EU based digital bank N26 has chosen to stop operating in the UK in early February due the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Read our guide for alternatives to N26.
Offering high-quality apps, real-time payment information, and cheaper ways of sending and spending money abroad, these banks have brought in millions of customers.
Here, we take a look at three of the biggest names in the industry and compare the benefits.
|Fees and charges||Card delivery is £4.99||Free||Free|
|Delivery speed||Up to 9 working days||Between 2-7 working days||5-7 working days|
|Payments||Easy UK payments and can transfer money between 23 countries||Pay via bank transfer or send instantly to other Monzo account||Use MoneyBeam to transfer money instantly. Is partnered with Transferwise so can send money to 16 countries.|
|UK ATM withdrawals||£200 free monthly||Free||Free|
|Spending insights||Shows spending by category, merchant, country, and month||Spending tracker provides a breakown of how much you've spent and where||PULSE26 analytics offers insights like the restaurant you visit most. Monthly reports help understand your spending habits.|
|Categories||10+ categories||10+ categories, regularly updated||20+ categories|
|Direct debits||Supported with both the UK account and the Euro IBAN account||Yes - future payments shown in homefeed||Yes|
|Top up||Via bank transfer. Longer term users can pay in with the auto top up feature.||Via bank transfer, standing order, or have salary paid in||Via bank transfer - IBAN needed and details needed|
|Freeze your card||Yes: touch of a button in app||Yes: touch of a button in app||Yes: touch of a button in app|
|Alerts||Sends realtime transaction notifications||Monzo's Targets sends notifications to warn you if you're spending too fast. Dashboard changes from green to orange to red to indicate overspending.||Alerts for withdrawing money and paying|
|Interest||No interest||Marketplace with 8 savings accounts both fixed rate and easy access, £500 minimum deposit.||None|
|Savings goals||Set budgets in the app||Monzo pots let you put money aside, protected from your daily spending||n26 'Spaces' feature lets the user open sub-accounts to stash your money away|
|Visualisation||Spending graphs show which days you've spent most/least money||Monzo uses a monthly graph and a pie chart to show the trajectory of your money, and how it is broken down||Monthly spending statistics shown in pie chart|
|Foreign ATM withdrawals||£200 free monthly||£200 free monthly||1.7% of amount drawn|
|Foreign transactions fee||No fees||No fees||No fees|
|More Info||More Info||More Info|
What do the apps look like?
For those looking to send money abroad, these cards are all cheaper than traditional banks. Compare the exchange rates online. However, Revolut’s interbank exchange rate is usually cheaper than Monzo’s Mastercard rate.
In terms of using your card abroad, their options are all pretty similar. However, with N26’s basic account, you will be charged 1.7% to withdraw cash from an ATM abroad.
Revolut vs Monzo vs N26: The verdict
Given these “challenger banks” are closely competing with one another, it’s hardly surprising there’s not much to split between them.
All three offer slick apps with essentially the same features. These include transaction categories, real-time spending information, insights into your spending, and separate savings pots you can squirrel your money away in.
If you’re looking for a card which rounds up your spare change and puts it away to be saved, then Revolut and Monzo, who both offer this, are marginally ahead.
There are a couple of key differences between their fees and limits which, depending on how and where you spend, might sway you.
N26 and Monzo offer fee-free ATM withdrawals for UK customers taking out pounds, so if you often find yourself at the ATM, these could be for you.
If you’re looking to use one of these cards on a holiday or trip abroad, they all offer broadly similar exchange rates. The plus with Revolut is it offers a wide range of currencies.
However, Revolut also marks up its exchange rates at weekends, so if you’re on holiday on a Saturday and Sunday it might be worth opting for Monzo or N26.
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