Ever feel like the mobile app for your bank is a bit rubbish? 💩
Or maybe you aren’t aware of some of the awesome new features like instant payment notifications ⚡ and easy to use budgeting tools 📊 that are available in the modern breed of mobile app-based banking services.
In this guide we will take a look at the best app-based current accounts and banking services available to people in the UK.
We will also answer some of the main FAQs relating to app/mobile banking.
Quick Compare Personal Accounts
|Service||Good For||Savings Interest||FCFS Protected||More|
|Starling||Budgeting, Saving||0.25% – 0.5%||✅||Review|
|Atom Bank||Saving, Mortgages||2.7%||✅||Review|
|Chip||Saving||0% – 5%||No||Review|
Monzo are the best known app-based current account service in the UK, with a wide range of features from overdrafts to savings pots, spending targets and a bill tracker.
Set spending targets, get instant payment notifications and see quick overviews of your spending.
The Monzo current account does not offer any interest but makes up for that with a wide ranges of features for budgeting.
Startling are one of the only services to pay interest, at 0.5% AER on balances up to £2,000, and 0.25% on balances above £2,000 (up to £85k).
All accounts feature 24/7 customer support via the app, and Starling also offer overdrafts and personal loans.
As well as personal accounts, Starling are one of the few challenger banks that offer accounts for businesses.
Revolut offer an amazing alternative banking service for anyone that needs to do a lot of money transfers or currency exchanges.
With Revolut you can trade money from one currency to another, spend and transfer money without any fees at live market rates.
Revolut is very popular with bitcoin/crypto traders, and you have the ability to purchase crypto direct in the app.
Revolut offers the ability to create virtual credit cards to pay for things online which can be instantly destroyed, protecting you from bank fraud.
Revolut offer a premium service with a range of benefits, and you can also order a contactless card which works around the world.
Alongisde Monzo and Starling Atom Bank is one of the few fully FCFS protected app-based banking services.
Unlike the competition Atom Bank do not provide a current account, they specialise in savings accounts and mortgages.
Atom offer a range of Fixed Savings accounts are interest rates up to 2.7%.
With Atom you can sign up and apply for a mortgage direct via the app. You will be connected to an independent broker who will guide you through your application.
Loot offer a digital current account service that comes with a contactless enabled Mastercard you can use with no added fees around the world.
Loot includes a daily spending budget system that allows you to keep close track of and limit your daily spending.
As well as a mobile app, if your phone runs out of batteries or is down the back of the sofa you can also log in and manage your money via a web app.
Monese is not covered by the FCFS scheme, but it is comparatively easy to get an account – there are no proof-of-address, credit history or income requirements to get an account – though you do need to take a picture of your passport.
The address requirements make Monese a popular choice with international students and digital nomads that do not have a fixed address.
Monese offer instant payment notifications and international transfers though be careful to keep an eye on fees, you may find you save money using Revolut for currency exchanges and transfers.
Although you start off at 0% interest, if you refer friends you can build your interest rate up to 5%.
Chip also has an intelligent algorithm that looks at your bank account and decides when you should be able to put money into your savings automatically.
Your money is not protected by FCFS, but it is held with Barclays so you should be relatively safe.
Sign up to Plum using Facebook Messenger, and Plum can help you invest your savings automatically.
You can choose to invest your savings through a selection of 6 tracker funds, which is a slightly risky but potentially profitable way to save.
Your money with Plum is not FCFS protected directly, but it is held with Barclays so should be safe.
N26 is a Berlin based banking service that was launched in beta in the UK in October 2018 featuring instant payment notifications.
Although your money with N26 is not protected by the FCFS, it is protected by the German banking protection scheme up to €100,000.
N26 offer current accounts and premium ‘Metal’ account that comes with a metal contactless Mastercard.
ATM withdrawals on the free account are free until the withdrawal limit then €2 per withdrawal.
Best Accounts for Automatically Categorising Transactions
Monzo can automatically categorise your spending and assign it against a budget.
Revolut has an analytics section that shows a breakdown of your spending by category and merchant, and you get a notification with a summary of your spending every week.
What happens if I lose my phone, can I still get into my account?
Each service is different, but you should be able to contact customer support services and they will be able to help. One of the things you might want to check before choosing a particular service is to investigate their reviews and see how highly people judged their customer support.
Is my money protected if the app or service closes down?
Each service is different, so you might want to check whether or not your money is protected by the FCFS. Not all the banking services are necessarily designed to be somewhere to keep large sums of money, they may be aimed at money management, saving, investing, fast and cheap money transfers or exchange rates.
Do I need to worry about security?
When money is involved you should always be careful. Make sure to use the official app for whichever service use, downloaded direct from the app store. Make sure to use the password/lock facility on your phone if you are using it for banking.