Alternatives to Monzo

The digital banking revolution is in its golden years, so consumers have never had more banking options. If you don't know how to choose, we've got you covered.

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Banks like monzo including competitors and alternatives

The main alternatives to Monzo are Starling Bank 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.

Cards like Monzo for day-to-day banking

If you’re looking for a challenger that can provide you with a main bank account and cover as many basic financial needs as possible, you will have to think about what you normally use your mainstream bank account for, and what your priorities are.

Challengers are constantly widening their range of services, but there are a bunch of things that they still don’t do. Chances are that in return for low fees, better working apps and less bureaucracy, you’ll end up giving up on something you didn’t realise you like about your normal bank.

Here are some of the features you may be most interested in:

  • ATM withdrawals. Starling Bank is probably the top player here – UK ATM withdrawals are for free.
  • Cash loads. Starling Bank allows you to deposit cash on your account at Post Offices for free, whereas with Monzo you can do it at PayPoints and it costs £1 a transaction. There’s also Monese, which allows you to do it in both places, and it’s free up to £200 a month (it costs a 2% fee after that). You can’t load cash in your account with Revolut.
  • Direct debits. For now, Revolut only allows direct debits from the accounts in euro, so you can’t use it to directly pay your bills in sterling. Its competitors instead support them fully.
  • Overdrafts. Monzo and Starling Bank both allow planned overdrafts, but Starling is cheaper.

Alternatives to Monzo for travelling

Abroad transactions and payments are usually challengers’s strongest spot. Traditional banks often charge extra fees when it comes to using their cards abroad and since the beginning the new players in the game have prided themselves in being different.

You can pay with your card abroad without any fee with Monzo, Starling Bank, Revolut and Monese.

Starling also allows free ATM withdrawals abroad.

Revolut and Monese allow free ATM withdrawals abroad up to £200 a month (there’s a 2% fee after that). With Monzo, there is a £200 fee-free withdrawal limit for overseas ATMs (and a 3% fee beyond that).

Alternatives to Monzo for saving

Challengers aren’t big on savings account yet, and if that’s what you’re looking for you may be better off with a traditional bank. However, things are starting to move in this area too.

If you are considering a challenger for a savings account, Atom is probably your best bet. It offers saving accounts and mortgages instead of regular current accounts – something its competitors haven’t quite started experimenting with yet.

Atom offers fixed-rate saving accounts that last up to five years and competitive interest rates that vary according to the number of years you keep your money into the account. Those are established in advance – you cannot withdraw your money until the product term ends.

If you don’t want to open a separate savings account, with Starling you earn interest on your current account balance. The rates are not as good as most savings accounts’, but they are still interesting: 0.5% annual equivalent rate to account balances below £2,000, and 0.25% to those under £85,000.

Are challengers safe?

Monzo offers a full UK bank account and deposits are protected by FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) up to £85,000, as it is standard for mainstream UK banks.

In the recent months, challengers have been competing to ensure the same level of protection and gain consumer’s trust.

Atom Bank and Starling have a UK banking licence and the same deposit protection as Monzo.

Monese isn’t a bank because it doesn’t have a full banking licence, but is FCA-registered as an e-money institution and has to keep all clients’ money in a segregated account that can’t be touched even if the company were to go bankrupt.

Revolut just got a European banking licence – which means that with both your deposit will be protected up to €100,000 (approximately £90,000). However, it will take a while before Revolut’s licence becomes fully effective and includes a deposit protection – until then, it’s true for Revolut what we said for Monese.

So the short answer is yes – main challengers are all safely regulated and if anything were to happen to them your money is as safe as it can be.

Cards and apps like Monzo

Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Ratings Interest (AER) Arranged overdraft Key benefits Link Representative example
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
15% EAR variable
Award-winning current account, apply in minutes
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
No fees for spending or withdrawing cash overseas - currencies are converted at Mastercard’s standard exchange rate
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 15% EAR variable.
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
39.94% EAR variable
Interest and fee free overdraft
for first four months when you switch
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Up to 15% cashback at a range of major retailers
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.94% EAR variable.
We say
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance plus a credit building feature
Go to site
Account fee of £5.95 per month.
We say
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Earn cashback on your purchases when you shop through the ThinkMoney rewards portal
Account fee of £10 per month or £15 per month.
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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Foreign ATM withdrawals Foreign transactions fee Card cost Delivery speed
Starling Bank
Free
No fees
Free
Between 3-5 working days
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
WeSwap
Withdrawals of £200/$200/€200 or more – free
smaller withdrawals – a charge of £1.50 per withdrawal

No transaction fees (if you spend in one of the 18 wallet currencies)
Free
Between 3-5 working days in the UK, or within 10 days if you live outside the UK
Tandem (Credit Card)
No ATM fees. However you'll be charged interest from the day you withdraw cash.
No fees
Free
-
Tandem's credit card doesn't charge fees on purchases abroad, leaving you with more money for your travels.
Loot
Two free cash withdrawals per month, £1 thereafter
No fees
Free
-
App-based current account that keeps you on top of your spending. You can set goals and Loot will help you get there.
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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Fees and charges Interest Savings goals
Revolut (Standard)
Card delivery is £4.99
No interest
Set budgets in the app
Starling Bank
Free
0.05% on up to £85,000
Create different spending goals and protect money from daily spending
Monese
None
No interest
Not a feature
Monzo
Free
Marketplace with 8 savings accounts both fixed rate and easy access, £500 minimum deposit.
Monzo pots let you put money aside, protected from your daily spending
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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Direct debits UK ATM withdrawals Payments Freeze your card
Revolut (Standard)
Supported with both the UK account and the Euro IBAN account
£200 free monthly
Easy UK payments and can transfer money between 23 countries
Yes: touch of a button in app
App-based current account with loads of extra features. (e.g. Real time transactions, payment categorisation, save spare change, free international money transfers, buy cryptocurrency)
Starling Bank
Yes - future Direct Debits shown as alerts
Free
Pay via bank transfer or using PayPal or Google Nearby
Yes: touch of a button in app
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
Monese
Yes - can cancel with touch of a button too
£200 free monthly
Pay via bank transfer, easier to send to another Monese account.
Report lost/stolen in app to be sent replacement
A multi-currency mobile banking app that aims to be ‘built around you’. Use it to open a fully functional current account instantly, straight from your phone, all supported by a feature-rich mobile app
Monzo
Yes - future payments shown in homefeed
Free
Pay via bank transfer or send instantly to other Monzo account
Yes: touch of a button in app
Monzo is free to spend anywhere in the world and in any currency, with no fees. All money is exchanged using the MasterCard rate.
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