Supportive co-owned accounts for independent dependants?


(Louise Brownlow) #1

Hey everyone, this is my first post on the Monzo community board- I was going to just email my question but then I thought maybe there are others out there that this might interest too! ESSAY ALERT
I have an older brother who is 32 years old, and has Aspergers Syndrome. He is a wonderful and unique person, but does need a lot of support from his part-time carer and my untiring mother- especially when it comes to his finances. He works a part-time job stacking shelves in Sainsburys (10 hours a week) but they wont give him any more hours. He also used to receive disability allowance (and then P.I.P) but horrifyingly they have notified us that they will be stopping his payments, even though he is clearly Autistic and will never be able to live a fully independent life without a carer.
In the past, my brother has got himself into quite a serious amount of debt, as he was spending money that he didn’t have (on Star Wars merch most likely!), and his bank weren’t blocking any payments and then charging him extortionate un-arranged overdraft rates. This went on for some time before my mother intervened and took away his debit card, and she has only just settled his debts 2 years later.
At the moment she is giving him ‘pocket money’ each week to make sure he only spends what he needs, but he is unsurprisingly really upset about this and confided in me that it makes him feel like he was a child. All he wants is to have a feeling of independence,
I have been thinking that a Monzo account could be really beneficial to him, however some features would need to be adapted. If my mum had access to the app too, and my brother used the card, he would be able to feel like he is being independent but my mum can still keep an eye on what he is spending. There could even be an option to set ‘agreed budgets’ between the two account names, and maybe even the option to block payments to certain retailers? (ie, my brother went through a phase where he would spend £50 a week on subway- when he only earned about £80 a week)
This option could also have the ‘dependants’ app with tailored/simplified features, for instance the removal of the overdraft option, which would only be accessible from the carers app. Also more friendly reminder notifications to encourage responsible decision making (’‘You have already spent 20 this week at subway so far, remember your agreement with Mum about limiting your fast food spending!’’).
I know this is a really specific suggestion but I can’t help feeling that this is definitely a niche that Monzo could really fit, and do what no other bank has done before!
Let me know if you agree or can think of anything else!
If not then… well thanks for reading until the end! lol
Louise


#2

Just to say, that was definitely no Essay, I found it interesting to read and real food for thought about people currently being missed out.

I fully support something like this, and really like this type of account idea, seen ideas flying around in the past about alerts to a choosen person if you spend x amount in a day at a certain merchant, or in the middle of the night for 2 really small scenarios.


(Is Santa here yet?) #3

Love it :grin:

Monzo have a very good vulnerable customer team and it’s worth talking to them to see if there are restrictions that can be placed on the account

Maybe @natalieledward could advise on what’s already available?


#4

These are some really awesome suggestions and fantastic insight. I just read an article on the BBC that had examples of how technology was improving independence for those with Autism. I also learned a lot I didn’t know.

It’s something I can definitely see and hope that Monzo champion. A lot of the existing features of the app could be adapted for these uses.

Article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-46236942


(Louise Brownlow) #5

Thanks! :smile: those ideas sound useful too, there’s not many existing options out there for people like this - would be great if it’s just as simple as setting up a regular account!


(Louise Brownlow) #6

Thanks that’s really helpful :sunny: :smile:


(Louise Brownlow) #7

Thank you! Yeah it seems like it would be fairly simple to implement ideas like this in an bank that is already as intuitive as Monzo.
Article was wonderful- cheers for sharing!


(Eve) #8

This sounds like a really good idea, I’ll make sure to share this with some of the staff! I remember there were suggestions on blocking transactions on late night impulse/ compulsive spending shared on a blog a year ago, perhaps something could be integrated along those lines. There is so much potential to help the vulnerable while still allowing them greater independence, and I think Monzo is defo an excellent platform to start things like this.


(Jack) #9

Off the back of what @Rat_au_van has said here’s some blog posts from Monzo around the topic :slight_smile: , you may find them an interesting read.


(Dan Clarke) #10

Hi Louise!

Thank you so much for this. I love the way you think about solving this problem - we definitely agree with you. This is something we’d love to develop.

I don’t have any specifics to share with anyone just yet, but building something wonderful to help families like yours is something we’d like to do in the future.

Would you like to DM me so we could put our heads together and think about what might work for him using what we have at the moment?


(Neil M) #11

Is there such a thing as an account guardian? I.e can control the spending of an individual through the APP, as long as the relevant power of attorney has been granted.


(Louise Brownlow) #12

Thanks- just read through those! It’s great to know there’s already measures in place to safeguard vunerable people!


(Louise Brownlow) #13

Yes you can do that through traditional banks/building societies- we have done this for my brother with Nationwide. However what they can offer is limited, lacks the immediacy, simplicity and everyday intuitiveness of a Monzo account, and has almost no measures in place to instantly prevent overspending or to assist day to day budgeting. They are helpful when it comes to supporting their customers, but for something this tailored to the individual you often have to go through many meetings with an advisor and wait on hold to customer support for an indefinite amount of time!


(Louise Brownlow) #14

Thank you, I really appreciate your support :smile:


(Richard) #15

I love what you have suggested here. Was a fantastic read and although what you have suggested may not apply to myself it was interesting to read.

Saying that, some of the features could apply to my brother-in-law who has downs and autism.

Great read. Thanks for sharing.


(Neil M) #16

That’s very interesting to know. Well hopefully Monzo will be able to work on something


(Louise Brownlow) #17

Thank you :smile: it certainly might! Hopefully some features could be added to benefit him, my bro and others of the millions of semi-independent people in the uk :raised_hands: same ideas could even work for adolescents/young teens I guess!


(Neil M) #18

I was thinking even for older people where someone younger and more computer literate wants to look out for an older more vulnerable relative. In order to prevent those horrible scams you hear about.


(Dan Mullen) #19

Great post @louisedanielle! Perhaps as a starting point, a joint account would be useful? Your brother could spend using his debit card but your mother would receive instant notifications and could lock the card if it looks like he’s going overboard?

I know he could just unlock it again but at least a bit of friction and the fact that he knows his mother can review his spending may help.

Cheers,
Dan


(MikeF) #20

Can you lock the other party’s card in a joint account? I didn’t know that.