A big part of the money we spend each month goes into subscriptions or other recurring payments. We pay rent for our apartment, buy a ticket for a month of access to public transit and are getting charged by our carrier for our data plan.
This is nothing new, but the amount of monthly recurring payments we have nowadays is increasing. We are more and more moving away from owning things and towards renting them. Instead of paying for each song we want to listen to, we are paying a few bucks a month for the rights to access every song we want. The same is true for movies, sports and news.
Despite subscriptions making up an ever increasing part of our spending, I found banking apps to be mostly unaware of that.
Whenever i get charged by Netflix, Vodafone or my gym, the payment is treated as just another dumb transaction.
If banking solutions would be more aware of how we spend money nowadays, they could offer a lot of insights and improve the experience of dealing with our finances. That’s why I created this concept.
Monthly costs overview
One of the main advantages of understanding which payments are recurring is to be able to make predictions. The app could tell me how much money I need to pay the bills, so I get a better idea of how much i have left before the next paycheck.
Because of the reverse-chronological order of transaction timelines, future payments should sit at the very top of the list.
The card shows the amount that is left to pay for this month. As payments get made, the amount decreases until it eventually reaches zero. While the card is visible, the account balance at the top of the screen is reduced by the amount thats stated in the monthly payments card and thus showing the user the exact amount of money that is left after all bills are paid.
Users can tap the card to get a more detailed overview. This includes processed and upcoming payments, the expected date of each transaction, and the total of all monthly payments.
Remaining monthly costs
When I came up with the overview over monthly recurring revenue, I noticed something. Even regardless of subscriptions, there are other things that people spend money on repeatedly. Things like buying groceries, using car sharing services or even getting cash from an ATM happen every single month. The only differences are that these payments are neither garantueed nor do we know their exact costs.
Modern banking apps are already assigning categories to each processed transaction. We could use these categories to give an estimate over how much money I’m likely going to spend this month on certain things, based on past behaviour. This could look very similar to the subscriptions overview.
The card shows which categories im usally spending the most money on, and how much I’m likely going to spend on them. And similarly to the subscriptions overview, it shows an estimated total and reduces the account balance on top of the screen accordingly. It might make sense to exclude categories like "traveling" from that list since they are unlikely to be repeated every month.
Tapping on the card opens a similar overview, but because all those costs are guesses without any specific date, it displays how much of the expected amount I already spent on any given category this month.
As important it is to know what your burn rate is, it would also be helpful to know when and how much money is coming in. To do that, I reused the card UI, this time showing things like salary, expected profits from my investments and money that friends owe me.
As time passes, the app gets to know your spending habits better and better. Eventually it should know them so well that it can accurately predict a big part of your transactions, giving you a detailed overview over your finances ahead of time.
If implemented correctly, the ideas I explained above could help users make out areas where they spend the most money on, making it easier to start saving money effectively.
In addition to that, they enable users to more easily plan the month ahead and reduce the risk of unexpected costs.