Monito.com
Menu

Monzo vs Starling Bank

Curious how Monito creates these scores?
Monzo vs Starling Bank

Monzo vs Starling Bank: Which is Better for No Fees, Multi-Currency Accounts & Interest on Savings?

Aug 12, 2022
Affiliate disclosure

Monzo and Starling Bank are two excellent neobanks in the UK that Monito highly recommends (although Monzo is now available in the United States too). Whether you want fee-free banking, cheap international transfers, great debit cards, or innovative mobile budgeting apps, you can’t go wrong with either choice.

Monzo is a neobank that runs a well-featured current account and debit card, but is most highly acclaimed for its powerful mobile budgeting app. Starling Bank is the UKs first digital bank, known for its low fee schedule, debit cards for international spending, and sleek mobile and desktop platform.

In this side-by-side comparison of Monzo and Starling Bank, we walk through which may be better in terms of safety, fees, exchange rates, quality of products, and much more.

If you are a citizen or resident of the UK, then you’ll soon be able to confidently choose the right bank for you. And if you’re an American citizen or resident, then you’ll explore more about how Monzo can serve you for your digital banking needs.

Watch Monito's Review Video About Monzo vs Starling Bank:

Monzo
8.3
Starling Bank
9.3

Trust & Credibility

Background check

Background check
Background check

Licensed as a bank by the PRA and FCA in the UK, and deposits are FDIC protected.

Licensed as a bank by the PRA and FCA in the UK, and deposits are FSCS protected.

Security & reliability

Security & reliability
Security & reliability

Accounts are fully secured using segregated user accounts and HTTPS and cards are 3-D Secure.

Accounts are fully secured using segregated user accounts and HTTPS and cards are 3-D Secure.

Company size

Company size
Company size

Over 5.5 million customers and nearly $150 million in annual revenue.

Over 2 million customers and nearly $135 million in annual revenue.

Transparent pricing

Transparent pricing
Transparent pricing

A full overview of pricing is relatively accessible and provides every fee as per the regulator-standard fee schedule.

A full overview of pricing is easily accessible and provides all fees as per the regulator-standard fee schedule.

Monzo vs Starling Bank: Which can I trust?

Monzo and Starling Bank are both legally licensed banks with full UK banking lisenses. Subject to high levels of compliance, both firms are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

As lisensed banks, they also offer deposit protection. In the unlikely case of their bankruptcy, up to £85,000 of your money will be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

Starling Bank scored slightly higher on our credibility metrics mostly because their fee schedule was more directly accessible on their website than Monzo’s. Starling Bank is also profitable, while Monzo has still been reporting losses on its balance sheets. On the other hand, Monzo is a larger company with more than double the number of customers of Starling Bank. 

In the end, millions of clients trust their money with these two banks every, and you can too. When it comes to trust and security, Monito recommends both Monzo and Starling Bank as legit, legal, and duly-regulated banks.

Global Availability

Both Monzo and Starling Bank have a banking license from the UK’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), which gives UK citizens and residents full access to their quality bank accounts and services. 

In addition, Monzo announced in February of 2022 its full public launch of sign ups in the United States. Now American citizens and residents can bank, send money cheaply, and save money with Monzo and its app. In partnership with FDIC-insured Sutton Bank, you will be able to trust your money with Monzo across the pond. 

Starling Bank, on the other hand, focuses its services only in the UK, opting not to offer its accounts to EU, US, or other international residents. 

Monzo

Starling Bank

🖊 Licensing

Bank (FCA, PRA)

Bank (FCA)

📃 FSCS-Insured

💰 Profitable

📈 Publicly Listed

Try MonzoTry Starling Bank

Last updated: 06/04/2022

Monzo
8.4
Starling Bank
7.8

Service & Quality

Using the mobile app

Using the mobile app
Using the mobile app

Well-rated and slick user interface with many interesting features, including instant spending notifications and easy budgeting.

Well-rated and slick user interface with many interesting features, including 'saving spaces', pension schemes, and digital receipts.

Managing the account

Managing the account
Managing the account

Overdraft, interest, and multiple top-up methods are supported, but only one currency is available (GBP).

Overdraft, interest, and joint accounts are supported, but limited in terms of multi-currency use and number of top-up methods.

Contacting support

Contacting support
Contacting support

FAQ and live chat are available on the standard plan, but phone support isn't available to all users.

FAQ and live chat are available on the current account, but phone support is only available in emergencies.

Making card payments

Making card payments
Making card payments

Contactless, online payments, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and social payments are all supported.

Contactless, online payments, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and social payments are all supported.

Monzo vs Starling Bank: Which Has the Better Account & Card?

Monito Monzo or Starling Bank comparison on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPX0Rk9eVfs

Both Monzo and Starling Bank are at the top of their game when it comes to providing easy and fee-free digital banking in the UK. As lisensed banks in the UK, both offer overdraft, interest of savings, joint account functionality, and debit cards. 

They do differ in a few areas though. Through our tests with both products, we found the Monzo mobile app to be more user friendly than that of Starling Bank; Monzo’s savings pots feature is especially impressive. Starling Bank, on the other hand, offers multi-currency account options (in EUR and USD) that you can access from the same debit card. Monzo does not currently have a multi-currency function.

Monzo Card vs Starling Card

The debit cards offered by Monzo and Starling Bank are extremely similar. Both offer virtual and physical debit MasterCards, which will be accepted wherever MasterCard is accepted. They have contactless functionality, plus you can connect them to Apple Pay and Google Pay. You can freeze and unfreeze your debit cards straight from their mobile apps if they go missing.

The Account Experience

Both run on superb platforms that make banking simple and organized. You can turn on notifications that track your budgets, save money with their savings features, and analyze your spending habits with their statistics.

With both, you can set up direct debits and joint accounts with your partner. Starling Bank even offers their ‘Kite Card’ for your children too. You can easily manage it in the app and help them build their financial literacy at a young age. Both apps can send you instant notifications whenever you spend your money, so you can always keep track of your customizable budgets.

Both offer savings pots features and a ‘Round Up’ feature, which rounds up each purchase you make to the nearest pound and deposits the difference into your savings. Monzo has the edge here because it partnered with other British banks to get you interest on your money. You will get access to a unique marketplace to choose the best interest rate, although withdrawal and deposit limits may apply. You can earn up to 1.16% AER on your savings pots balances of up to £2,000. Starling Bank’s app does not partner with other banks, and they only apply a 0.05% AER on balances up to £85,000. 

Which Has a Multi Currency Account?

Monzo provides balances in GBP only, while Starling Bank allows you to open balances in US dollars and in euros. All personal account customers can open a euro account for free by using Starling Bank’s app. Starling business account holders will have to pay £2 a month for the Euro account and £5 per month for the Dollar account.

Starling Bank’s multi-currency function allows you to send and receive euros for free from your friends and family in the Eurozone. If you make a trip over to the Eurozone, you will be able to access your euro balance straight from your same Starling debit card. Eurozone merchants will recognize your euro balance immediately with your card, and will charge your euro balance before dipping into your sterling balance. It is important to note that, due to negative interest rates across Europe, a -0.5% interest will be charged on Starling Bank euro balances.

Although Monzo is limited to British Pounds, the company will not charge you a foreign transaction fee when you travel abroad. The exchange rate set by MasterCard will be passed directly onto you when you spend on your holidays, which nearly matches the real mid-market exchange rate.

Topping up Your Account

Monzo and Starling Bank are very similar in this regard. You can top up your account by direct deposit, bank transfer, or cash deposit at partnering locations across the UK; cheque deposits can be done digitally by taking a photo of your cheque with the mobile app.

Monzo will charge £1 per cash deposit unless you upgrade to their Plus or Premium plans. Starling Bank will deposit £1,000 for free per year. After that, Starling Bank will charge a 0.7% fee per cash deposit. 

Monzo

Starling Bank

💳 Contactless

🔒 3D Secure

🍎 Apple Pay

💻Google Pay

🌐 Virtual Card

🧾Account Details

GBP

GBP, EUR¹, USD¹

⬆ Top-Up Methods

Bank transfer, cash, cheque

Bank transfer, cash, cheque

💱 Currencies

GBP

📤Direct Debits

🪙 Interest

Up to 1.16%

0.05% AER on balances up to £85,000

💸 Overdraft

👥 Joint Account

📱 Platform(s)

Mobile app

Mobile app, website

Try MonzoTry Starling Bank

¹ Euro accounts are available to both personal and business account holders. US dollar accounts are available to business account holders.
Last updated: 06/04/2022

Monzo
9.8
Starling Bank
10

Fees & Exchange Rates

Everyday use

Everyday use
Everyday use

Zero everyday costs such as monthly fees, transfer fees, and local ATM withdrawal fees.

No everyday costs such as monthly fees, transfer fees, and local ATM withdrawal fees.

ATM withdrawals

ATM withdrawals
ATM withdrawals

Withdrawals are free but are only available up to a daily limit of £400 and a monthly limit of £5,500.

Withdrawals are free at home and abroad, incurring only a Mastercard exchange rate margin for foreign currency withdrawals.

Online spending

Online spending
Online spending

Ordinary online spending comes at no cost, neither in the default currency nor in a foreign currency.

Online spending comes at no cost, neither in British pounds nor in a foreign currency.

International spending

International spending
International spending

No fees for spending abroad, although Mastercard's exchange rate can apply to foreign currency transactions.

No fees for spending abroad, although Mastercard's exchange rate applies to foreign currency transactions.

Monzo vs Starling Bank: How Are Their Fees and Exchange Rates?

Monito Monzo or Starling Bank debit Mastercard

Both Monzo and Starling Bank allow you to open an account online for free, and never charge monthly maintenance fees. These perks alone make both options a good reason to transition from your high-street bank to a digital bank. This section was close but Starling Bank won out thanks to its unlimited fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals. If you want cheaper international money transfers, then Monzo may be your best bet.. 

International ATM Withdrawals

Starling Bank wins in this area because your debit card will give you access to free ATM withdrawals within the UK and abroad. They do not set a monthly withdrawal limit either, giving you unlimited access to cash at home and abroad. You might only pay fixed service fees charged by the ATM machine (which Starling Bank can’t control). 

Compared to high-street banks, Monzo is still a great alternative. While abroad, Monzo gives you a free limit of £200 every 30 days but charges you 3.00% of the amount withdrawn after that. Domestic UK withdrawals incur that same 3.00% fee if you exceed a £250 limit in a 30 day period. 

Getting a Debit Card

Both Monzo and Starling Bank send you your first debit card for free. In both cases, delivery should take up to 5 business days. 

Starling Bank’s virtual card is included with your sign up and is accessible from the mobile app. To get Monzo’s virtual card, you will need to upgrade to their £5 per month Monzo Plus plan.

Overdraft Fees

Starling Bank charges no penalty fee for an account overdraft. Instead, it charges interest payments at 15% EAR. You are allowed to overdraft up to £5,000. 

Monzo is a bit more strict. You will be charged 50p per day when you take out an overdraft. You are also not allowed to overdraft more than £15.50 per month. 

International Money Transfers

Monzo has partnered with Wise to provide transparent and low cost international money transfers, which you can access right from their app. This means the real mid-market exchange rate will be applied to your transfer — never pocketing sneaky exchange rate margins. Instead, the fixed fee you’ll pay will be between 0.35% to 2.85% of the amount you’re transferring, depending on the currency. The fee applied to the most popular currencies is typically toward the lower end of this range. 

Starling Bank’s international money transfer system is superior to the UK's high-street transfer network, but does not quite measure up to Monzo. They will make your transfer using the real mid-market exchange rate, which saves you substantially. They do charge a low 0.4%  fixed fee. However, they tack on an additional commission fee of 30p per transfer, or £5.50 if you make a SWIFT transfer (which is optional for most currencies).

As stated earlier, Starling Bank will open a euro account for free to any personal account holder. This multi-currency account comes with the added bonus of unlimited free inward and outward transfers to banks in the Eurozone. If you have family in the EU, as opposed to the US or the Commonwealth, then you can really leverage this powerful Starling Bank product. 

Foreign Exchange Rates: Using Your Debit Card Overseas

Neither Monzo nor Starling Bank charge foreign transaction fees when you use your card abroad. Mastercard’s exchange rate, which is near the real mid-market exchange rate, will be applied directly. 

Monzo

Starling Bank

💷 Maintenance

£0

£0

🏧 Foreign Withdrawals

3%¹

0%

💳 Foreign Payments

0%

0%

💸 Int'l Transfers

0.35%-2.85%²

0.4% + fixed fee (£0.30 or £5.50)

🚚 Card Delivery

£0

£0

📆 Delivery Speed

Up to 5 business days

Up to 5 business days

Try MonzoTry Starling Bank

¹ This rate applies after the monthly limit of £200 free withdrawals
² Monzo partners with Wise to provide these rates.
Last updated: 06/04/2022

warning icon

Pay in the Local Currency

Even with your powerful Monzo or Starling Bank cards, you can be charged hidden fees while abroad. When at a European ATM or merchant, for example, the payment machine will often ask you to pay in either EUR or GBP.

Always choose EUR, which is the local currency of the Eurozone (USD in the US, JPY in Japan, and so on). Read our ATM guide to learn more about how to avoid dynamic currency conversions. 

Monzo
9.3
Starling Bank
9.3

Customer Satisfaction

Customer review score

Customer review score
Customer review score

Average Trustpilot rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Average Trustpilot rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.

Number of positive reviews

Number of positive reviews
Number of positive reviews

Over 15,000 four- and five-star reviews.

Over 20,000 four- and five-star reviews.

Monzo vs Starling Bank: What Are Customers Saying?

Monzo and Starling Bank are both excellently rated on Trustpilot and app stores by thousands of customers. This category comes at a draw because both are large, popular, and highly-rated digital banking services.

Monzo, with a Trustpilot score of 4.5, narrowly beat Starling Bank’s 4.3 score. Both have over 15,000 four and five-star ratings on the review site too. Both provide email and over the phone support in the U.K. Both apps have a live chat function too. These are a few of many reasons why they have earned top awards by the British Bank Awards.

In the end, we think it's safe to say that you will be satisfied with either choice.

Monzo

Starling Bank

🌍 Availability

UK, US

UK

💬 Languages

English

English

👥 Customers

5.5 million

2.7 million

🔒 Trustpilot

4.5/5 (20K reviews)

4.3/5 (27K reviews)

📞 Support

Email, call centre, in-app live chat

Email, call centre, in-app live chat

🗨 Support Languages

English

English

Try MonzoTry Starling Bank

Last updated: 06/04/2022

Monzo vs Starling Bank: The Verdict

Monito Side by Side comparison of Monzo and Starling Bank

Monzo and Starling Bank are not only at the top of the industry in the United Kingdom, but they serve as leading models for digital banks around the world. Americans are now lucky enough to gain access to these UK innovations, as Monzo publicly launched in the US in 2022. While you have nothing to lose by signing up for both, your ultimate choice will depend on your needs and preferences. 

Monzo’s savings pot feature is beloved by its clients. By automatically setting money aside at savings interest rates of 1.1% and higher, Monzo’s digital platform actively helps your money work for you. As a partner with the international transfer service Wise, Monzo applies some of the industry’s best rates on your remittances and money transfers. 

Starling Bank’s free euro account is unprecedented when compared to high-street bank services. For those who frequent the Eurozone, you can seamlessly access your multi-currency balances from the same Starling Bank card. With no foreign transaction fees and fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals, Starling Bank doubles as an excellent travel card. 

To take a deeper dive into both companies, read through our in-depth Monzo review and Starling Bank review. Also compare these companies with other leading digital banks in the UK.

Whichever you choose, you can rest assured that your transition from high-street banking to a digital bank will save you money, time, and stress.

See Other Comparisons of Top-Rated Digital Banks

Best UK Challenger Banks
September 5, 2022 - by Byron Mühlberg
6 Best Online Business Bank Accounts for UK Small Business
August 11, 2022 - by Jarrod Suda
Best Free Bank Accounts UK
September 6, 2022 - by Byron Mühlberg
Starling Bank Review
February 8, 2022 - by Rachel Wait
Monese vs Monzo
August 12, 2022 - by François Briod
Wise vs Monzo
July 29, 2022 - by François Briod
Using ATMs Abroad: Exchange Rates, Fees & Best Debit Cards
August 25, 2022 - by Jarrod Suda

References Used In This Guide

1. Monzo Moves to Public Launch. Monzo.com. 1 February 2022.
2. Rates, Fees, and Charges. Starlingbank.com. Accessed 6 April 2022.
3. Send Money Abroad. Starlingbank.com. Accessed 6 April 2022.
4. Savings Features. Monzo.com. Accessed 6 April 2022.

Why Trust Monito?

You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.

Learn More About Monito
  • Monito is trusted by 15+ million users across the globe.

  • Monito's experts spend hours researching and testing services so that you don't have to.

  • Our recommendations are always unbiased and independent.

Monito.com

Global Impact Finance Ltd
Avenue de Montchoisi 35
1006 Lausanne
Switzerland

Affiliate Disclosure
Instead of banner ads and paywalls, Monito makes money through affiliate links to the various payment service providers featured on our website. While we work hard to scout the market for the best deals, we're unable to consider every possible product available to you. Our extensive range of trusted affiliate partners enables us to make detailed, unbiased, and solution-driven recommendations for all types of consumer questions and problems. This allows us to match our users with the right providers to suit their needs and, in doing so, match our providers with new customers, creating a win-win for everybody involved. However, while some links on Monito may indeed earn us a commission, this fact never impacts the independence and integrity of our opinions, recommendations, and evaluations.