Starling vs Monzo
Starling Bank and Monzo are competitor digital banks based in the UK. If you’re struggling to decide between the two, Latest Deals has put together this guide to help you, comparing Starling vs Monzo. In this guide, we match up all their key features and options, so you can see what each has to offer.
Though they offer a lot of similar services, there are some differences between the two competitors. Below, we’ve compared their app features, accounts, borrowing, saving, travelling, business accounts, sign up and security options, to help you find the digital bank that is best suited for your needs.
|Protected by FSCS||Yes, up to £85,000||Yes, up to £85,000|
|Application||Apply online in minutes||Apply online in minutes|
|TrustPilot rating||Excellent, 4.3 stars||Excellent, 4.5 stars|
|Overseas fees||No fees||No fees up to £200 cash withdrawal, then 3% charge|
|Types of account||Personal, joint, Euro, kids, teen and business||Personal, joint, 16 - 17, business|
|Current account balance interest rate||0.05%||0%|
|Overdraft rate||15%, 25%, or 35% EAR||19%, 29%, or 39% EAR|
|Customer service||24/7 in app support and contact number and email||24/7 in app support and contact number and email|
* With Starling Bank you can make six cash withdrawals per day in the UK or abroad, totalling £300.
|Personalised spending insights||Yes||Yes|
|Freeze card in app||Yes||Yes|
|Saving pots or spaces||Yes||Yes|
|Apple & Google Pay||Yes||Yes|
|Samsung & Garmin Pay||Yes||No|
|Third party offers||Marketplace||Energy switching, Monzo Plus and Monzo Premium offers, third party savings accounts|
Both Monzo and Starling Bank are app-based, so you can manage your money from your mobile phone, and with Starling Bank you can also do so from your desktop. As digital banks, they offer various features within their apps that you may not have access to with a traditional bank.
App features from both Monzo and Starling Bank include personalised spending insights, spending categories, saving pots and spaces and spending budgets, to help you understand and manage your money. Both banks also offer the option to round up your spending, meaning any spare change will go into the savings pot or space of your choice. If your card is lost or stolen, you can freeze or unfreeze your account from the mobile app with both banks.
You can also access offers from third parties through the Monzo and Starling Bank apps. Monzo has options for energy switching and saving, and you can get offers with a Monzo Plus or Premium account. With Starling Bank, their Marketplace feature has deals from third parties to help you save money. Examples include smart pension tools and mortgage and insurance providers.
Starling Bank also offers in-app cheque deposits, and the opportunity to use Samsung and Garmin Pay. Monzo does not have these options.
|Kids account||£2 per month||N/A|
If you’re looking for a free, personal current account, both Monzo and Starling Bank provide these. As well as their free option, Monzo also offers two paid-for account types, Monzo Plus and Monzo Premium.
Both digital banks also offer free joint accounts and teen accounts. Starling does offer a kids account called their Kite account. This is £2 per month and is built into your own personal account. You can then top up money into it for your child to spend, save and manage.
Starling also offers a free account for holding, sending and receiving euros. This is called their euro account and is useful for anyone with a connection to Europe, for example owning a property abroad or having friends and family there.
So, if you’re looking for a personal current account, Monzo and Starling both have free options available, and both offer additional account types that the other does not.
|Overdraft rate||15%, 25%, or 35% EAR||19%, 29%, or 39% EAR|
|Buy now pay later||No||Monzo Flex|
An overdraft acts as a financial safety net, and can help you keep your head above water on a short term basis. Both Starling Bank and Monzo offer overdrafts on their personal accounts, though their rates and limits vary.
- Monzo: With Monzo you can take out an arranged overdraft of £1,000, and if you go into it you’ll pay 19%, 29% or 39% EAR interest. The rate you pay and whether you’re eligible for an overdraft depends on your circumstances. You can use their overdraft calculator to get an idea of the interest rate you’d need to pay.
- Starling Bank: Starling Bank offers arranged overdrafts, with interest rates of 15%, 25% or 35% EAR (variable). If you’re eligible for an overdraft, your interest rate will depend on various factors, such as your credit history. You can use their overdraft calculator to get an idea of how much interest you’d pay.
Monzo also has various other money borrowing options. If you need to borrow money on a longer term basis, they offer personal loans. If you’re eligible, you could borrow between £7,000 and £15,000 at 7.5% APR, or less than £7,000 at 22.4% APR. Starling Bank is not currently offering personal loans.
If you’re interested in buy-now-pay-later schemes, Monzo offers Monzo Flex. This means you can pay for things in three instalments at 0% interest, or over six and twelve instalments at 19% APR variable interest. Starling Bank does not offer any pay later schemes.
|Saving pots & spaces||Spaces||Pots|
|Other savings options||Marketplace||Third party savings accounts|
Neither Monzo nor Starling Bank offer a savings account option, however both allow you to set aside money from your main account balance. For Monzo this money can be put into ‘pots’ and with Starling it’s put into ‘spaces’. Essentially these are digital piggy banks that you can dip into if you need to, but are a way to help you save.
Both banks also offer a round up feature. This means that if you spend money, it’s automatically rounded up and the spare change is put into the savings pot or space of your choosing.
As an added bonus, Starling Bank offers 0.05% AER interest on your current account balance and saving spaces, on amounts up to £85,000. With a Monzo account, you won’t earn any interest on your current account balance or your savings pots.
Both Monzo and Starling both offer third party savings options. Monzo offers various third party savings accounts, and Starling Bank has several third party ISA and other investment options in their Marketplace feature.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before committing to a third party service through Monzo or Starling Bank, you can compare any rates and options offered through Monzo and Starling with the third party’s own website.
|Cash withdrawals||No fees||No charge in European Economic Area countries, for others no charge up to £200, then 3% fee|
|Card payments||No fees||No fees|
|Exchange rate||MasterCard exchange rate||MasterCard exchange rate|
If you’re going abroad or you travel regularly, both Monzo and Starling Bank offer no-fees payments for spending overseas. You don’t need to let them know you’re travelling either, so you don’t need to worry about your card being blocked if you forget.
Both digital banks also use the MasterCard exchange rate, and you’ll get an instant notification when you make a payment of the cost in GBP and the local currency.
Starling and Monzo do differ when it comes to making cash withdrawals abroad. With Starling there is no charge for cash withdrawals overseas. With Monzo, there is no charge in European Economic Area countries, however in every other country there is a monthly limit of £200, and for any withdrawals made after that limit there will be a charge of 3%.
|Premium Cost||Add-ons from £2 per month||£5 per month (Pro)|
|Sole trader account||Free||N/A|
|Multi director access||Yes||Only with a Pro account|
|Integrated accounting options||Yes||Only with a Pro account|
|FSCS protected||Yes, up to £85,000||Yes, up to £85,000|
|Cash and cheque deposit||Yes and in-app cheque deposit||Yes, and postal cheque deposit (up to 3 weeks)|
Both Monzo and Starling Bank provide business bank account options. However, what they offer is quite different.
Monzo has two business banking options. First is Business Lite, their free model. This comes with features such as fee-free spending abroad, pots to separate money, instant spending notifications, digital receipts and more. They also offer their Business Pro account. This costs £5 per month, and comes with some useful additional features, including integrated accounting options, tax pots, simplified invoicing, and more.
Starling Bank offers a free business account with similar features to the Monzo Pro account, including integrated accounting options, receipt capture, access to multiple directors, no fees abroad, automated business spending categories and more. If you’re self-employed or have side hustle, Starling Bank also offers a sole trader business account. There are add-ons you can buy for your account, and these include a simplified bookkeeping tool for £7 per month, a euro account for £2 per month, and a dollar account for £5 per month.
The best option for you will depend on what your needs are. If you’re looking for a free business account, the Starling account offers lots of the features for free that you pay for with the Monzo Pro option.
|App sign up||Yes||Yes|
|Requirements||ID, personal details and selfie video||ID, personal details and selfie video|
One of the key benefits of a digital bank is that you can sign up quickly and easily from the comfort of your home.
With both Starling Bank and Monzo, you can join by downloading their apps and providing some personal details, a form of photo ID such as a passport or driving license, and recording a short video selfie confirming your intentions.
The signing up process for both is quick and simple, and both offer free personal, joint, teen and business accounts.
|FSCS protected||Up to £85,000||Up to £85,000|
|24/7 in-app support||Yes||Yes|
|Contact number||020 7930 4450||0800 802 1281|
Both Starling Bank and Monzo are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that they are obligated to protect their customers’ money and treat them fairly. If you feel you have not been treated fairly, you have the right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman.
Both banks are also covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) which protects your money up to £85,000.
If you’re concerned about someone setting up an account in your name, both Starling Bank and Monzo require photo ID, and a selfie video confirming you wish to set up the account, which is difficult to fake.
Monzo vs Starling
Overall, both Starling Bank and Monzo have a lot to offer, and the ‘best’ one is ultimately the one that most suits your needs. Both banks offer things that the other does not, so it comes down to what you prioritise.
If you’re looking for a kids account, you have a lot of cheques to pay in, or you are a frequent traveller and need free cash withdrawals abroad, Starling may be more suitable for you. As a bonus, you’ll also earn 0.05% interest on your current account balance with Starling Bank.
However, if you’re interested in personal loans, buy now, pay later services, and you’d like the option of a premium personal account, then it’s worth looking into Monzo.
Both banks are FSCS protected up to £85,000, are regulated by the FCA, and are rated Excellent on TrustPilot. The best bank, Monzo vs Starling, comes down to what you’re looking for in a digital bank.