smile alternatives: A list of alternative digital banks

Learn more about the alternatives to the UK's first digital bank.


Fact checked

smile was the UK’s first digital bank.

In the late nineties, it was praised for its cutting-edge digital technology. Now, it’s a branch of The Co-operative Bank. If you’re having trouble, it may be possible to get assistance at a branch of The Co-operative Bank

smile still offers its own brand of current accounts with a £500 overdraft, savings accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages and insurance. You can manage these accounts with the smile mobile app.

In this guide, we’ll see how smile compares to five of the newer mobile-only banks out there.


With Revolut, you’ll get a mobile-only current account and a debit card, but there’s so much more than that available.

You’ll face no fees when spending money overseas and on limited ATM withdrawals in foreign countries overseas.

Revolut customers can make free international money transfers. You can use the Revolut app to buy gold, buy cryptocurrency or trade stocks. There are a few features to assist with your personal budgeting too.

You can choose either a free account or a premium account that comes with overseas medical insurance (and other bonuses) for £6.99 a month.

The sign-up process is quick and easy. You only have to provide a picture of your photo ID and a selfie for verification. No need for a credit check, proof of address or any other documents.

There’s no overdraft available with Revolut.


Monzo is another online bank account that lets you spend money overseas at no extra cost.

The app has plenty of budgeting features to help you reach your savings goals.

Monzo has a premium account called “Monzo Plus” that offers cashback, account aggregation and a credit report service, among other rewards.

You can apply for an overdraft of up to £3,000 and personal loans of up to £15,000.


Monese is another mobile bank account that works similarly to Revolut and Monzo.

It doesn’t have as many complex features as those two apps, although it’s pretty easy to set up.

It includes generous limits for overseas spending and ATM withdrawals. There are a few budgeting features to help you reach your savings goals on the Monese app too.

Starling Bank

Starling Bank is another popular digital-only bank, with similar features to those listed above.

When you sign up to its current account, you’ll be granted one for Euros and one for pounds sterling. You won’t be charged for overseas purchases or ATM withdrawals (up to £300 a day).

You can apply for an overdraft or a personal loan using Starling too.

Atom Bank

Atom Bank doesn’t have any branches either. Even though it doesn’t offer a current account, it does offer savings accounts and mortgages, which tend to appear near the top of the best-rate tables.

Its fixed-rate savings accounts are available for three months, six months, one year, two years, three years or five years.

As with all the other options, these can all be managed via the Atom Bank mobile app.

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