Revolut vs Monzo vs Starling

These are three of the major names in "challenger banking", offering a range of similar services. Which is the best for you?

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Within a few years “challenger banks” like Revolut, Monzo and Starling have made huge waves in the digital banking world. Millions of customers carry their cards and use their accounts daily.

Here we take a detailed look at what these three rivals do best, across three rounds: travel, saving, and general use as a day to day account.

Round 1: Travelling

Updated November 14th, 2019
Name Product Foreign ATM withdrawals Foreign transactions fee Card cost Delivery speed
£200 free monthly
No fees
Free with finder.com, otherwise card delivery is £4.99
Up to 9 working days
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)
£200 free monthly
No fees
Free
Between 2-7 working days
Monzo is free to spend anywhere in the world and in any currency, with no fees. All money is exchanged using the MasterCard rate.
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)

Compare up to 4 providers

Round 2: Saving

Updated November 14th, 2019
Name Product Fees and charges Interest Savings goals
Free with finder.com, otherwise card delivery is £4.99
No interest
Set budgets in the app
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
Free
0.5% AER up to £2,000, 0.25% over £2,000 to £85,000
Create different spending goals and protect money from daily spending

Compare up to 4 providers

Round 3: As a current account

Updated November 14th, 2019
Name Product Direct debits UK ATM withdrawals Payments Freeze your card
Revolut currently only supports direct debits with 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)
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.
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)

Compare up to 4 providers

Revolut (Standard)

Revolut card: Free delivery worth £5

Get £10 and a free Revolut card by clicking the button, completing sign-up and topping up with at least £10

  • Open an account in minutes
  • Instant spending notifications
  • Trusted by 8 million users
Promoted

Starling Bank

Starling Bank: award-winning banking on your mobile

  • No monthly fees or fees overseas from Starling Bank
  • Apply in minutes, direct from the app
  • Best British Bank 2019 award winner
  • Get instant notifications & insights on your spending habits
  • Earn interest on your real-time balance
Promoted

Revolut vs Monzo vs Starling: the verdict

So, which is better for what? Let’s see…

Similar apps

There’s not much to separate the apps on offer from these three competitors.

Using smart technology they break your transactions down by category or by shop. These are then fed back to you in weekly or monthly insights, showing you where your spending most.

You have total control of your card through their apps, so if you lose your card you can temporarily freeze it or cancel it through your phone.

It’s super quick and easy to pay friends with any of these banking apps, too.

Split the difference: fees, interest and deposit protection

Day-to-day banking is free with all the three of them, so there isn’t really a difference. However:

  • For travelling. Starling tops the chart with fee-free card spending and the highest limit for free foreign ATM withdrawals.
  • For sending money abroad. Revolut is the cheapest option since it’s mostly free. Both Monzo and Starling charge fees, although they’re still quite competitive.
  • For earning interest on your savings. Starling is the only one that pays an interest on current account balances. Monzo offers higher rates, but only if you open a separate savings account with one of its partners. In truth, you can get better rates from traditional banks, but these rates are still better than the 0% offered by Revolut.

Unlike Revolut, Monzo and Starling both have a full UK banking licence and your deposits are covered by the FSCS.

More, more, more: range of features

All the three of them are expanding their range of features, trying to become more than basic digital current accounts. Generally speaking, Monzo and Starling have focused more on offering other kinds of financial and banking products, while Revolut has gone all in with techy features that you can’t find anywhere else. More specifically, these are the main extra features/products they offer:

  • Revolut. Free international money transfers, ability to hold multiple currencies, cryptocurrencies, pay-per-day travel insurance.
  • Monzo. Savings accounts and energy switching (through marketplace); international money transfers (through TransferWise); joint accounts and overdrafts (in-house).
  • Starling. Insurance, mortgage and investing products (through marketplace); joint accounts, international money transfers, overdrafts and personal loans (in-house).

The verdict of the verdicts

All in all, they’re all solid banking solutions and none of them is exponentially better than the others. Depending on what you need and how often you go abroad, you may be better off with one or another.

However, if we had to pick one for your average banking needs, it would probably be Starling. There’s little separating it from Monzo, but the higher limit on free ATM withdrawals outside the UK comes handy if you travel to a country where cash is still king.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MichaelMarch 21, 2019

    Can I convert GBP to euros and US dollars with a Starling card and hold multiple currencies at the same time?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoMarch 22, 2019Staff

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for getting in touch! The Starling bank only holds GBP, but as it says on our page, Charges for spending abroad or withdrawing cash at an ATM aren’t an issue since using your Starling Bank card overseas doesn’t incur extra fees. You will be charged the Mastercard exchange rate for purchases. Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    AndyJanuary 8, 2019

    Can I set up direct debits in France from a UK Stalting or Monzo account? I want to replace my Credit Agricole account. Thanks.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      CharisseJanuary 10, 2019Staff

      Hi Andy,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      Unfortunately, you won’t be able to setup SEPA direct debits with UK Starling and Monzo accounts. Hopefully, these digital banks will look into the possibilities of adding these features in the future.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

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