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%||✅||More|
|Atom Bank||Saving, Mortgages||0.8% – 1.8%||✅||More|
|Tandem||Saving||1.6% – 2%||✅||More|
|Chip||Saving||0% – 5%||No||More|
In our opinion Starling offer the best app-based bank account currently available in the UK.
As well as excellent features 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.
Starling are signed up with CASS – the Current Account Switch Service – which means you can use easily and automatically transfer over your old bank account to Starling if you wish to do so.
As well as personal accounts, Starling are one of the few challenger banks that offer accounts for businesses.
Monzo are probably 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.
If you have over £1,000 you can put your money into a savings pot where Monzo offer a 1% yearly interest rate, paid monthly.
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.
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 with interest rates up to 2.49%.
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.
Tandem is a digital only banking service that allows you to connect up your bank accounts and manage your finances, as well as offering a range of fixed savings accounts and credit cards.
Interest rates offered on savings range from 2% to 2.4% at time of writing.
Tandem offer two credit cards, one with cashback, and one for people with bad credit.
Your savings with Tandem are protected with the FSCS to the first £85,000.
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.
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, investing your money automatically.
Plum are FCA registered and your money is held with Barclays so should be safe.
We currently have a special deal with Plum offering £5 free to Dumb Funded users.
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.
Best Accounts for Automatically Categorising Transactions
Monzo can automatically categorise your spending and assign it against a budget.
Starling Bank has good budgeting features and can automatically categorise spending.
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?
Contact customer support services via phone, email or live chat, and they will be able to help.
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.
Can I spend and use my card overseas?
You can use your card and overseas with all the services listed, though the fees for doing so varies. Check out our list of the best app-based banking services for travelling.
Can I access my finances via a website?
Some services do have websites that you can log into, but all the services listed here are primarily app-based and may not have a web-app.
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. Use a secure password and PIN that you have not used elsewhere. Do not share your login details with anyone that contacts you.
Is there a branch or somewhere I can pay my money in?
Starling offer the ability to make cash deposits at any Post Office branch.