Let’s start with a couple of points.
Pots are an opt-in feature. Overdrafts are also an opt-in feature. If you choose to enable the overdraft, it costs 50p a when you’re more than £20 below zero on your main account. We explain this to everyone up front. We also warn customers before they go into their overdraft. If you don’t like this behaviour, you’re free to leave the overdraft switched off, which costs you nothing.
Other banks charge £10/month just to switch off unarranged overdrafts.
If the worst happens, and for whatever reason you miss the repeated warnings or misunderstand them, you may incur a charge of 50 pence. Let’s please try to keep this in perspective.
Debating the technicalities of whether or not pots are a separate account seems to be missing the point. This is a product design decision about how we believe Monzo should work.
First, it’s because we want to keep the mental accounting as straightforward as possible. You see the balance on your homepage and that’s the money that’s available for you to spend. It’s useful for many people to keep money in pots as separate as possible - it’s intentionally out of sight, and you shouldn’t be able to accidentally spend it without taking proactive action to move it into you main account. You shouldn’t need to do maths to figure out how the account is going to work.
I’ve got money sitting in a pot that I need for a tax bill. I do not want to accidentally spend it - I want to keep it ringfenced so that I know for sure that I will be able to pay my tax. Same goes for Direct Debits - in the near future we’d like to introduce a pot for “committed” spend, so as soon as you’re paid, we can automatically set aside money you will need for your bills.
Finally, in future, you will be able to convert pots of money to interest-bearing savings accounts at other banks. It will become very confusing if some pots count towards your overdraft, but other pots don’t.
So we took the decision to keep it straightforward. If you go more than £20 below zero on your main account balance, it costs 50p a day. You may disagree with this design decision. That’s ok - just don’t enable the overdraft.