The continuous technological evolution has brought several changes even between financial services and has opened the door for the digital banks.
This new service has revolutionized the bank-customer relationship, giving many more advantages to the latter, thanks to the disposal of many “access to financial services” limitations.
Among the many advantages, which have allowed digital banks to have success, the following stand out:
1Ease and speed in opening a current account, it takes just a few minutes and can be done comfortably from the sofa. The card is sent directly to your home after a few days at derisory costs.
2Control live of the budget and access to the list of individual expenses, also thanks to instant notifications, with the possibility of setting monthly budgets.
3Savings pots functionality, which allows to round up the spending each time (eg. if you spend £ 1.99, a cost of £ 2.00 appears in the account, effectively putting aside the penny in a “moneybox fund”).
4Easy and fast account closing: you can do it comfortably from home and, usually, for free.
Therefore, it is the ideal service for those who move abroad, as it clearly simplifies the process necessary for obtaining a current account abroad, necessary to pay rent, receive salary and much more.
In UK, especially in London, the “traditional banks” are countless (Barclays, Lloyds, Santander, Natwest, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and many others) and offer very similar services. However, to open an account with them it is necessary to show up in the physical location, wait in the queue, do all the document processing and hope to have all the requirements to open a bank account with them.
Often, to obtain the required documents, it is necessary to wait for days, weeks if not months and, as we know, time is money and not everyone can afford to wait that long. In cities like London, where staying even for a single day can cost more than £ 100, having a current account where you can get your salary right away can make the difference!
Digital banks are, therefore, the best solution, thanks to the extreme ease of use and the speed with which it is possible to obtain them. All of this has convinced several people, especially those who move to the UK to study or work and have an imminent need for a current account to pay rent and receive salaries.
In the UK, the infinite war between digital banks includes: REVOLUT, MONZO and STARLING.
Many users, however, wonder what is the “best” among them and, with the help of the trustworthy friend Facebook, they ask daily advice to the “finance and benchmarks experts” that use social networks.
While social media are fantastic for maintaining friendly relationships at a distance, it is better to give up such advice and rely more on in-depth studies. Here are some answers tied to the technical specifications, comparing the 3 companies, dividing the comparison into 4 phases:
- CURRENT ACCOUNT
Foreign ATM withdrawals
|ATM withdrawals limit||£200 / month. Anything more is charged at 2% of value of withdrawal.||£200 / month.|
3% charge for foreign withdrawals above £200.
£300 / day. Maximum of 6 withdrawals per day.
Foreign transactions fee
|Delivery speed||Up to 9 working days||Between 2-7 working days|
Between 3-5 working days
|0||1% in Savings Pots||0.5%AER to £2.000|
0.25% to £85.000
|Saving goals||Set budgets in the app||Pots let you put money aside, protected from your daily spending|
Create up to 10 different spending goals, protecting money from daily spending
3. CURRENT ACCOUNT
|UK ATMs||Free up to £200 / month||Free|
|Easy UK payments and can transfer money between 23 countries||Pay via bank transfer or send instantly to other Monzo account||Pay via bank transfer. Can’t pay into paypal currently.|
|Freeze your card||Yes via app||Yes via app|
Yes via app
|Pay Metro tickets||Yes||Yes|
|Instant payment notifications||Yes||No|
I spent half salary in “coffee and pools”
|Divide the expenses into categories and stores||Yes, you spent £ 700 in cappuccino at Starbucks||Yes, you spent £ 800 on shirts from Primark|
Are you forgetful and have you temporarily lost your card?
|You have the total control from your app||You better block it|
You have the total control from your app
Revolut vs Monzo vs Starling: the verdict
As we have seen, there are not very big differences between these 3 challengers. Each of them allows you to check daily / weekly / monthly and to identify any excess costs. In case of loss, freezing them is easy and fast, just access the app … and press a button. It’s super quick and easy to pay friends with any of these banking apps, too.
Among the functionality there are certainly some differences… For example, if you are literally eating your salary at Starbucks or at Pret A Manger, Revolut and Monzo will warn you, giving you the chance to preserve at least your next salary and gain in fitness.
In terms of sending money abroad, Revolut is probably the cheapest option, charging no cost. Monzo and Starling both offer the MasterCard rate, and Starling charges a commission of around £ 5.
For those wishing to earn something, Monzo and Starling offer both interests with their current account. The first offers 1%, but you must have at least £ 1,000 in one of its easy access “pots”, while the second gives 0.5% on any amount up to £ 2,000 (0.25% up to £ 85,000). Revolut does not offer any rates.
Another fundamental difference is that Monzo and Starling customers allow free and unlimited ATM withdrawals in the UK. With Revolut you can only withdraw £ 200 a month for free.
As for the connection with the other apps, Revolut is the most integrated and allows instant top-ups, being considered as a “prepaid debit card”, ideal for anyone who loves to travel.