Digital banking

Compare app-based banking accounts and spending cards.

Promoted
Starling Bank logo

Open a free account with digital bank Starling

  • No monthly fees or fees overseas
  • Apply in minutes, direct from the app
  • 24/7 support
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Mobile banking puts your finances at your fingertips 24/7. There's a host of challenger banks, digital-only banks and personal finance apps available, designed to give you better, faster control of your money. We've rounded up what you need to know from reviews and product comparisons to news and video interviews with the key players.

Compare challenger banks and apps

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
1 - 7 of 7
Name Product Ratings Interest (AER) Arranged overdraft Key benefits Link Representative example
Starling Bank
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0.05%
15% EAR variable
No fees overseas
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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.
Revolut Standard
Finder Award
Revolut
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
NA
Sign up and get a free £10 top-up with Finder and get 1 month of Revolut Premium for free, too. For new customers only, T&Cs apply.
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Account fee of £0.
Monese
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Get a free £10 bonus when using your card to make a transaction for the first time using the promo code FINDER22. T&Cs apply.
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Cashplus
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance plus a credit building feature
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Account fee of £5.95 per month.
Ziglu
Not yet rated
0%
N/A
N/A
Ziglu offers a cash account and debit card to sit alongside your investments. Instantly move your money and spend it how, when and wherever you want.
Monzo
Not yet rated
0%
Interest rates of 19%, 29% or 39% EAR (variable)
N/A
Account fee of £0.
thinkmoney
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance
Current account switch service guarantee badge Account fee of £10 per month or £15 per month.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Read digital banking reviews

We review every digital bank, app and challenger. Our reviews are regularly updated to cover new features and releases.

Latest digital banking news

Starling Bank hits 3 million current accounts milestone

Starling Bank hits 3 million current accounts milestone

Latest landmark figure from the challenger bank includes nearly half a million business accounts.

Read more…
Monzo launches limited edition neon cards

Monzo launches limited edition neon cards

Existing customers can get hold of one by referring 2 friends to join Monzo

Read more…
Starling Bank adds 36 new spending categories to its app

Starling Bank adds 36 new spending categories to its app

Enhanced Spending Insights tool and search functionality now available to account holders.

Read more…

What is digital banking?

Digital banking is a way to control your money, usually through a smartphone app or web app. It allows you to log into your account anywhere with Internet access, giving you constant visibility of your money and helping you understand the best way to manage it.

Picture not described: digitalbanking-1.png Image: Getty

Why should I use app-based banking?

There are several advantages to app-based banking:

  • Banking access in your pocket
  • Many companies offer 24/7 access to banking support
  • Instant spending notifications
  • Many banking apps offer ways to automatically save money

Another major benefit of app-based banking is the degree to which it has opened up the competition. The new Open Banking rules have enabled third-party apps to innovate, drawing on the infrastructure of traditional banks.

Things to know about app-based banking

Here are a few things that you may not know about using your mobile as your main point of contact with your bank:

If you want to share your information, your bank has to agree

Many banking apps are designed to help their customers save. These apps access your current bank accounts and use clever computer programs to analyse your spending and look for ways that you could save money.

Previously, you could ask your bank to give these apps permission to view your banking data and the bank could refuse. Now, as long as the app is properly licensed, your bank must grant access if you agree to it.

Different types of app-based banking

App-based banking is different from traditional banking in many ways. Unlike traditional banking, app-based banking covers a much wider definition of “banking”.

  • Current account apps

    As part of the app-based banking innovations, a clear class of banking app has emerged: the challenger bank. Challenger banks are new, fledgling banks that are aiming to take on the big, traditional high street banks and change the way we save and spend money. Challenger banks such as Starling, Tandem and Monzo are similar to traditional banks in that they offer the full current account experience but with all the added benefits of an app-based bank.

  • Apps that help you save

    One of the most common reasons for people heading away from traditional banks and towards app-based banking is how easy app-based banking makes it for people to save money. Several providers such as Plum and Chip offer automatic savings for customers. Plum’s clever computer program looks at your spending habits and income and identifies how much you can reasonably save each month and then helps you set up a direct debit to your Plum savings account for this same amount.

  • Prepaid card apps

    Another way to use app-based banking to help you save is through the use of prepaid cards. Cards with banking companies such as Pockit, Cashplus and Tuxedo allow you to load specific amounts of money on to your card and even further segregate this money into “pots” to spend on different things. This way you don’t have access to too much money all at once and are less likely to fall for those expensive “impulse buys”.

  • Investment apps

    Another popular way to use app-based banking is saving through investment. Apps such as Moneybox allow you to make weekly or one-off deposits to three risk-assessed categories of investments. Several of the app-based banks also allow you to sign up to a “round-up” where your account rounds up your purchases to the nearest pound and uses the change you would have received as an investment.

  • Traditional banking apps

    App-based banking doesn’t only apply to challenger banks or money-saving banking apps; it’s also becoming increasingly possible to bank on your smartphone with traditional banks such as Barclays and Natwest, both of whom have highly-rated mobile apps where you can control your money.

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Banking in lockdown: Is the honeymoon over for challengers?

Finder published a paper in September 2020 on how the coronavirus pandemic has changed banking and how the banking industry is adapting. Our paper includes original research from social analytics specialist DataEQ (formerly Brandseye) and predictions from experts including Helene Panzarino, associate director of The London Institute of Banking & Finance, Jamie Broadbent, head of digital & innovation at RBS International, Nigel Verdon, CEO at Open Banking platform Railsbank and Jon Ostler, CEO of Finder UK.
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We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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