leaving us with this illogical situation where we have to pay Monzo despite them actually owing us money, simply because they have our money in their other pocket…


I would say move it out of you pot and earn something on it elsewhere. Yes I know integrations are coming, but they are not here yet.


A very good point. :sweat_smile: well if you were to reduce that sum to around £200 in a pot and a £50 buffer. It could still be a step in the right direction, compared to where it’s at now anyway.