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Starling Bank vs Revolut

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Starling Bank vs Revolut

Starling Bank vs Revolut: Compare Fees, Cards, and Exchange Rates in 2022

Sep 9, 2022
Affiliate disclosure

Starling Bank and Revolut are two digital challenger banks founded in the United Kingdom that Monito highly recommends to any resident or citizen of the UK. Both can serve as excellent alternatives to high-street banking, especially since they offer plans with no monthly fees, powerful debit cards, cheap international transfers, and much more.

They do differ in one main area, however. Starling Bank is a real bank, licenced by the PRA, while Revolut is regulated by the FCA as an ‘Electronic Money Institution’. While both companies are still fully credible and trustworthy, this does mean that their range of services will differ in some key areas.

In this side-by-side comparison of Starling Bank and Revolut, we walk through these differences as well as which may be safer and cheaper. We explore their fees and exchange rates, the quality of their products, and much more. This review will help UK residents and citizens choosing between Starling Bank or Revolut to confidently find the best fit.

Starling Bank
9.3
Revolut
8.9

Trust & Credibility

Background check

Background check
Background check

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

Regulated by the FCA in the UK and licensed as a bank by the Bank of Lithuania in the EU.

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

Over 16 million personal customers and 2,000 employees, making Revolut is one of the largest fintech companies on the globe.

Transparent pricing

Transparent pricing
Transparent pricing

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

A full overview of pricing is very accessible, although it doesn't provide every fee as per the regulator-standard fee schedule.

Starling Bank vs Revolut: Which can I trust?

Starling Bank and Revolut are both legally licenced companies in the UK regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They are subject to high levels of compliance, which protect your deposits in the rare case of bankruptcy. In the area of trust, we consider this one a tie.

With Starling Bank, up to £85,000 of your money will be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). With Revolut, your deposits will not be protected by the FSCS because your money is technically in an electronic money account (not a bank account). Regardless, Revolut is required by law to segregate your account from their accounts, and they safeguard your deposits in the case of insolvency. 

Starling Bank scored slightly higher on our credibility metrics mostly because their fee schedule was more comprehensive than Revolut’s. Revolut’s fee schedule is easily accessible but it does not detail every fee that it charges, such as its international money transfer fees and foreign card transaction fees.

Ultimately, millions of clients trust their money with these two platforms, and so can you. When it comes to trust and security, Monito recommends both Starling Bank and Revolut as legit, legal, and duly-regulated financial services.

Global Availability

Starling Bank has a full banking license from the UK’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), which allows the company to offer fully-functional bank accounts to UK citizens and residents. However, this also limits its offerings to only UK citizens and residents.

Revolut, on the other hand, partners with licenced banks around the world to provide the electronic money platform to residents of various countries around the world. In addition to the UK, Revolut is available to residents in Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, the United States, and the European Economic Area (EEA).

Starling Bank

Revolut

🖊 Licensing

Bank (FCA)

E-Money Institution (FCA)

📃 FSCS-Insured

💰 Profitable

📈 Publicly Listed

Try Starling BankTry Revolut

Last updated: 14 April 2022

Starling Bank
7.8
Revolut
7.9

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 'saving spaces', pension schemes, and digital receipts.

One of the best-designed and best-rated on the market with many interesting features, including recurring payments.

Managing the account

Managing the account
Managing the account

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

Many top-up methods and currencies are available, but overdraft and interest on the standard account are not.

Contacting support

Contacting support
Contacting support

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

FAQ and live chat are readily available to users of all plans but phone support is lacking.

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.

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

Starling Bank and Revolut are among the best in their industry when it comes to offering low-fee international bank services and debit cards. Their high-quality products have led the experts at Monito to consider this one a tie. 

While we like what each company has to offer, they do differ quite a bit. We will get into the details below, but what is important to note is that Revolut’s multi-currency account is far more global but is quicker to charge ATM fees, foreign transaction fees, and international transfer fees. Starling Bank, on the other hand, has a more limited multi-currency function but offers one of the most impressive zero-fee schedules we’ve seen. 

Starling Card vs Revolut Card

The debit cards offered by Starling Bank and Revolut are extremely similar. Both offer virtual and physical debit and will be accepted wherever MasterCard is accepted. They are contactless and you can connect them to Apple Pay or Google Pay. Their mobile apps allow you to instantly freeze and unfreeze your debit cards if you misplace them.

The Account Experience

Both mobile apps are well known for their excellent user experience and their sleek and easy to use design. The debit cards are connected to the app so that you can set budgets, track your monthly spending, and even earn interest on savings. 

Starling Bank allows you to set up a joint account with your partner. They also offer ‘Kite Cards’ for your children too, which you can easily manage in the app and help them build their financial literacy at a young age. Revolut does not allow partners to set up joint accounts. However, you can set up a Junior account for your child, and manage their unique debit card from your app.

While Revolut ‘Vaults’ and Starling Bank ‘Saving Spaces’ both allow you to make passive money from your deposits, Revolut’s savings rates are better. Revolut’s free plan applies 0.15% AER on your savings and up to 0.7% AER if you purchase their Metal Plan. Starling Bank only applies a 0.05% AER on balances up to £85,000.

Cryptocurrency and Investment Trading 

Revolut is the only mobile app here to support the trading of cryptocurrency. As a customer, you must acknowledge the inherent risks in this kind of trading. Your crypto balances will not be protected by the FSCS. Revolut’s platform for UK users also allows you to purchase stock in over 800 global companies, such as Tesla, Apple, or Amazon. 

Starling Bank does not offer these platforms in its app. However, Starling Bank does connect you to a personal finance marketplace. You can choose from a wide range of third-party services to engage in investing as well as in purchasing insurance, mortgages, and pension programs.

Which Has a Multi Currency Account?

Multi-currency accounts are incredibly convenient for international travel. If you have holdings of the local currency of your travel destination, then you can spend like a local without suffering from international card transaction fees. 

Starling Bank customers can open euro or US dollar accounts, and access those deposits from the same Starling debit card. Personal account customers can open a euro account for free by using Starling Bank’s app. US dollar accounts are not available to personal accounts. Starling business account holders have to pay £2 a month for the Euro account. While business account holders can open US dollar accounts, they do cost £5 per month. 

With Revolut, you can open British pound, US dollar, and euro accounts for free. Additionally, the Revolut account allows you to hold the following currencies:

AED, AUD, BGN, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, HKD, HRK, HUF, ILS, ISK, JPY, MAD, MXN, NOK, NZD, PLN, QAR, RON, RSD, SAR, SEK, SGD, THB, TRY, ZAR.

Topping up Your Account

Starling Bank supports more top-up methods than Revolut. You can top up your account by direct deposit and by bank transfer. At partnering locations across the UK, you can make cash deposits; cheque deposits can also be done digitally by taking a photo of your cheque with the mobile app.

Starling Bank will deposit £1,000 in cash for free per year. After that, Starling Bank will charge a 0.7% fee per cash deposit. 

While you cannot top-up your Revolut account by cash or cheque, you can do so by bank transfer and by debit or credit card. This is an advantage, as Starling Bank does not support top-ups by card.

Starling Bank

Revolut

💳 Contactless

🔒 3D Secure

🍎 Apple Pay

💻Google Pay

🌐 Virtual Card

✔²

🧾Account Details

GBP, EUR¹, USD¹

GBP³

⬆ Top-Up Methods

Bank transfer, cash, cheque

Bank transfer, debit/credit card

💱 Currencies

GBP and 31 others

📤Direct Debits

🪙 Interest

0.05% AER on balances up to £85,000

💸 Overdraft

👥 Joint Account

📱 Platform(s)

Mobile app, website

Mobile app, website

Try Starling BankTry Revolut

¹ Euro accounts are available to both personal and business account holders. US dollar accounts are available to business account holders.
² One free virtual card, £4.99 per replacement.
³ If opened in the UK, otherwise in another currency.

Starling Bank
10
Revolut
8.3

Fees & Exchange Rates

Everyday use

Everyday use
Everyday use

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

No everyday costs such as monthly fees and transfer fees, although exceeding the free ATM withdrawal limit will cost.

ATM withdrawals

ATM withdrawals
ATM withdrawals

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

Withdrawals over £200 (or equivalent) per month come at the cost of 2%.

Online spending

Online spending
Online spending

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

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

International spending

International spending
International spending

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

Low fees for overseas spending, although minor conversion fees and weekend surcharges can apply.

Starling Bank vs Revolut: How are Their Fees and Exchange Rates?

Starling Bank and Revolut accounts are both free to open and they never charge monthly maintenance fees. Starling Bank easily won this section though, due to its fee-free international card transactions, foreign and domestic ATM withdrawals, and card delivery. Their international money transfer fees are both much lower than your standard high-street bank but Revolut will waive them entirely if you subscribe to their paid plans. 

International ATM Withdrawals

Starling Bank wins here because their debit card will give you free ATM withdrawals within the UK and abroad. With no monthly withdrawal limit, you have unlimited access to cash at home and while travelling. In fact, Starling Bank is one of Monito’s most highly recommended travel cards of all. You may pay fixed service fees charged by the ATM machine (which Starling Bank can’t control). 

Revolut is still a worthy option, especially as an alternative to high-street banks. You get a monthly withdrawal allowance of £200 per month. After that, you will be charged a 2% fee of the amount withdrawn. This applies to both domestic UK withdrawals and international ones.

Getting a Debit Card

Starling Bank and Revolut will provide you with physical and virtual debit cards. Starling Bank’s card is free and should arrive at your door within 5 business days. Revolut, on the other hand, charges a £4.99 delivery fee and sends your debit card to you within 9 business days.

Whether you choose Starling Bank or Revolut, virtual cards are free to access from the mobile app.

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. 

Revolut does not offer overdraft or credit.

Exchange Rates for International Money Transfers

Starling Bank and Revolut’s international money transfer systems are superior to the UK's high-street transfer network thanks to their low fees and market exchange rates. Both platforms apply the real mid-market exchange rate on your transfer, never pocketing hidden exchange rate margins. This factor alone puts their service above high-street SWIFT transfers and traditional money transfer services like Western Union. 

Starling Bank Exchange Rates

For each transfer, Starling Bank will charge a low 0.4%  fixed fee. 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 personal account holders have access to free euro accounts. This multi-currency account comes with the added bonus of unlimited free inward and outward transfers to banks in the Eurozone. If you have friends and family in the EU, then you can really leverage this powerful Starling Bank product.

Revolut Exchange Rates

Revolut's fee schedule is a bit more complicated. Premium members get one free international transfer per month while Metal members get two. 

For all other users, international money transfers will cost the following:

  • Sending the local currency: Sending money to a country in the local currency (i.e. USD to the U.S. or JPY to Japan) will incur a fee of 0.30%. For this fee, there is a minimum of £0.30 and a cap at £6.00.
  • Sending non-local currency: Sending money in a different currency than the country’s local currency (i.e. USD to the UK or GBP to India) will be more expensive. Sending USD, GBP, EUR or CHF will cost £4.00. Sending any other currency will cost £6.00.

Foreign Exchange Rates: Using Your Debit Card Overseas

Starling Bank never charges foreign card transaction fees when you spend with your card overseas. The exchange rate that will apply is the one that MasterCard sets, which is near the mid-market exchange rate.

Revolut sets a £1,000 per month limit on free foreign card transactions. Once this limit is reached, you will be charged 0.5% per transaction. You can benefit from zero foreign card transaction fees if you upgrade to their Premium or Metal plans.

warning icon

Pay in the Local Currency

Even with your Starling Bank or Revolut cards, you can be charged hidden fees while spending 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

Starling Bank

Revolut

💷 Maintenance

£0

£0

🏧 Foreign Withdrawals

0%

2%¹

💳 Foreign Payments

0%

0%-2%²

💸 Int'l Transfers

0.4% + fixed fee (£0.30 or £5.50)

  • 0.30% (min. £0.30, max. £6)
  • £4 (to USD, GBP, EUR, CHF)
  • £6 (to any other currency)

🚚 Card Delivery

£0

£4.99

📆 Delivery Speed

Up to 5 business days

Up to 9 business days

Try Starling BankTry Revolut

¹ Free up to £200 withdrawn per month.
² Fees increase after £1,000 limit, on weekends, and if the transaction is made in a less common currency.

Starling Bank
9.3
Revolut
9.4

Customer Satisfaction

Customer review score

Customer review score
Customer review score

Average Trustpilot rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.

Average Trustpilot rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Number of positive reviews

Number of positive reviews
Number of positive reviews

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

Nearly 80,000 four- and five-star reviews.

Starling Bank vs Revolut: What Are Customers Saying?

Starling Bank and Revolut are both highly rated and recommended on Trustpilot by their many customers. Revolut, with a Trustpilot score of 4.4, narrowly beat Starling Bank’s 4.3 score. Revolut's over 100,000 total reviews are quite impressive against Starling Bank’s 27,000 as well.

Both have over 15,000 four and five-star ratings on the review site. Both offer in-app live chat, which is the easiest way to get ahold of customer support. In the end, millions of customers have been satisfied with Starling Bank and Revolut as their banks of choice.

Starling Bank

Revolut

🌍 Availability

UK

UK, EU, US and others¹

💬 Languages

English

English, French, and others²

👥 Customers

2.7 million

16 million

🔒 Trustpilot

4.3/5 (27K reviews)

4.4/5 (104K reviews)

📞 Support

Email, call centre, in-app live chat

24h in-app live chat

🗨 Support Languages

English

English, French, and others³

Try Starling BankTry Revolut

Starling Bank vs Revolut: The Verdict

Starling Bank and Revolut are excellent digital banks that boast financial credibility, high levels of customer satisfaction, and low-fee services. Since the two companies differ in key service areas, your decision will ultimately come down to your needs and preferences.

The experts at Monito would be comfortable transitioning from a high-street bank entirely to Starling Bank’s digital bank because the company is fully licensed in the United Kingdom. Not only is its fee schedule among the best in the industry, but it also offers overdrafts, loans, and other credit services — important tools for growing wealth and making large purchases in the long term. Their Starling Marketplace, which connects your account to a plethora of financial applications, can help make your money go further.

As an electronic money institution, the experts at Monito would consider Revolut as an excellent supplement to your current bank account. In fact, you could even open a Starling Bank account and use Revolut on the side for its excellent multi-currency feature, higher interest on GBP savings, and its high-level finance management mobile app.

We would still recommend Starling Bank far and away as a travel card. No foreign transaction fees and unlimited fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals are an incredible offer. If you are in the UK and focus most of your international travels and expenses in the Eurozone, then Starling Bank’s more limited multi-currency account may still be enough for you too.

To take a deeper dive into both companies, read through our in-depth Starling Bank review and Revolut review. Watch Monito's review of Revolut in video. Also, compare these two with other leading challenger banks in the UK industry.

Whether you choose Starling Bank or Revolut, you can rest assured that their low-cost services will impress against high-street banking.

See Other Comparison Reviews of the Best Neobanks in the UK

Monzo vs Starling Bank
August 12, 2022 - by Jarrod Suda
UK Bank Account for Non-Residents
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Best Online-Only Banks UK
September 6, 2022 - by Byron Mühlberg
How to Call the UK from the US (for free) in 2022
March 28, 2022 - by Jarrod Suda
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References Used In This Guide

1. Revolut. Is my money safe? Accessed 14 April 2022.
2. Starling Bank. Starling Marketplace. Accessed 14 April 2022.
3. Starling Bank. Rates, Fees, and Charges. Accessed 14 April 2022.
4. Starling Bank. Send Money Abroad. Accessed 14 April 2022.
5. Revolut. How are international payment fees determined? Accessed 14 April 2022.
6. Monito. Using ATMs Abroad. 29 March 2022.

Why Trust Monito?

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