Revolut alternatives including banks, apps and competitors
Looking for something like Revolut, but not quite? Let's go find the challenger account that suits you best.
Top alternative banks and apps to Revolut
The main alternatives to Revolut are Starling and Monzo. N26 was a big player here but it closed down in the UK after Brexit. Cashplus and Monese are a bit smaller, but they should fill that gap in the market.
- Starling: Good for travelling
- Monzo: Good for banking
- Chase: Good for cashback
- Cashplus: Good for improving your credit score
- Monese: Good for opening an account
- Curve: Good for connecting apps
Launched as a prepaid, multi-currency card back in 2015, Revolut now offers an e-money account with a wide range of features and the banking challenger has more than 12 million customers worldwide. However, in the UK there are a bunch of companies offering similar services and competition in the market is heating up – which is obviously great news for consumers.
Alternatives to Revolut
As you will have read in this guide, the main alternatives to Revolut are Monzo, Starling, Chase and Monese.
With Monzo’s free version of its app-based current account, you can categorise your spending and set budgets, as well as create savings “pots” and choose to “round up” your spare change to save into one of those pots. You’ll get instant notifications of transactions, and you can also establish a bills pot, and choose to have you direct debits and bills paid from it, to keep your disposable income separate.
When you apply for an account, you’ll be issued with the famous bright coral Monzo card, which is a contactless Mastercard. It’s free to use it to make purchases in the UK and abroad, although the free cash withdrawals are limited to £250 every 30 days in the UK and across Europe (there’s a 3% fee when you go beyond that).
There’s a £1 fee for depositing cash into your account via a PayPoint (you can deposit up to £300 in one go, limited to £1,000 in total over 6 months). Cheques can be deposited, but must be sent to Monzo by post, using the Freepost service. You can also apply for an overdraft with Monzo.
Like Revolut’s Standard account, 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’s 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 abroad, for both spending and cash withdrawals.
Although there are no Starling bank branches, you can deposit cash into your Starling account for free at a Post Office. You can also deposit cheques through your app via cheque imaging (although cheques worth more than £500 will need to be sent to Starling through the post, for free). With Revolut, on the other hand, you can’t deposit cash or cheques at all.
A more comprehensive comparison can be made by reading our Starling vs Revolut guide.
Revolut is best suited to those who want to send money abroad, as Chase doesn’t allow international payments. Revolut’s app is also more advanced than Chase’s and Revolut offers the opportunity to trade shares and buy cryptocurrencies.
However, both accounts offer fee-free foreign transactions (although there are monthly limits with Revolut) and both accounts offer a round-ups feature, where your transactions are rounded up and the difference is transferred to a savings pot. But while Chase pays interest on this cash, Revolut doesn’t. Chase also offers interest on in-credit balances and you can earn cashback on your spending for the first 12 months. Finally, Chase offers FSCS protection, while Revolut doesn’t.
Monese is perhaps less well known than Revolut, Monzo or Starling, but it too offers a free digital-only e-money account. What’s more, you only need your ID to open an account, and not a proof of address. You can also have Monese accounts in different currencies – and it’s free to move money between them. (For other international transfers, you get a less competitive exchange rate with the free Monese account than with one of its paid-for accounts).
The free account also comes with a spending overview tool, monthly and weekly budgeting features, and instant notifications whenever you spend. Similar to some of the other challenger accounts, you can create savings pots and set a rule to round up your spending, to help you put money aside.
You’ll get a contactless payment card with your Monese account, which you can use to spend for free in the UK and spend up to £2,000 abroad each month (a 2% fee applies after that). You also get £200 worth of ATM withdrawals for free per month (and a 2% fee applies after that too). Cash deposits at Post Offices and PayPoints come with a 2% fee (and a minimum charge of £2), while cheques are not currently accepted.
Are challengers safe?
The short answer is yes – all of the challengers we’ve mentioned are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are fully authorised to do what they do. However, there is a slight difference when it comes to how your money is protected:
- Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). It protects all deposits up to £85,000 and applies to institutions that have a full banking licence. Those challengers are Monzo, Starling and Atom.
- Segregated accounts. Institutions that only have a licence for dealing in electronic money have to keep all their clients’ money in segregated accounts at licensed UK banks – it can’t be used to pay the company’s debt and is thus safe in case of bankruptcy. That’s the case for Monese and Revolut.
Revolut is one of the leading banking challengers in the UK and its e-money accounts have many useful features, particularly when it comes to foreign currency and money transfers. But if it’s not the right provider for you, then as our guide above and our comparison table below shows, there are several great alternatives out there in UK market.
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