Because different people manage their accounts in many different ways, there will always be issues and compromises when attempting to accommodate the system to their exact needs or, as often is the case doing it the other way around.
I’d like to propose creating a tab called ‘rules’ where everyone can set specific, customisable sets of rules by which their incoming and outgoing money can be conveniently automated beyond direct debits and standing orders. The idea is a direct mirroring of email client rules behaviour as well as that of smart folders/searches in os x. It’s a simple yet extremely powerful and useful tool.
Example of the problem
For reasons of personal arrangements and convenience, I pay my rent to my landlord by manual bank transfer on the first of each month. I do not want a direct debit or standing order.
So, I transfer to my Monzo account a sum each month that is tailor made to cover my rent, bills and monthly living, with targets set etc that I strive to adhere to.
As soon as I pay my rent on the 1st of each month, the summary ‘pie’ goes into red since by this I’ve spent on the very first day the majority of my total monthly budget.
To avoid that, I set the payment of my rent and my council tax and bills to be excluded from my monthly budget summary.
I have to remember to do this each month, manually adding a tag, a category and excluding it from the summary. In the current system, automatic exclusion from the summary is only available for direct debits.
The proposed solution
I’d like to see a ‘Rules’ tab, perhaps instead of the current ‘help’ tab which could easily be integrated in a less strategically critical location, i.e. as a discrete button inside the Account tab etc.
The ‘Rules’ tab would hold and show at a glance every and each rule set by the user, modifiable at any moment in a simple and easy to use way.
An example of (an overcomplicated) rule would be:
WHEN / OUTGOING PAYMENT IS / EXACTLY / £700 / TO / JOHN APPLESEED / IN PERIOD / 1ST-5TH / EACH MONTH
THEN / ADD TAG: rent / AND / ADD CATEGORY: BILLS / AND / EXCLUDE FROM SUMMARY
As a result, once the rule is created, every time I send my rent to my landlord during the first 5 days of the month, it’s automatically tagged, assigned to a category and excluded from my monthy spending summary.
Creating such rules is a very simple process, readily available and understandable to any casual user.
I strongly believe that having a flexible system of rules like this would allow everyone a great degree of flexibility and freedom in automating their financial lives to their specific situations, the same way we do with our email acounts and searches.
The mechanics are very simple, the possibilities are practically endless.