Revolut vs Starling

Revolut and Starling are part of the new breed of "challenger banks", but there are some major differences in what they offer.


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In recent years, there has been a leap in the number of challengers taking on high street banks. Traditional banks have so far failed to make online banking as easy and practical as consumers want, and new mobile banking apps such as Revolut and Starling have capitalised on this.

Challenger bank apps offer features such as fee-free spending abroad, weekly and monthly insights into your spending, and real-time information about your account – allowing you to even see contactless payments instantly in your app, or letting you freeze or cancel your debit card in an instant.

Revolut or Starling – side by side comparison

Revolut (Standard)Starling Bank
NameRevolut (Standard)Starling Bank
Fees and chargesCard delivery is £4.99Free
Delivery speedUp to 9 working daysBetween 3-5 working days
PaymentsEasy UK payments and can transfer money between 23 countriesPay via bank transfer or using PayPal or Google Nearby
UK ATM withdrawals £200 free monthlyFree
Spending insightsShows spending by category, merchant, country, and monthInsights lets you compare spending between different merchants
Categories10+ categories10+ categories
Direct debitsSupported with both the UK account and the Euro IBAN accountYes - future Direct Debits shown as alerts
Top upVia bank transfer. Longer term users can pay in with the auto top up feature.Via bank transfer, standing order, or have salary paid in
Freeze your cardYes: touch of a button in appYes: touch of a button in app
AlertsSends realtime transaction notificationsReal time notifications about any account activity. Starling alerts you if you have insufficient funds to cover direct debits.
InterestNo interest0.05% on up to £85,000
Savings goalsSet budgets in the appCreate different spending goals and protect money from daily spending
VisualisationSpending graphs show which days you've spent most/least moneyThe Pulse circle graph shows you how much you have spent each day in real time and on what.
Foreign ATM withdrawals£200 free monthlyFree
Foreign transactions feeNo feesNo fees
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Similar app features

Both offer apps that are designed to help you budget. Both automatically categorise your transactions and give you insights into where you are spending your money most – by category and by shop. If you’re blowing half your salary on lattes in Starbucks, you’ll see this detail in either app.

Another key feature you get with both is total control of your card from the app. Both let you manage your account with ease and in real time, letting you temporarily freeze your cards with a touch of a button in the app.

Key differences

  • Transferring money abroad: Revolut uses the interbank exchange rate, which is usually cheaper than the MasterCard rate offered by Starling. Although, it is worth checking current rates. Revolut does markup their exchange rates for out of market hours too. So be wary of this.
  • Startup costs: the immediate difference between the two is that Starling offers a debit card totally free, whereas with Revolut you’ll have to fork out £4.99 for card delivery – unless you order it through finder.
  • CASS: Starling offer the Current Account Switch Service which makes switching from your old bank far simpler. you won’t have to set up any direct payments as they’ll come across from your old account automatically.
  • Interest: unlike many other “challenger banks” Starling offer interest on your account. 0.5% may seem small but it’s more than Revolut’s 0%.
  • Security: Revolut doesn’t currently have a bank license, so you’re not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. With Starling, you’re protected for up to £85,000.

Starling CEO Anne Boden explains why Starling Bank is different

Revolut vs Starling: The verdict

In truth, Revolut and Starling Bank are broadly similar. Both offer a UK bank account managed via an app, with great spending abroad options with each app.

However, you wanted a verdict so here we go.

Starling is better for people who want a simple all round UK current account, and like to go on holiday. It’s unbeatable when it comes to spending overseas.

Revolut meanwhile is better for those who are looking for a slightly more eccentric experience. You’re able to buy cryptocurrency, buy shares, hold multiple currencies and buy day-by-day insurance using Revolut. If this sounds like you then Revolut is the one to go for.

Starling Bank

Starling Bank: award-winning banking on your mobile

  • No monthly fees or fees overseas
  • Apply in minutes, direct from the app
  • Winner 2020 - Best Current Account, British Bank Awards

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