Home ONLINE SHOPPING GUIDES Final information to on-line banks and banking apps

Final information to on-line banks and banking apps

Hundreds of Brits are ditching the excessive avenue banks, and as an alternative selecting to financial institution with companies that don’t have branches, as an alternative working totally on-line or by way of a cell app.

There was a time when, for many of us, the excessive avenue was the primary port of name when in search of a financial institution.

In the event you wanted a present account that paid curiosity in your steadiness, or delivered a good overdraft, or another function then our choices didn’t stretch past these family names.

However instances have modified.

Current years have seen a big variety of banks aiming to do one thing just a little totally different, ditching bodily branches and shifting all of their operations on-line, whether or not by way of a web site, an app or each.

Certainly, these banks are a number of the quickest rising within the UK, based on knowledge from the Present Account Change Service.

However how do I pay cash in?

One of many questions some individuals have about on-line banks is how they will perform conventional in-branch companies like paying in cheques and making deposits, when their financial institution doesn’t even have a department?

This isn’t truly the difficulty that it appears although, as now you can make deposits into nearly any checking account ‒ whether or not it’s an app-based one or one run by a excessive avenue financial institution ‒ by way of the Submit Workplace.

What’s extra, many banks now help you pay in cheques by way of their cell app, just by taking a photograph of the cheque. Once more, it isn’t simply the net banks doing this both, however the excessive avenue names too. 

Digital financial institution prospects are a lot happier

It’s additionally price mentioning that these on-line banks are doing extraordinarily nicely in the case of customer support and producing goodwill amongst prospects ‒ not precisely one thing huge banks are famend for.

For instance, a ballot by Ipsos Mori in August 2020 quizzed respondents on how probably they had been to advocate their checking account supplier to family and friends.

The highest three within the ballot had been Monzo (86%), Starling Financial institution (84%) and first direct (83%), all banks which don’t have a single department between them. 

It’s definitely not an remoted ballot both.

The newest examine by shopper champion Which? polled checking account prospects on a bunch of classes, from customer support to transparency about prices, with the highest three first direct (84%), Starling Financial institution (83%) and Monzo (82%).

Let’s take a better have a look at a number of the largest on-line challenger banks and what they provide.

Starling Financial institution is likely one of the largest app-based banks, which was fashioned again in 2014. It gives a spread of present accounts and loans.

Present accounts

There are a bunch of accounts on supply, together with a private account, a particular account designed for youngsters and a brand new account geared toward children aged six years and up

The accounts are free to open, purposes solely take a couple of minutes to course of, and you may divide the cash inside your account to dedicate in the direction of particular ‘objectives’, for instance if you’re saving up for a brand new automotive.

You get instant notifications when cash leaves your account, serving to you retain on prime of your budgets and Direct Debit reminders, whereas you can even spherical up transactions to the closest pound with that extra cash going right into a financial savings pot.

In contrast to most different challenger banks you’ll earn curiosity in your financial institution steadiness, albeit at a fee of simply 0.05% on balances of as much as £85,000.

Maybe one of many largest appeals of a Starling account is that, in contrast to most excessive avenue banks, you will not be charged charges if you use your card abroad.

That covers each purchases and ATM withdrawals (as much as £300), so it’s a helpful account should you spend plenty of time overseas or need an possibility on your vacation cash that doesn’t contain altering up lots of money upfront.

Eligible account holders can benefit from an overdraft with Starling Financial institution, with rates of interest of 15%, 25% and 35% for organized overdrafts relying in your credit score rating.

After getting an overdraft authorized, you possibly can handle the dimensions of the overdraft inside the app ‒ so should you not want such a giant facility, you possibly can scale back it as you see match.

Head this solution to be taught extra about Starling Financial institution’s present accounts


One space the place Starling will not be aggressive is on private loans, which it gives at a consultant APR of 11.5%.

In contrast to different lenders, it has related its loans and overdraft gives, that means you might apply for a mortgage for as a lot as is left in your overdraft facility.

Let’s say you may have a £4,000 overdraft, however you aren’t utilizing it. You possibly can as an alternative flip that into a private mortgage.

Loans can be found from £500 to £5,000, and you may apply by way of the app. 

Is my cash protected?

Starling Financial institution is roofed by the FSCS, which implies that the primary £85,000 saved with the financial institution is protected within the occasion that it goes bust.

Monzo bank (Image: Shutterstock)

Monzo is an app-based financial institution that provides a spread of present accounts, financial savings offers and loans which was fashioned again in 2015.

Present accounts

On the present accounts, there may be each a free model and Monzo Plus, which prices £5 a month.

With the fundamental account, you possibly can separate the cash in your account into particular pots ‒ for instance setting some apart for a vacation you’re saving up for ‒ whilst you additionally get immediate notifications in your cellphone anytime the cardboard is used, which might help you need to your card be stolen.

With the Monzo Plus, you get a bunch of extra options resembling 1% curiosity in your steadiness as much as £2,000 and a ‘digital card’ which you should utilize for purchasing on-line.

Nevertheless, the massive promoting level for Monzo has traditionally been the truth that you should utilize it overseas with out incurring charges

– although how interesting that is within the present local weather is debatable.

The financial institution doesn’t add any charges or curiosity if you spend together with your account overseas, whilst you get despatched a message if you land at your new vacation spot to replace you on the present trade fee.

There are charges on the best way for withdrawals although.

After 31st October, should you withdraw greater than £250 over a 30-day interval whether or not within the UK or within the European Financial Space then you’ll be charged a charge of three%.

In the event you withdraw greater than £200 exterior of the UK or EEA (rising to £400 for Monzo Plus prospects) in a 30-day interval then additionally, you will be charged 3%.

Eligible account holders can get an overdraft of as much as £500, with an rate of interest of 19%, 29% or 39% relying in your credit score rating. 

Financial savings

You should use Monzo for financial savings, by organising a chosen ‘financial savings pot’ inside your checking account.

Helpfully, the app means that you can spherical up your spending to the closest pound, with the additional money going into your pot, that means you save with out even realising it.

What’s extra, Monzo is including a financial savings market inside the app, that means you possibly can swiftly transfer that money into an account paying a good fee of curiosity.

Presently customers have the selection of each quick access accounts and glued fee offers the place you lock your cash up for a 12 months or two in return for a greater fee of curiosity.


Monzo has additionally moved into offering private loans, as much as a most of £3,000 and over phrases of as much as three years.

Nevertheless, the charges are fairly extortionate with a consultant APR of 26.6%, so you may be higher off discovering a less expensive solution to borrow. 

If authorized the cash will probably be in your account the identical day, whereas there aren’t any prices for repaying the mortgage early.

Is my cash protected?

Cash saved with Monzo whether or not in a present account or financial savings account is protected by the Monetary Companies Compensation Scheme (FSCS), that means the primary £85,000 you may have with the agency is protected ought to Monzo go bust.

Revolut Bank (Image: Shutterstock)

Revolut is one other of the app-based banks, and was launched in 2015. It gives present accounts, financial savings and even the choice of buying and selling shares.

Present accounts

Revolut is one other account that may enchantment to those that want to make use of their cash world wide.

Its free fundamental account means that you can spend in over 150 currencies on the interbank fee, whereas there aren’t any charges on ATM withdrawals as much as £200 monthly.

You can even trade in as much as 30 fiat currencies, as much as £1,000 monthly, with out extra charges.

There may be additionally a premium model which prices £6.99 a month and contains extra options like no charges on ATM withdrawals as much as £400 a month, and no restrict on these fiat forex exchanges, in addition to abroad medical insurance coverage and insurance coverage to cowl delayed flights or baggage.

Lastly there’s the ‘metallic’ model, which prices £12.99 a month.

This contains no charge for ATM withdrawals as much as £800 a month, automotive rent extra and as much as 1% cashback on spending, relying on the place you utilize your card.

Inside the app there are instruments that can assist you finances, together with setting every day spending limits and notifications when you begin getting near these limits. 

There isn’t a proper overdraft function in place. As an alternative, must you drop into the detrimental, you might be required so as to add sufficient cash to your account to get again into the black inside seven days.

Financial savings

It can save you inside ‘vaults’ with Revolut, and revel in an rate of interest of 0.8%.

You possibly can open vaults for various currencies, and save along with different individuals by way of a bunch vault, maybe for a household vacation or another collective spending.


One function that units Revolut aside is the truth that you possibly can commerce inside the app as nicely, from shares and currencies to cryptocurrencies.

With shares you might be granted a sure variety of commission-free trades a month, relying on what present account you may have. So fundamental customers get three, premium get eight and metallic accountholders have limitless trades.

Is my cash protected?

Revolut doesn’t actually work like different on-line banks, in that it retains your cash in shopper accounts which it manages in your behalf with a spread of regulated banks.

Ought to Revolut turn into bancrupt, this cash can be used to pay out to you and different checking account holders earlier than another collectors, however it’s vital to recognise that this isn’t the identical as your cash being lined by the FSCS.

first direct is arguably the forerunner in the case of on-line banks, although it’s a part of the HSBC banking group.

Present accounts

The first Account from first direct has received quite a few awards over time, although on the face of it it appears a reasonably easy account.

It doesn’t pay curiosity in your steadiness, although you do achieve entry to first direct’s common saver which pays 2.75%. 

first direct (Image: loveMONEY)You may get an overdraft of as much as £500, with the primary £250 being fee-free too.

However what actually units the first Account aside is first direct’s confidence that you’ll adore it, and the financial institution’s customer support.

That’s why it can pay you a £100 welcome bonus and an additional £100 should you choose to go away after six months. 

Financial savings

first direct gives a handful of various financial savings accounts. There’s the common saver, which is designed for individuals saving between £25 and £300 every month, in addition to a money ISA which at present pays 0.1%.

There are additionally mounted fee accounts should you’re keen to lock your cash up for a 12 months, paying a fee of 0.3%.

You can even make use of a ‘sweep’ facility that strikes any spare cash in your checking account right into a nominated first direct financial savings account on a date of your selecting.


first direct gives private loans ranging in dimension from £1,000 as much as £50,000, and you will get instant entry to the cash if authorized by way of the app.

Its loans are solely out there to present account holders and have a consultant APR of three.3%. 

You possibly can choose mortgage duratoins from one to seven years. 

In addition to loans, first direct additionally gives bank cards with prolonged 0% intervals for each purchases and steadiness transfers, in addition to its personal mortgage vary.

Is my cash protected?

The cash in your first direct checking account is roofed by the FSCS as much as £85,000.

Importantly this £85,000 restrict applies to HSBC as a complete, so ought to the entire group go bust and you’ve got accounts with each manufacturers, you’ll solely have the ability to make one declare.

Monese (Image: Monese)

Monese is an app-based financial institution which was launched after the founder Norris Koppel moved to the UK and located it extremely troublesome to open a checking account with out already having proof of handle, utility payments and the like. 

The thought of Monese is a present account you could open swiftly by way of your cell phone, without having to supply proof of handle or undergo credit score checks.

Present accounts

There are three totally different present accounts on supply from Monese.

The ‘easy’ account is free, and features a £200 ATM withdrawal cap monthly earlier than you begin being charged a 2% charge. You can even spend as much as £2,000 monthly in a overseas forex with out being charged.

The subsequent stage up is the ‘traditional’, which prices £5.95 monthly. The ATM cap rises to £900, whereas overseas forex spending will increase to £9,000.

Lastly, there’s the ‘premium’ account, which prices £14.95, and has no limits on ATM withdrawals or overseas forex spending.

Throughout all the present accounts, customers can open extra accounts in Euros or Romanian Leu at no additional price. The app additionally features a host of budgeting options that can assist you handle your cash, resembling the flexibility to set weekly and month-to-month budgets.

There isn’t any overdraft on supply ‒ should you drop into the detrimental, your account will probably be locked and you will have to repay the steadiness with a view to unlock it.

Financial savings

The Monese app contains the choice of opening ‘pots’ the place you possibly can hold cash separate out of your common spending. You possibly can create as much as ten pots for every forex account. 

Monese has additionally partnered with Raisin, the financial savings market, which suggests you possibly can evaluate and open a financial savings account for the cash you put aside by way of the app.

Is my cash protected?

Monese will not be lined by the FSCS because it has an e-money licence, relatively than a full banking licence. 

As with Revolut, your cash is ringfenced in accounts with different banks, in order that if Monese goes bust the cash ought to make its manner again to you.



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