Pots should not be separate from your available balance

I will preface my post by saying that I am a former Simple user, so I am suggesting a feature that Simple had that everybody loved.

With Simple, you had two underlying bank accounts; a main account and a “protected” account. You could then separate the money in both of these accounts by creating goals/expenses. There was an unlimited amount of these “envelopes” you could create for either account.

If you spent more money than is in your “safe-to-spend” (money that is not in an envelope), it would automatically borrow money from your envelopes to cover the purchase. When you got paid, your envelopes would be replenished before adding to the “safe-to-spend”. Your card would only decline if there wasn’t any money left in any of your envelopes.

If you did not want to have money accidentally spent from one of these envelopes, you could create the envelope on your protected account. This account could only be accessed by moving money from it to your main account. The protected account also had a routing and account number if you wanted to have ACH payments drawn directly from it. This is what your pots feature does and, while it has its use cases, is very limiting.

Besides the “borrowing” from envelopes that you can do with a single account, there are other benefits as well. One is for joint-account holders (when and if you guys support joint/shared accounts). Then the shared account holders can see all created envelopes and interact with them without those envelopes having to be specifically shared.

Also, it does not clog up the transaction logs when you move your money from one envelope to another within the same account. When I am using a third-party budgeting tool such as Mint, I don’t want to see a ton of transfers to the different pots.

The easiest way I think of Simple’s model was this: You have two bank accounts, and a built-in budgeting tool you can use to separate those two accounts into separate buckets of money visually, but it is still only two bank accounts.

Pots being separate is the whole ethos of how your account runs.

Changing that would completely change everything Monzo has done since pots were introduced.

Your method seems overly complex to me. There is work (For the UK app at least) that would enable you to spend directly from a pot, which may bridge some of the gap, but where that sits for the US app I have no idea.

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I like them separate if I’m honest.

You can still check your overall balance in the menu but not seeing my pots balances hides my savings which prevents me from thinking I have it spare.

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Not you again…

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At least the report post button works a treat :ok_hand:

Back to the pots, just a no from me. Everything is separate for a reason and it’s just the way I like it.

With Simple, you still had the opportunity to have “pots” that could not touch your available balance by just creating that pot in the protected account. It would act exactly the way Monzo does it.

Having pots for me the way it is currently is 100% useless, because I have to make sure that a bill that is getting paid out of a pot does not try to take money out of that pot before I put money in. If you are off by a single day, your bill may not be paid. With the open envelope option, you are borrowing from your envelope for a day while you wait to be paid. Also, once shared/joint accounts are supported, I’ll have to share every single pot with my wife every time I make one.

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I agree with both statements😅

Looks more sleek separately too.

I wish you were able to try Simple out to see how absolutely amazing the goals and expenses were. It’s hard to see the power of them if you’ve never used them.

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Goals/expenses in Simple were separated exactly like Monzo does their pots. You would think they were separate accounts by looking in the app, except they aren’t. They had a main account area, and a protected account area, and you could see your goals for each account entirely separated.

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I am not the only one who wants this feature. Almost everyone coming from Simple used Simple because of this powerful feature. A good thread about it is here: Simple is closing; All Hail Monzo 🙌 - What should I know?

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I agree - I joined Monzo because from what I was able to see it looked like pots would function just like goals. It wasn’t until I was able to access the app and put money into my account that I realized I wouldn’t be able to set aside money in a pot, have a bill come out, and then allocate that pot worth of money to the bill or expense, which is how I used Simple. Unfortunately that makes Monzo pretty much unusable for me.

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Not really sure how this is deemed as unusable. I have various pots setup, the DD is allocated to the relevant pot. Money is put into the pots when needed and when the payment is due, it takes it from the allocated pot so it works as designed.

You have to set up direct deposit to go to a relevant pot? So anytime you need to make adjustments to this, you have to submit a new direct deposit form to your employer and wait for the change to take effect? What about bills that work off of X-day cycles (for example, 30 day billing cycle rather than a set due date)? What if those bills end up being due before the money goes into the pot?

All of those questions were easily solved with Simple. If you weren’t paid in time, they automatically borrowed from your goals behind the scenes (without actually lowering the amount shown in the goals), and then put the money back when you got paid. You didn’t have to care the order of events.

Monzo’s pot system is do-able, but much harder to set up and maintain than Simple ever was, which was the draw of Simple

Is it a good idea to copy features from a business that went under?

I don’t know why they did but that would be a good rule to go by.

Ok so, here in the UK it works slightly different to what i think you might be wanting. What you class as a direct deposit, i guess we call the same and this will be, for example, a monthly payment from your employer. This cannot go into a specific pot. It just goes to the main section of the account. I have pots setup for different bills, for example, mobile, credit card, car finance etc.

What we have over here is something called a Direct Debit, not sure what you guys call it over there but what this is, is an authorised transaction, agreed between yourself and your service provider, that they can take a payment automatically from your account once a month. They send you a bill and usually take that payment between 15-30 days later. Once this authorisation is setup on your account, you can point that authorisation to a specific pot so once you get the bill, just add the money to the pot and when your service provider calls for the money, it automatically comes from the assigned pot.

Does that make more sense??

Hi @pzero24, welcome to the community!

I’m completely on board with this, and I believe it’s a much superior approach to the way things currently are.

Simple didn’t exactly “go under” though. And Monzo’s whole raison d’etre was inspired by Simple in the first place. Monzo is more similar to Simple in approach than they are any of their UK rivals. That’s no accident. Copying Simple’s core approach has worked for them so far, why not now steal approaches they were unable to before due to patents and threats of lawsuits in order to round out their tools?

The only real difference between Monzo and Simple is coherence. Simple had it. Monzo lacks it. An overhaul of pots as suggested in the OP would go a long way to bringing us a coherent experience here too.

For starters, not having them firmly segregated would allow for greater fluidity in their feature sets. Recurring card payments would be much easier to assign to a pot for instance. And you could assign things retroactively too. Less micromanagement on the part of the user, and the overdrafts issues evaporate.

@Peter_G has some excellent threads on here that discuss some potential rethinkings of Monzo’s approach to things. I’d encourage OP to have a read of those and engage with them too.

Simple went under because they didn’t charge any fees for anything and they didn’t issue loans, not because their software didn’t work well. It’s hard to survive as a bank if you aren’t collecting fees somewhere.

Also, they were shut down because the company (PNC) that bought their parent company (BBVA) didn’t want to deal with sub-subsidiaries.

That does make sense. Direct Debit sounds like authorizing recurring transactions. They don’t have to send you a bill each month, but otherwise its the same. I guess the problem there is that if you want to change around how you set your pots up, you have to go to every service provider you deal with in order to change the account numbers.

With Simple, it was a single account that you could authorize recurring transactions for. The money separation into goals and expenses was only a visual in their app and website, not an actual separation of the underlying account. This allows much easier adjustments to the budget as needed.

Pots aren’t accounts so no need to do this.

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