Provide suggestions on where to spend money abroad


Fair enough I guess… I just dont personally see it… Once this is no longer a niche london millennial small scale roll out, but a real full bank… I dont see what the aggregate tells us… The assumption we would be even vaguely into the same things doesnt strike me as valid.

Its highly unlikely that someone who spends money at the Vienna Opera is going to value spending patterns at Donau or Pratersauna… For city guides we have tripadvisor… For banking I would want to know rates and any banking issues to avoid (this bank charges this bank is free access etc).


(Thomas Welton) #7

Fair point, and yes Monzo is a bank… but why should trip advisor be in a better position to give me recommendations? I don’t see this as an aggregate data feature but instead based on user profiles and spending habbits.

Monzo knows I like coffee because I use my card at home (not just in London) to buy coffee. So why not show me the most popular coffee places to visit when I travel?

Also Monzo know I spend far more of my money in the “eating out” category than I do the “entertainment” category, so providing me a recommendation for the Opera based on small percentages on entertainment spending in Vienna wouldn’t seem appropriate. Instead it should show me restaurants. But if over 50% of monzo users (after the UK wide roll out) end up going to the Opera then why not suggest it to me as a fun travel option. After all travel is about new experiences.

This being said maybe a better feature idea would be adding a new webhook to the Monzo API that could trigger a third party service when a user changes country/city.
That way sites like trip advisor or third party developers could create extensions that optionally post to my monzo feed with the top ten rated locations for that new city.

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Yes and No. On the one hand if the majority of Monzo users to some Eastern European city go to some strip club or dive bar I wouldn’t need the recommendation nor if in another city most went to some art galery. However I love coffee and eating out so a recommendation along those lines is OK (though am I going to these places to meet up with a lot of Monzo users from back home or to get away from the UK). It would be best then if we were not all sent the same standard recommendations but can opt in by expense category and just get recommendations in our selected categories.


(Ben Green) #9

This could be achieved, while matching your taste of venues, by integrating with FourSquare.

Also makes it an optional feature as not everyone may want these recommendations at all.


(Rika) #10

Interesting to note that Google Maps collects information on if locations accept cards, if there is a minimum charge, etc.

I do agree that this probably shouldn’t be built in to Monzo itself and is a distraction from the core services. Unless Monzo builds up a significantly better location database than even Apple Maps has right now, a 3rd party would do a much better job. It would be a big pivot to take Monzo from “Where have I been?” to “Where should I go?”.

Honestly, this type of feature works better in maps apps and I’m unconvinced that this needs to be built in to a banking application. If you show up in a new city, Google Feed, Google Maps, Google Trips and Apple Maps already show you highly rated places in each category around you or where you’re going to be.


(James) #11

I am really not interested in this at all.

I think similarly to PhatPheddy. I know I definitely will not share the same interests at other Monzo users and it will definitely detract from other features. I think I would become annoyed at either scenario:

  • Monzo assumes what I might like
  • Monzo collects and processes too much of my data outside of its initial scope

There are many, many other guides I, or you can use to find where to eat and those have more sophisticated features.


(Alex Sherwood) #12

I’m going to go against the trend here & say that I like this idea a lot :slight_smile:

As a general rule, I’d expect this type of feature to be built by a third party developer but I’m going to assume that only Monzo will have access to a large enough database of customer’s transactions, for the foreseeable future so only Monzo could build it.

To address a few of the comments -

Monzo can be much smarter than simply making suggestions based on all user’s spending habits.
Obviously Monzo already knows our ages but they can also look at where we’ve spent our money in the past in terms of the types of merchant, how much we spend each month, how much on a certain category, how much we spend on average in a single transaction etc. in order to figure out what our interests are likely to be & whether the user will be looking for expensive / cheap or something in between, as an example.

Monzo has access to a unique dataset which other third parties don’t have, in particular, knowing how much we spend & not just where we go, seems very relevant.
Trip Advisor is great for recommendations but it doesn’t know our history (at the moment, I assume that it’s working on building that profile with the timeline feature).
Google is the only 3rd party that has a really detailed history of where we’ve been, unless you’re a regular user of a service like Foursquare but personally, I don’t use their recommendations when travelling abroad & although they know that I’ve been somewhere, they don’t know what I spent while in that location.

As for concerns about Monzo collecting our data, Monzo already looks after some of the most sensitive data that any tech company will be able to access, for it’s users. I’m not suggesting that it captures additional data, in order to build this feature. As long as the data is used in aggregate, I have no concerns about it being used.

It’s also worth remembering is in Monzo’s interest to build this feature because it would lead to users spending more.

Having said all that, it’s obviously going to take quite a while for Monzo to build a detailed dataset consisting of user’s transactions abroad. And I assume that this feature would be relatively complex to build (although building a bank is pretty tricky too) so I wouldn’t expect this to be built in the near term.


(Rika) #13

When all the marketing and app features are focusing on spending less! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

In any case, I do agree that there is special data here to be used but I’m simply less keen on Monzo providing this feature themselves. Perhaps allow a 3rd party to hook in to the opening message from travel reports and feature these 3rd party integrations in a similar way to Apple Health featuring apps that handle health data.


(Andrew Schofield) #14

Agreed, I have no interest in this being part of my banking experience. By all means make the data available to 3rd parties with permission, but I just want my bank to focus on what I need to manage my money.

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totally agree Richard…it contrary to all messages so far


(Alex Sherwood) #16

Richard knows what I meant there but for anyone who’s wondering, Monzo’s first product will be overdrafts so users spending more & needing to use those overdrafts as a result, is a good thing for Monzo. I generally think about Monzo’s features as a way to make users better informed & to enable greater control over their spending, rather than necessarily spending less (with the possible exception of Targets, which most users will adopt in order to try to reduce their spending).

I’m imagining an integration with a 3rd party here too but with Monzo selecting the locations to highlight & then displaying a summary from Trip Advisor, for example so that users have easy access to that more detailed, tourist orientated information about a location. That would be similar to Google’s integrations with Yelp / Zagat -

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(Thomas Welton) #17

Above is an example of Monzo using the data they have on their customers to provide them with offers and spending recommendations.
Very similar to the idea of this thread but printed on paper instead of in app.

Also on multiple occasions during interview @tom has said that Monzo would be in a great position to provide customers spending recommendations from regular bills like insurance or phone and entertainment deals, and has even suggested Monzo could help provide alternate suppliers in app, by doing this they would earn revenue in a similar way that price comparison websites do.
If Monzo can earn money like this we will get better interest rates on our current accounts and ensure the service is free of charge.


(Andrew Schofield) #18

Hmm, only if we provided Monzo with a ton of extra contextual data. How much my insurance costs is a useless piece of information unless you know what car I drive etc. Suggestions on reducing my energy bills only works if I tell Monzo my energy usage etc.


(Thomas Welton) #19

Monzo would know your annual income, you’re age, where you live, where you spend most of your money, how many holidays or business trips you take a year, if you own a mobile phone, have a mortgage, have health insurance, if you own a car or if you’ve been to university.

I think that’s all the contextual data it would need in order to make suggestions based on big data analysis and statistics.

And even if the recommendations aren’t spot on for you based on the first recommendation it makes then thats fine. So long as the suggestions aren’t obtrusive. And the more you ignore them or mark the suggestions as unsuitable the more it learns about you and is able to provide you with better suggestions.

…allowing Mondo to share data with providers and compile a list of competitive offers.

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(Andrew Schofield) #20

I remain to be convinced that without more specific information any useful personal recommendations could be made. Knowing that I have a mortgage and how much I pay a month doesn’t help if they don’t know what the loan amount is, what APR I’m on etc.
As long as this is an optional feature then fine, but if Monzo start offering me useless suggestions it’s going to get pretty annoying.


Winding down of prepay card
(Alex Sherwood) #21

Other Monzo users who live in your area, who are your age, pay x% less when they travel using buses, rather than the tube… :thumbsup:

Yes Monzo has to be careful about how they identify & deliver their insights but when has any Monzo feature not been carefully thought out, to insure that it’s unobtrusive, in the past?


(Andrew Schofield) #22

Yes, and in that example you’ve given Monzo access to data above and beyond simply your spend (through future tfl integration), also London only :wink:. I’m not denying that Monzo could do this and do it well, I just don’t believe even with all the demographic data they have that this could lead to useful suggestions without external data.

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(Thomas Welton) #23

Looks like they’re planning on providing suggestions on places to visit on the website, but not the app.


(Alex Sherwood) #24

I wouldn’t assume that that information won’t be in the app too, there’s no reason why that couldn’t be included in the ‘welcome to [country]’ invites. But obviously Zander was specifically focusing on his plans for the website in that post.


(Thomas Welton) #25

This could be great