Writing customer-friendly terms and conditions

As part of our #NoBarriersToBanking campaign, we’ve published a guide to help other companies write terms and conditions that anyone can understand.


I’ll confess, I can’t even bring myself to read a post about terms and conditions, let alone reading terms and conditions… to be fair, it is Friday afternoon…


Sad times :frowning_face:


Great guide. Love the meme kept me interested to keep reading.

Nice article @hashbridge and, as someone who spends much of my week ensuring the messages from hospitals to our patients is fit for purpose, I applaud the simplicity.

You refer in the text (item 5?) to the consultation process:
They’re the result of collaboration between writers, lawyers, compliance people, engineers and product teams

How did you include non-related customers in the collaboration process?

Any thought of making the T&Cs into a short animation/ Symbols. As I was thinking that one basic barrier to banking is literacy, and it is quite often people who may not have a bank account might also have literacy issues.

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Hey Neil – the animation is an interesting idea. Some companies are creating short videos as quick primers to the most important parts of their Ts&Cs. No plans to do it, but I could see us heading in that direction in future.


Sorry Graham, not sure I follow the question – do you mean did we check our terms with people who weren’t involved in writing them?

I actually found the beginning of this blog quite difficult to read. I think it’s down to the large amount of explanatory text in brackets right at the beginning which I found difficult to parse. And then the continued use of “Ts&Cs” which, while technically correct, felt dissonant ever time I encountered it. (It also struck me as fun that Monzo was making a grammatical stand after the interesting conversation here!)

That all said, once I’d got into it I really enjoyed it. Particularly the last section about culture - that was ace and is a super important thing often overlooked.

(A slightly side question. Does Monzo have any plans to create a profession to embed writers into development squads? Some places call this content design. Worked properly, it’s transformative.)

Don’t need to create a profession Peter, they exist already, most are called technical writers/communicators. They have their own society too… ISTC

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I meant profession in its loosest sense within Monzo - people who are embedded within squads, responsible for in-app copy, focused around meeting user needs and ensuring clarity of the words used.

I must confess I don’t know anything about the ISTC. I wonder if Harry has any thoughts?


Ahhh of course… not had enough caffeine yet! And yes, these exact people can also help create task cards/requirements and so much more.

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I got the impression from previous comments from Monzo staff that this sort of thing already occurs

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Yes, your description of the consultation process seemed to make no reference to the customer.

Hey Peter – yes this happens now! Our writers are a bit unusual in that they’re not exclusively doing things like UX/content design/copywriting/content. We’re all generalist writers who work on everything Monzo produces word-wise, inside and out.

Also, with the big focus we have on writing training, the idea is that the designers, developers and product people in those squads become better writers over time as well. Some of the nicest bits of writing in the app (in my view anyway) don’t come from writers at all.


Got you!

You’re right that we don’t consult specific customers when we’re putting together Ts&Cs. But the readability checks we run, and our focus on being clear and concise, hopefully gets us to the right results. Also, almost all of the people involved in producing those terms are customers too! I wouldn’t want to sign off on something that lets me down as a user of Monzo.

It’s an interesting idea to consult customers more closely on our terms, but I wonder if we’d even be able to from a legal standpoint. Will look into it!

If you chose to seek limited feedback from customers it would want to be purely along the lines of “Is that passage simple to understand?”. Otherwise how can you ensure fitness for purpose?

My humble recommendation is that you do it. Get yourself a random handful of uninvolved customers. That’d be genuine collaboration of all parties.


This is a really interesting guide. I had a question though: Conditions are the terms of a contract that go to the root of the agreement*, so is there a reason they should be called Ts&Cs, rather than just terms? Do people expect to see Ts&Cs or is there a legal reason or something else?


Hey @hashbridge great article and something I am (little bit boring) quite interested in.

As a fun fact could you tell us what the average literacy rate would be needed to understand the Monzo Ts&Cs? I think the average reading age in the UK is 9 and Ts&Cs are typically waaay over that, even if short in terms of numbers.

For example The Sun’s reading age is 8 whilst The Guardian’s is 14.

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Sure! They’re readable by an 11 year old. Which, like you say, is much better than the average readability of Ts&Cs for other banks. (Even the other challengers :wink:.)

We cover a bit of that in this blog post from last year: https://monzo.com/blog/2018/05/22/big-news-about-small-print/