Objective Monzo vs Starling Comparison

Both Monzo and Starling arrived on the UK Fintech scene at almost around the same time. From initially being quite alike they are now, perhaps, less so.

I thought it might be interesting to create a comparison between the two banks. Compare the features and benefits. The pros and cons.

I’d like to keep this objective. I know some people have strong feelings and loyalties towards one or the other. If so, this is not the topic for you. Let’s keep it factual.

[edit] I’ve created this as a Wiki and updated the format to make the comparison easier between the two.

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Accessing the Account
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Android App
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

iOS App
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Web App
Monzo :yellow_circle: - :white_check_mark: Starling

  • Monzo has a web app of limited functionality for emergency use only.

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Customer Support
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Telephone Support
Monzo :yellow_circle: - :white_check_mark: Starling

  • Monzo publishes a phone number but customers report poor experiences. It does not offer telephone support in the way a traditional bank does.

In-App Messaging
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

  • Monzo - difficult to find in-app and customers report mixed experiences with customer support

Email Communication
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

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Withdrawing Funds
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Debit Card
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

ATM
Monzo :yellow_circle: - :white_check_mark: Starling

  • Monzo charges fees above certain monthly limits
  • Starling has no fees but a daily/monthly cap on withdrawals

Withdraw Cash at Post Office (Free)
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

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Depositing Funds
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Cheque Imaging in App (Free)
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Cheque deposit via post
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Deposit Cash at Post Office Counter (Free)
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Deposit Cash at PayPoint Locations
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :x: Starling

  • Monzo offers facility to deposit at PayPoint locations for a fee.

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GBP Personal Current Accounts
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GBP Account
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Debit Card With Contactless
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Standing Orders
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Direct Debits
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Chequebook
Monzo :x: - :x: Starling

Interest Paid
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

IBAN
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

SWIFT
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

  • Monzo sends payments through TransferWise
  • Monzo does not officially support receiving overseas payments. They may work but are not guaranteed to do so
  • Starling sends through CurrencyCloud
  • Non-GBP Currencies received via SWIFT are processed at Starling’s “day rate”, which is not published within the app. Officially non-EUR/GBP currencies are not guaranteed to come through.

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GBP Current Account Features
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Marketplace
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Budgeting Tools
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :x: Starling

Early Payment of Salary
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :x: Starling

  • Monzo has ability to pay BACS Salary payments on the working day before payment would normally show.

Segregated Funds
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

  • Monzo calls theirs a Pot. Starling uses Goals
  • Important to note that Starling Goals positive balances offset overdraft related fees, Monzo Pots do not

Direct Debit/Standing Order from Segregated Funds
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :x: Starling

  • Monzo can pay Direct Debits and Standing Orders from Pot balances

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Debit Card
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MasterCard
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Visa
Monzo :x: - :x: Starling

Flat Card Design
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

  • Monzo uses characters embossed on the card intended for use on imprint machines when electronic payments can not be processed

Landscape Card Orientation
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :x: Starling

Portrait Card Orientation
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Freeze/Lock Card In-App
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Contactless
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

ApplePay
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

GooglePay
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

SamsungPay
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

GarminPay
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

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Other Personal Current Accounts
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EUR Account
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

Children’s Account

Monzo :x: - :yellow_circle:Starling

  • Starling’s Kite Card is a separate debit card for 5-15yo children. Unfortunately, there is no separate app for children to monitor their money.

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Sole Trader Accounts
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GBP Sole Trader Accounts
Monzo ?? - :white_check_mark: Starling

  • sole traders have access to Starling Business accounts

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Business Accounts
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GBP Business Accounts
Monzo :white_check_mark: - :white_check_mark: Starling

EUR Business Accounts
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

USD Business Accounts
Monzo :x: - :white_check_mark: Starling

  • Starling charges a monthly fee for a business USD account

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7 Likes

Don’t forget cheque imaging, current account interest, and Post Office banking for Starling, and budgeting for Monzo.

2 Likes

It seems the post is a wiki now?

I have added these and a few more that have come to mind. I’m not sure about IBAN support. At Monzo, at least, I think it’s still unofficial and, although I have heard it works, there are reports it may be unreliable?

1 Like

International payments, euro accounts -

Starling :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark:
Monzo :x: :x:

Abroad withdrawals?! Starling - fee free, Monzo - first £250? Per month Fee free, 3%

1 Like

Starling have excellent phone support, I’ve called a couple of times instead of in app messaging and all went well. :grinning:

EDIT: Just realised it’s a wiki post so edited.

2 Likes

Excellent stuff @Johnny!

Would it be worth mentioning the interest function of Monzo plus in the comparison to Starling?

2 Likes

I think there’s lots to compare. That’s why I thought it might be a good idea to get something together.

2 Likes

I expect Monzo Plus to increasingly diverge from the core offering, and personally I think of it as a different account type (like how most banks offer lots of different account types). To keep things simple, it’s probably best to just compare the core offerings?

3 Likes

Then we shall compare like with like and go with the standard, free account offering.

3 Likes

Seems like the most sensible approach. If Starling ever launch a premium account, then perhaps that’ll be something worth looking at comparing.

3 Likes

Yeah. Battle of the basic accounts, with a follow-up on the battle of the packaged accounts when there’s something to compare.

2 Likes

Would anyone think that the differences in card style would be classed as a feature or advantage?

Personally, I have always preferred non embossed cards over traditional ones, but is that just vanity?

From my experience on both Starling & Monzo forums (not here :slightly_smiling_face:) such matters have proved to be a distraction. Column-yards of posts about card colour and embossing, portrait or landscape, numbers on back or front.

Some of these features are more significant than others - but none of them amount to a lot…

5 Likes

It’s vanity for sure, but card design matters a lot to me. More than it should. But I’ve judged, dismissed, and used banks purely on the merit of their card design or colour schemes.

I think for me, and I presume a not insignificant number of other folks, bank cards become an extension of our personality. A bit like choosing the colour of your phone case. I definitely exhibit bias towards banks with nice looking cards, and I’m willing to overlook some flaws for a nice looking bank card.

1 Like

A somewhat legacy feature for imprinting card details when electronic systems break down. Last time I had to do this was in 1988. Even my RBS cards do not have embossing!

1 Like

Okay so I made some edits. Starling don’t offer a personal USD account yet to my knowledge.

1 Like

I’ve made a small edit around the orientation of the card - retained the objectivity.

For my information, what does the yellow blob signify, please?

1 Like

And the winner out of this comparison is… :wink:

Starling does have a spending analytics in their app. Surely that’s a budgeting feature?

Can’t believe no fintechs are making a big deal out of “compatibility with zip-zap machines”.

2 Likes