Monzo vs Starling

Looking for a new online banking option that’s easy to use and has great features, but struggling to narrow down what’s right for you? Check out our quick review of Monzo vs Starling to see which is best for you…

People’s banking needs have shifted over time, with most people favouring an online option that is fully developed and offers the same functions as a brick-and-mortar store. This has only progressed as life becomes even more fast-paced, and quick access to your banking and finances is essential to being able to keep up with our day-to-day needs. As a result, online-only banking options have come to the surface as top choices for people who want great banking at the touch of a button. 

 

With plenty of features to take advantage of, a variety of apps to choose from and our needs constantly changing and developing, Monzo and Starling have risen to the top. But, it can be a bit overwhelming when trying to decide between Monzo vs Starling, as both have so many selling points and features. As more features have been introduced from two of the biggest online-only banking options, we have reviewed them for you.

In a quick summary, we’ve broken down what each bank offers, how they compare, how accessible they are and what they’re best for depending on your needs. Save yourself the time and effort of reading through exhaustive reviews and get a surface-level understanding to guide your decision.

 

To begin, despite their smaller size and lack of physical banks, Monzo and Starling are both safe and regulated banks that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will protect any money that you put in their account up to £85,000. 

 

Monzo 

Monzo is a challenger bank with an app-only approach and has been in operation since 2015. It’s designed to make accessing your money easy, and also offers current accounts, payment cards with contactless and Chip & PIN, along with some savings accounts.

Over the years, it has provided more and more options including:

  • Joint account options
  • Monzo Business accounts
  • Apple pay and Google Pay support
  • Bill payments via savings pot
  • Free cash withdrawals in the UK and some countries abroad 
  • Current account customers can get premiums accounts
  • Premium accounts offer extras such as a credit score tracker travel and mobile phone insurance

Still undecided? Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of having an account with Monzo…

 

Pros

Monzo is an app-based bank, so you can always have access to it as long as you have a smartphone or tablet to hand. The app is also easy to install and use, with high ratings of 4.9 stars on the App Store. 

The app will also provide instant notifications, whether it’s a recent payment, a new trend the app has spotted in your spending or unexpected use of your card. 

Security is strong with Monzo too, with payments being protected by either Touch ID, Face ID, fingerprint, or a PIN. The lack of passwords means you skip the potential weaknesses of bad passwords and phishing scams, opting for links sent to your email instead. 

If you still manage to accidentally endanger your card, you can block and unblock it whenever you want, and Monzo has been found to be up to four times better at preventative measures against card fraud, and three times better at halting identity theft. 

Some other pros you should consider:

  • Saving, managing and sectioning tools for your income
  • Interest options to help grow your savings
  • Allows joint accounts to help you share expenses 

 

Cons

It’s not perfect with Monzo though, with some elements being less than desirable in comparison to its competitors. 

If you’re thinking about setting up a Monzo account, consider their low saving rates, the lack of a desktop app and a monthly limit on how much you can withdraw for free when you’re using your card abroad. 

Monzo also only offers interest on its premium accounts, whereas Starling offers interest on all money you have banked with them.

Starling 

Starling Bank was established the year before Monzo, in 2014. As a UK challenger bank, they have an app and website to allow users to access their features, however, they are also heavily focused on their services being accessibly through the app.  Starling Bank also provides instant transactions across app use and day-to-day use, and also focuses on making it easier to use your card abroad. 

Since 2014, they have added a variety of features and accounts for users to choose from, including:

  • Adult account and children’s accounts (linked to the current account, ages 6+)
  • Starling business account (sole trader account and limited company account)
  • Business loans
  • Apple/Google Pay compatibility
  • Accounts for teenagers
  • Free ATM withdrawals in the UK and abroad 
  • Deposit cash with the Post Office
  • No monthly fee for a UK current account or business account.Personal Starling Account including joint account

Do you want to know more? We’ve broken down some of the most important pros and cons of Starling to help you make your decision…

Pros

Starling has many similar pros to Monzo, so we found some of the standout ones so you can make a true comparison. Starling offers the opportunity for users to pay into their accounts in person, allowing you to pay in cash at a Post Office for a small fee. Starling also allows you to save money on each transaction by rounding up to the nearest pound up to ten times over. 

Those who travel the most are likely to make the most out of Starling’s benefits, thanks to the lack of fees when using your card abroad or to withdraw cash when using ATM machines overseas. Monzo offers their own travel benefits, but they charge users once they withdraw over £200 each month overseas. Here are some other pros to consider before you make your decision:

  • Voted Best Current Account Provider by the BBA
  • No monthly fees
  • No ATM fees at home or abroad
  • Overdraft and loan options
  • Mobile cheque deposits
  • Personal, Joint, Kids, Teen, Euro, and Business Accounts

Cons

Similarly to Monzo, Starling has high-ranking reviews on the Apple Store for its app, with 4.9 stars, however, on Google Play it is slacking, with an average of 4.6 stars.

You will also need to pay to upgrade your account if you want to create and send invoices. Starling also has quite a limited marketplace, so if you’re looking for great rates across a number of businesses, you might have better look elsewhere. Other cons that we found important to mention, include: 

  • you need to pay to upgrade your account to create and send invoices
  • only company directors can access the account and get a debit card
  • you can’t transfer money to every country

Monzo vs Starling: Which one is right for you?

It’s clear that Monzo is a great app if you’re just starting out with managing your finances. With an intuitive app and useful statistics and trends to help you manage your cash flow, you’ll easily be able to get to grips with budgeting and allocating cash for savings with Monzo.

Starling has similar features but a more practical and functional approach, making it fantastic for those who are further along in their financial journey and need more in-depth features without a premium cost. 

Overall, both banks have their pros and cons that make them more suitable for different needs. However, they both serve a great function of easily accessible banking with plenty of features that are designed to keep up with our busy day-to-day lives.

Give them a try and see what you think, and let us know how you found them on our Instagram, Twitter and TikTok!

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