Monzo vs Atom bank

Monzo and Atom bank both pay interests on your savings, but do it in quite different ways. We've compared them side by side for you.

Digital banks have been populating the UK market in the last few years. Most of them, like Monzo, began by offering a basic free current account that can be entirely set-up and managed through an app, to which a savings option was then added. Atom, instead, went directly for savings accounts and mortgages, which are more difficult to find in challengers’ product range.

We cover Monzo’s Savings Pot and Atom’s Fixed Rate Savings features, differences and similarities to help you decide if either appeals to you.

Saving with Monzo and Atom

Monzo and Atom are both challengers that aim at simplifying the banking experience using app technology and avoiding paperwork and physical branches. You can open an account for free with both of them within minutes.

However, they respond to two different needs. Atom doesn’t offer a current account option, so it’s obviously not what you’re looking for when it comes to day-to-day banking. On the other hand, Monzo’s Saving Pots aren’t a stand-alone product but an offshoot of their main current account.

Atom’s products are specifically meant for saving. This means higher interest rates and a wider range of options both in terms of duration (from three months to five years) and in terms of balance limits (you can save from as little as £50 to £100,000). You can also choose between monthly and annual interests. However, it also means less freedom.

Once you’ve opened an account with Atom, you have one week to put money into it. After that, your account is locked in both directions: you can’t add any more money, nor can you withdraw it until the product expires. Which also means, of course, that you won’t get a card that goes with your Atom account, nor will you be able to make payments or transfers of any kind.

As usual, the longer is the account life, the higher is the interest rate likely to be.

Monzo launched its Savings Pots feature in April 2019 thanks to a partnership with Investec Corporate and Investment Banking. You need to have a Monzo regular current account in order to be able to use it and you can put aside up to £250,000.

The interest rate you’ll get in a Monzo Savings Pot will depend on the type of savings pot you choose. Monzo customers can select from a range of Pots (which are basically mini savings accounts that sit within your main account), including instant access, flexible cash ISA or fixed term savings.

Safety

Your money is safe and sound with both Monzo and Atom bank: they both have a UK banking licence and deposits are protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Atom uses biometrics to protect to the app (face and voice recognition plus a passcode), while Monzo requires either your card’s PIN or your fingerprint to move money from your account.

Monzo vs Atom: the verdict

Monzo and Atom both offer an easy and smart way to set aside money for the future, but target customers with two different sort of needs.

In a nutshell, Monzo comes with more flexibility than Atom and offers a greater return on instant access savings, but you’ll earn more on your savings with Atom if you’re happy to keep your savings locked away for a fixed term. If you’re keen on a new current account for your day-to-day banking, and as a cherry on top you’d also like some interests on your savings, with Monzo you’re probably on the right track.

On the other hand, if you’re only looking for a savings account and you don’t mind getting it with a different bank than your main current account’s one (nor are you planning on getting your money back in advance), Atom is competitive, easy to set up and quite smart.

Read our review of Monzo and our review of Atom to learn more about the products they offer.

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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