Yesterday i watched the recent Ask AC session. It was feature packed with a backwards looking retrospective as well as a look to the future. I really liked it, and would love to have something similar on maybe a quarterly basis.
One thing that caught my eye was Dozens 2.0.
I’ve said in a few places around the internet that the holy grail (for me, at least) is being able to clearly and simply see my whole wealth in one place and how that changes over time. That means bringing together spending, savings, investments, debts and assets in one place. And potentially being able to model what different decisions might mean for future wealth.
While it was a fairly brief introduction, it was heartening to see that Dozens 2.0 might do just that by bringing in external accounts through open banking and doubling down on the spend, save, invest lifecycle.
A few thoughts on v1 from me to help inform the update:
While i was a big fan of the initial, feature-packed, release of Dozens, I soon found it a bit over complex and overwhelming. I’d really like to see a focus on simplicity, but in a way that keeps the power and the insight. A difficult combo to manage but, i think, essential.
Some of the v1 features felt like they got in the way. For example, the “…” to the right of transaction values to prompt for a happiness rating make me irrationally irritated. They take up space and prevent neat alignment of figures (in my mind the whole purpose of the transaction list). I’m not suggesting that things like this get removed, just a more elegant way of keeping them in the app which is unobtrusive.
And finally some of the really core features need iteration. For example, I’ve had transactions come up as “unknown retailer”. High street banks would show the raw name from their card processor, and Monzo and Starling would have an enriched name, but also the raw name at the bottom. Yet nothing in Dozens.
it’d be great to see some of the features that have (or should have) made their way into Monzo and Starling: notes, tags, custom categories etc.
open banking data should really (in my view) be as native as possible. So access to all budgeting and other functions - and the ability to do whatever you can do to a Dozens transaction on an open banking one
I’m not yet convinced on a social-type feed. Given the audience you’re after, I’m inclined to think an elegant, simple dashboard with charts, data and insight (what’s my net worth? how am i performing against my goals / the market? Is my budget on track? what options are there to improve performance?) pulling out atypical stuff that needs attention might be better (e.g. if you’re over budget or if your savings rate is no longer competitive). But keen to see what you come up with!
Loving your work. And really keen to see how this pans out. Poke me if you’d like an early guinea pig!
And, everyone else, keen to hear reflections in Dozens v1 below, what’s missing compared to other apps, and your aspirations for 2.0!
I didn’t see/hear the session so forgive me if I’m off track with what follows.
ATM I use Moneydashboard for exactly the functionality you are describing. It is good, not great, as far as it goes and I suppose as it is currently free I can’t complain too much. What would make it, and Dozens 2.0 ideal, would indeed be the pulling in of all types of our financial data. Currently MDB does not bring in investments, NS&I or pension data. That and the TescoBank gizmo [not sure what it is called- API?] constantly falling over makes it a bit of a faff to use. R-
@robert, I didn’t include the image you shared during the Zoom call because it was both a faff and I wasn’t sure you’d want me to. Any chance of posting the original, though? Or a bit of a community Q&A on the concept and background thinking?
(When things have slowed down post Wirecard, obvs!)
One of the issues I have with the current app is the Grow, and I assume also Invest, sections of the app don’t segregate ISA and non-ISA funds (in terms of account data presented to the user - they’re obviously segregated in the background).
Was there any mention of improvement in this area?
Really needs something like the personal vs business toggle in the image a couple of posts back, but for standard vs ISA funds.
I don’t have an ISA with Dozens, so I wasn’t really looking out for it, but I don’t think it was mentioned.
More generally, how are ISAs presented at the moment? I agree that they need to clearly indicate what’s in an ISA wrapper and what’s not, but separating it out via the business/personal switcher seems overkill. Indeed, I think I’d want to see an ISA with the rest of my personal accounts.
I have a mixture of ISA and non-ISA funds in cash savings and bonds (in Grow Tab). At the moment there is no separation within the app. Everything gets mixed together from a display point of view. If I want to know how much of the displayed cash or bonds are in my ISA wrapper I have to contact support to ask.
If I want to withdraw cash from cash savings there’s no obvious way to specify that where the cash gets withdrawn from (Non-ISA vs ISA). If I want to sell a bond there’s no obvious way to identify which bonds are in the ISA and which are not.
Once you have selected Personal account I think you then need to be able to see how much of your savings or investments are in a standard (non-ISA) account and how much are in an ISA and when you want to add or withdraw funds it needs to be very clear which account you are using. How that gets implemented I’m not really bothered (could be a toggle/switcher or could be something else).
Some more general thoughts on what’s preventing me from using Dozens more. Some minor, some major:
Lack of ‘raw’ merchant data and 'unknown merchant’s. That’s a big red line.
No ability to add notes to transactions. I’ve come to rely on that with Monzo and I miss being without it.
Similarly, no ability to upload receipt images.
Inconsistent spacing in the app. When I send money to myself there are two spaces between my names. This is thoroughly cosmetic but thoroughly annoying.
And some more ideas of what else I’d like to see in 2.0 / the future:
Advanced receipting functions: the ability - through the app - to subdivide a transaction into line items with individual categories etc. I think you can do this through the Starling or Monzo APIs, but there’s no user interface for it. Leapfrog them, please!
The ability to swipe between cards (a bit like Google Pay or Monzo) in the Spend screen. I’m hoping that this will become the home for open banking - v keen to see the visuals for imported data.
I’d also be keen to see a master list of all transactions, no matter the source. And for some pre-defined / saveable filters to be able to easily choose what to look at.
The ability to recognise destination accounts as savings or investments - so that the app knows how much I’m saving to external accounts or putting into investments. I’d love some nice graphs over time.
To be able to let Dozens know what savings rates I’m getting in external accounts, so it can calculate some nice overall rates or return - or even offer alternatives - for me.
A net-worth graph, over time! Broken down by mandatory spend (e.g. bills), discretionary spending (the pub), saving and investing, assets (e.g. property) and debt, so I can see trends and overall figures.
Full and native open banking - so I can do payments on third-party accounts from Dozens and finally make the most of the data visualisation in the app.
Advanced scheduling options. So I could, for example, send money on day X of the month, or last working day of the month, or last working day - x; or second Thursday in April etc. And the ability to specify a time for payments - so I can daisy-chain incoming and outgoing payments.
Some rules-based events: so if I can specify that when I get my salary paid in then immediately send x% or £y to account Z. I’d envisage a simple rules engine like “If a payment from X comes in, that’s between X and Y value, then carry out the following instructions…”
That’s probably enough to be getting on with (!) but the game-changers for me are three fold:
Visibility - all financial information in one place (including assets and debts).
Turning that visibility that into actionable insights. How much am I spending, saving, investing? Can I simply model different spending or savings patterns to see what happens? Can I easily turn that into a budget?
Automation. Don’t try to lock me into your ecosystem. Make it easy to automate transfers to external savings providers or investment platforms, and allow me to create advanced rules to make things happen when conditions are met. If you do that, I’d transfer my salary in a heartbeat.
One final consideration from me, then I think I’m done designing my perfect current account!
I’ve mentioned the spend > save > invest journey is important, and being able to see the absolute and proportionate values of incoming going to those categories over time. But it’s worthwhile looking again at ‘spend’ because there’s some nuance there that I think is easily missed. This post is long, and steeped in Monzo, but does a great job in explaining:
In short, ‘spend’ on its own is a bit meaningless. You get to value and insight when you start splitting discretionary spend from mandatory spend. Currently, with no direct debits, Dozens can only really be used for the former. But when we get to the latter, understanding (measuring and interpreting) the difference between the two will be essential. One I can control, one I can’t (to quite the same extent).
Banks have different approaches to dealing with this problem. Some let you open two accounts so you can physically split bills from discretionary spend. Starling and Monzo offer pots/goals where you can segregate money. And Monzo has gone a step further in having bills pots (where direct debits can be paid out of a pot) and a Committed Spend balance which shows your balance after bills / safe to spend figure.
Why’s this relevant to Dozens? Because I think that the distinction between discretionary and mandatory spending is missing - and the introduction of direct debits is the time to introduce it, and to do it right. I don’t think any current account provider has properly cracked this yet.
I don’t want to prescribe a solution (because I’ll just get it wrong) but I do think I’d want to be able to have different segregated stashes of money in the app. In the first instance, it might be good to have differently named savings ‘pots’ under the Grow section. And I’d want to track and budget for discretionary spend differently to bills. And potentially to have direct debits (or even card transactions) paid for from a ring-fenced source of cash (I’m trying and failing to not just say ‘pot’).
I’m almost tempted not to respond here to encourage @Peter to keep posting more thoughts … and not break his train of thought
Thank so much for these amazingly well articulated thoughts and suggestions. With an unlimited budget and a bit of spare time, I suspect we would probably agree to much of this.
So far (!) has raised only a fraction of the money that some of the businesses that we are compared to, so we have to be realistic and focused on what, how and when we develop ideas, but I can say that the system we are building is designed to be flexible and upgradeable in a way that makes a lot more of this sort of thinking possible on Dozens than maybe some other partners.
I know for a fact that the team dealing with Dozens and Pi1 product development read this community and topics like this with GREAT interest and that many ideas make it to the concept stage, … and if nothing else, get added to a future roadmap. The better the roadmap, the better we can plan the best journey for achieving it.
If anyone else has thoughts on what would make Dozens the ‘ideal’ account for spending, saving and investing, then please do let us know what you think would be great for you.
I can’t promise we can deliver everything but we are very interested in hearing from users.
Thanks for the kind words, Robert, much appreciated.
It’s worthwhile noting that I’m definitely not suggesting any of this should actually be developed, especially in the short term. Or even that I think that this sort of thing is practicable. Instead, I suppose what I’m trying to do is set out a vision of how, for me, banking could and should evolve.
More important than my thoughts (which are just the witterings of a madman on the internet) is your own vision of the future. That’s arguably the most important thing because while you can’t (and arguably shouldn’t) develop all of this sort of thing right now, you can make sure the foundations are in place - the right hooks in app, if you will, so you can execute on whatever your detailed future vision is, without having major redesigns or pivots (or a messy app as features land in a non thought through way).
I expect the big brains at Dozens/ PI are already on it. I just wanted to add my thoughts (more experience and input leads to better outcomes, right?) - and, cheekily, to see if I could tease out any more visions for the future!
We’re always happy to listen to user feedback on the experience @DozensFan
Would you be able to give us some specific examples of what you consider confusing and how you think it might be made clearer?
It is probably not relevant directly to Dozens 2.0 (this topic) but you can always post to this general category (Feedback & Ideas) and others can then also chip in with ideas or additions
As you will certainly appreciate with your background, it helps to be specific about screens or flows, so if you have a chance to share (cropped) screenshots (with no personal information) this will also help.
Quite a number of app sections will be updated with releases in the near future, but it always helps to get input on current user experience while we are still working on these and can refine them