Alternatives to Monzo: A list of similar banks and apps
The digital banking revolution is in its golden years, so consumers have never had more banking options. We've rounded up the banks like Monzo in our guide below.
Top alternative banks and apps to Monzo
The main alternatives to Monzo are Starling and Revolut. N26 was a big player here but has recently closed down in the UK. Cashplus and Monese are a bit smaller, but should fill that gap in the market.
- Starling: A digital banking app with savings goals, marketplace and accessible via app and desktop.
- Revolut: A digital banking app with many features including buying crypto, fee free spending abroad and rounding up spare change.
- Chase: An app-based bank account earning cashback that’s good for earning cashback and no overseas fees.
- Cashplus: A bank account that is great for improving your credit score.
- Monese: A digital banking app that lets you open an account really easily.
- Curve: A banking app that helps you connect all your cards together under one card.
Main alternatives to Monzo
The two main rivals to Monzo are considered to be Starling and Revolut. These three banking brands all launched within a few years of one another in the UK, they all operate digital-only accounts, and their free accounts all have similar features.
Like Monzo, Starling’s personal current account is free, and you can open and manage it all through a mobile app. You’ll get notifications when payments leave or enter your account, and can analyse your spending, to assist with budgeting. You can also set “goals” to help you put money aside to save up for specific things, plus there is an overdraft facility available, if you qualify.
You’ll also get a physical card to make purchases in-store or online, and to withdraw money from ATMs. One of the big plus-points with Starling is that it’s completely fee-free to use your card in the UK and abroad, for both spending and cash withdrawals.
Although there are no Starling bank branches, you can deposit cash into your Starling account at a Post Office. You can also deposit cheques through your app via cheque imaging (although cheques worth more than £1,000 will need to be sent to Starling through the post, for free).
A more comprehensive comparison can be made by reading our Monzo vs Starling guide.
Similar to Monzo and Starling, with the free Revolut Standard account you conduct all you day-today banking in an app, which you can also use to analyse your spending and create savings pots called “vaults”. However, there is not currently an option to deposit cash or cheques.
The card use limits with Revolut are not quite as generous as Starling. Making purchases in the UK and abroad is free, but you will be charged to use an ATM if you withdraw more than £200 in a month, in either the UK or overseas.
Revolut does have some other attractive international options though – you can hold a balance in up to 29 currencies, and you get the interbank exchange rate when making money transfers abroad. Revolut is also the only one out of the three where you get the option to access a share dealing and cryptocurrency buying platform.
Revolut also operates several paid-for e-money accounts, which come with extra features and perks, in exchange for a monthly or annual fee. The four plans available are called Plus, Premium, Metal and Ultra.
A more comprehensive comparison can be made by reading our Monzo vs Revolut guide.
Both of these accounts allow you to set up direct debits, receive your salary and make transfers. Both accounts also offer round ups, enabling you to round up your card transactions and put money into a savings pot. Chase pays interest on this balance, while Monzo doesn’t, but Monzo also offers separate savings accounts that pay interest.
Chase and Monzo both have a UK banking licence and offer FSCS protection. They also offer fee-free spending abroad, although Monzo limits the amount of fee-free ATM cash withdrawals each month. Unlike Monzo, Chase pays interest on account balances and customers can earn cashback as they spend for the first year. On the other hand, Monzo offers a more established app, with budgeting tools and spending categories. It also allows international payments, while Chase doesn’t.
Monzo and Monese both offer 3 plan types, one of which is free and 2 of which charge a monthly fee. Monese lets customers have both UK and European accounts and international transfers can be carried out for a fee. Customers can also receive international payments. Monzo, meanwhile, has teamed up with Wise to allow you to send international payments but it’s not currently possible to receive them.
If you’re looking to spend abroad, you can do so fee-free with Monzo, but ATM withdrawals are only free up to a monthly limit. Depending on the plan you choose, Monese might also limit the number of fee-free transactions you can make overseas each month.
Monzo is a UK bank and therefore offers FSCS protection. It also offers an overdraft. Monese does not offer an overdraft or FSCS protection.
Are challengers safe?
Monzo operates a full UK bank account, so deposits of up to £85,000 are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), as is standard for licensed UK banks.
Atom Bank and Starling also both have a UK banking licence, and therefore offer the same deposit protection as Monzo.
Revolut and Monese aren’t banks, but they are registered with the FCA as electronic money institutions. This means they have to keep all their customers’ money in segregated accounts at licensed UK banks, so the funds can’t be touched even if the companies were to go bankrupt.
So the short answer is yes – main challengers are all safely regulated and if anything were to happen to them your money is as protected as it can be.
Monzo was the original poster child for digital banking in the UK and its current accounts have many useful features, particularly when it comes to analysing your spending, setting budgets and putting money aside into a savings pot. But if you’ve decided that Monzo is not the right banking provider for you, then our guide and comparison table will help point you in the direction of several great alternatives out there in the UK market.
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