Programmable middleware

Inspired by what Root have done in South Africa, I’d absolutely love the idea of being able to add a personal layer to my transaction approval (I need to get a grip of my fast food spending). I wonder Monzo is this something that at all lines up with your vision for the product / are there any regulatory brick walls that would get in the way? My guess would be there are. And Monzo customers, does anyone else share my slightly bizarre wish?

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Root, here they are

That sounds interesting. I assume there are protections in place that prevent you making the card a malware carrier?

I don’t know much about this area, so this may be a stupid question :smiley:

Also, @Rika might be able to shed some light on whether something like it could be feasible here.

Thanks for the info, hadn’t seen this before.

On a side note it looks like their web design team likes

So like a webhook but it returns an accept or decline to Monzo? So right between their checks and ultimately allowing it your code gets to make the final decision?
Very interesting thought.

That will have to be a real quick turnaround in the processing. Talking more firmware than middleware speed wise!

This is a cute idea but impractical unless there’s substantial changes in the way that payment processing works. Declined transactions are not good for merchants, transaction declines are one of many heuristics used by payment processors to determine the quality of a merchant and high decline rates are a bad signal that can, in some cases, lead to termination of services. Although I don’t think it’s common in the UK, there are payment processors that charge fees on decline too. From a front of house perspective declined transactions are a pain at the point of sale, there’s a cost to a business in having a customer get to the point of purchase and then be unable to complete.

Ultimately, budgeting based on card declines is a brute force method that feels quite icky, especially in terms of what Monzo has said about their budgeting tools. Monzo is providing the tools to allow people to budget so they’re in control of their money: customers know how much they’re spending and what they can spend, allowing a customer to block their own transactions because they’ve failed so severely at managing their money – that code must stop them from spending it – doesn’t fit into that vision.

If you have compulsive spending habits that need intervention then you can use pots to ring fence your money from unplanned day to day spending, and if your compulsion is so strong that pots aren’t viable because you would move money out to spend on fast food, then middleware would just be disabled.

Yes exactly. Outside of personal use I think there’s a quite a lot of application in the world of business accounts

Pretty sure Root handle this by requiring any code written to be stored on their end. Maybe not ideal but an SLA could work instead, if there wasn’t a response within a given amount of time a default behaviour is applied

Welcome to the community James!

Tom the CEO himself spoke the other day of the (future) potential of adding more granular blocks for things like alcohol and the like

The biggest issue is that merchants do not supply such item level data to banks

Really interesting to read about the affect on merchants! I think while the behaviour change idea I had does have the ability to be fulfilled with this solution where setting spending budgets doesn’t there still is a wider application out there, particularly in allowing business accounts to set custom responses to transactions which I think is an insanely powerful feature and something currently unsupported in the UK market.