Habit Replacement

I’ve just read ‘Habit’ by Charles Duhigg - he describes habits as loops of ‘cue’, ‘routine’ and ‘reward’. He discusses how they are difficult to eradicate, and can only be replaced by better habits. The method of replacing them is to swap the ‘routine’ to something that delivers the same reward, but from a different routine. For example, when I get off the bus at 6 (the cue), I go to buy a coffee (routine), because I enjoy the burst of socialising the chat in the shop provides (reward).

Could dozens provide a way to change our spending habits? If someone consistently overspends, and wants to cut down, it could provide a notification to do another routine. For the previous example, this might be a notification at 5:55 to call my friend from home - thus providing the same socialisation reward but through a different routine. Similarly, if people spend due to boredom, could dozens respond by providing a notification or link to an interesting article/ video to pre-emptively alleviate the boredom - without the asos order!

I appreciate this could sound a bit Orwellian and would require processing a lot of data, but it would be opt in and so remain up to the user. Just a thought, but may be useful to facilitate a shift from spending to saving habits?


I’ve been thinking about this today - thanks so much for the thought-provoking posts.

While I see that this is well-intentioned, I think that there could be some issues with your financial provider making some decisions (about regular behaviour) on your behalf. We definitely want to be there to help, and we want to empower customers with the information, knowledge, skills and also ability (one thing traditional banks were poor at) to make changes.

However, I would guess that these would have to come from the customer themselves in most cases, as only the individual would really know their circumstances at any given time.

For example, doing something to discourage you from buying a coffee could be well-intentioned, but on a particular day you might be late for a meeting and need to get that coffee quickly and would not be pleased with the usual prompt to buy a yoghurt instead.

However, this is one of the reasons that we are integrating IFTTT into the app itself, and not just making our connection available to that service. We see this developing into a tool that will allow individuals to set up specific and personalised prompts.

In this first stage, the IFTTT rules are simple. We are about to upgrade this integration so that we can allow more granular control and also a broader range of triggers.

Maybe a rule that sends you a link in WhatsApp to your favourite healthy-eating youtuber’s latest video if you enter an area close to your regular coffee shop might have a similar effect?


I don’t think its the place of a bank or any financial provider to change someones spending habits. That’s just being lazy and not taking any responsibility for a problem.

Yes maybe hints and advice, but it shouldn’t actively be doing all the hard work for someone.

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I like that - bit more of a nudge rather than a shove! I need to have more of a play around with IFTTT to get a better idea of what it can do but will probably be popping up again in the dozens community some time soon.

I don’t think it’s not taking responsibility for the problem though. If I’m choosing to purchase a service to help me change my spending habits I am taking responsibility. I’m anticipating and recognising my own weaknesses, and proactively working to change them.

Is there any value to forcing someone to unnecessarily exercise willpower, when they can simply reduce the likelihood of their having to exercise it by removing themselves from those situations. It’s the same as me planning to take a different route to work, so I don’t go near the Krispy Kreme stand and can stick to my diet. The ‘hard work’ just takes a different form - it’s in the form of some preplanning, rather than exercising will power in every instance.

I would argue that someone who is choosing to use a service to help them reduce the likelihood of impulse spending is taking far more responsibility than someone who is simply better at exercising will power in day to day instances. In my view, the person isn’t ‘lazy’ - they’re identifying their own weaknesses and working out ways to adapt and change them.

Furthermore, people’s spending habits are changed all the time. Worldwide spending for the global advertising industry is forecast to reach over $500bn in 2019. This entire industry is aiming to change individual’s spending habits. Is there anything wrong with providing people with the tools to plan how they are going to resist this - particularly if they have to actively seek out and choose to use them?


I think you are confused with what a bank is, its there to make money for its shareholders, not to stop people spending.

Try a building society who is there for its members.

I understand what you are saying but myself like most people won’t want a bank directing me down the route of not spending my own money. Hints and tips are great, but obstacles are not.

I have a bank account to make my life easier, otherwise I would just have a pay as you go card I top up, and only spend what is there.

Ever wondered why merchant blocks are not widespread, all banks can do it, all banks choose not to. It makes people spend less thus increasing a banks cost per customers, lowering profits.

I’m an ideal world maybe a bank should help, but that is an ethical question, and not one a bank with shareholders will go down.

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Sorry - I’m a list gal! And there’s a fair few points in that that I want to address.

Firstly, I hope that didn’t come across as aggressive - I’m simply using this community as a forum to float ideas, and I thought this was interesting and a way to provoke some discussion. It is at the end of the day an idea, and I’d rather chat about it thoughtfully than try to ‘win’ or shutdown the debate.

Secondly, in response to the point about a banks first goal being to maximise money for its shareholders, of course I agree. I think that’s pretty undeniable! But introducing features like this can enhance brand loyalty/ exploit some network effects and as a result increase market share and dividends as a result.

Thirdly, I understand that lots of people may choose not to have obstacles - but it would be opt in and opt out - they wouldn’t have to use them! I completely appreciate it’s not for everyone, but for me personally, it would be really useful. Even if 10% of people in the UK were interested, that’s 6 million potential users! Furthermore, it’s enough of a USP that people may wish to switch banks, which would again increase market share + dividends.

Fourthly, I think the ethos of dozens specifically is slightly different in terms of how it does make its profit (correct me if I’m wrong!), so I don’t think that necessarily applies here?

I don’t think the aims of shareholders and those of the bank need to be mutually incompatible. Shareholders are people too, with their own ethical motivations, and so trying to bring about an ideal world isn’t necessarily incompatible with the views of shareholders. 47% of investors aged 18-34 are looking to invest in a Socially Responsible Investment Fund in the next few years (according to this at least).

This is definitely an ethical question - I’m looking at what ‘ought’ not what ‘is’, and as a result I can see why it seems at odds with our understanding of a bank. I’d hoped to float an idea, and provoke some debate so thank you for engaging with it - it’s been interesting to think about how to justify it to shareholders, and I look forward to your response!


Without a doubt its an ethical question, and if that’s something Dozens wish to address then it will appeal to a different group of people.

Dozens isn’t about lending, they make that clear, but its about using your money wisely so from that aspect its compatible in a way, but its still about investing for a profit, and making you money.

Limiting your spending, while encouraging you to invest at a risk, is risky in itself, and I don’t see the two as compatible personally.

Limiting your spending and saving, could possible work, although a lot of the new banks do save while you spend, so there is some potential crossover between spend and save, and just save.

Can I ask exactly what you mean in regards to ‘increasing brand loyalty’

I’m pretty loyal to Starling - I don’t think I’d change my bank from them, but I still do all my spending with my American Express card.

Dozens isn’t a bank, it can’t lend out its reserve of funds.

I’m not seeing how their bonds make them money besides customer acquisition either.

This leaves them with… interchange? @robert can feel free to jump in an explain any other revenue streams they have - but as they’re utilizing a platform from ClearBank I don’t see them selling BaaS like Starling is

So I would say Dozens should be seeing what benefits this will bring in before reducing the amount of potential return to investors through lowering their income.

So, let’s look at 10% of the UK. 6.5m people (65m population and all)

That 6.5m we’re attracting seems to be switching in an attempt to save themselves some money.

So yeah - this would undoubtedly increase Dozens market share. Where are you linking this to dividends though?

Lloyd’s can afford to pay good dividends and so can Barclays - they can do this because they’re lending to a lot of people.

Dozens doesn’t want to be on that side of things, they want to be making profit alongside the customer, not at their expense.

If I have 5000 customers and each once makes me a net penny, I’m better off having 500 each making me £20 each.

So what we really want (or at least I want, as an investor) is to see Dozens increasing profitability per customer.

I don’t care if they have 500000 people and each one is making them a loss, in fact I’d be preparing my mitten to smack the CEO with for wasting my money.

What about the ones from 35+

Those are the ones on average in the 1% based off of their own money, rather than mooching off of their father who didn’t have the luxury of picking socially responsible companies after his father had made all the money for him :thinking:

Hi Recchan! Again, this was just something that was meant to be interesting to talk about, and hope I haven’t accidentally offended in any way. I just wanted to float an idea and see what people thought.

In terms of increasing brand loyalty, I guess as a customer, if I felt that the provider was giving me the option to do something to improve my saving habits, all other things being equal, I’m more likely to feel loyal and invested with them as a company then if they did not. The benefits from this feature could be two fold. Firstly, if it does provide me an alternative way of structuring my spending, it may lead me to do more of my spending through dozens. Secondly, even if I don’t like the feature, it’s still a pretty clear signal of intent that that dozens is trying to act in my interests. As a result, it develops the brand as something consumer-focused, that works to help people improve their lifestyle. Given that, the perception of the company as an ethical group is enhanced, meaning people are less likely to switch banks.

In terms of the second point, I agree with you that there is a balance to be struck between revenue per customer, and number of customers. I would assume that as an investor it’s not that you want Dozens to be ‘increasing profitability per customer’ but increasing profit overall - and striking the balance that maximises that.

I think from my perception, given that this would be an app/ software development, whilst the start up/ initial costs could be quite high, beyond that the marginal cost could be quite low. So that was the basis for my assumption - that the balance would be orientated more around trying to maximise the number of customers, and gaining a small amount from each. Of course, it could be more towards the other side of that spectrum. Again, this was just some food for thought and it’s interesting to consider how this could be adjusted to trying to get more revenue from a smaller pool of customers - maybe by being more bespoke.
The point that I was responding to was saying that ‘an ethical question’ is something completely unrelated to ‘a bank with shareholders’. All I wanted to demonstrate was that these two things aren’t necessarily incompatible - that there are some shareholders who are concerned with ethical questions, and so it is a valid point to raise. I wasn’t trying to say that all people are looking to bring about an ideal world, just that some people are concerned and that this group does exist. Of course, I recognise that there are other people with other priorities - but there is still a significant enough group to make combining ethical aims with the duty to shareholders a potentially viable option.

Ultimately, the intention and spirit of this post was to open up some avenues for discussion, and give some food for thought - nothing more, nothing less. I thought that given this is the dozens community page, it would be okay to float something that had occurred to me and to see peoples opinions and thoughts. I hope I haven’t offended in any way, and that we can carry on discussing this civilly because I think you have raised some interesting points/ aspects that I hadn’t considered.