Monzo Vs Starling Bank (What we really think)

It seems that every time you go into a new town, the bank branches are closing. It is becoming almost impossible to find a local branch anymore. The times are changing. 

The future is online-only banks. The biggest and most popular of the two are Monzo Bank and Starling Bank. Online only banks are app based banking systems which offer exactly what a traditional bank offer, sometimes much more, just without the physical branches. All of your problems can be solved via the app, you can make swift payments and control and track your spending. These days, you can even borrow money from online banks like Monzo or Starling. 

The big question is which is better? and which should you choose? Monzo or Starling?

Let’s get into it:



I have to be honest from the outset, I have been a Monzo user since they launched their first payment cards. Way back in the day. 

Monzo Bank was founded in the UK in 2015, then it was known as Mondo, but changed its name to Monzo in 2016. Since then, Monzo has grown rapidly and now has over 4 million customers in the UK – including me. While I have only used the current account and business account, there are so many other features that Monzo has to offer. Here are all the services you should expect from the bank. 


  • Current accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Joint accounts
  • Business accounts
  • Loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Credit cards
  • International money transfers
  • Bill splitting
  • Budgeting tools
  • Spending notifications
  • Cash deposits (at selected locations)

It is worth mentioning that both Monzo and Starling are constantly adding features and new services. They have made their reputations on being able to out-punch even the biggest banking institutions with their innovative approach to banking. 


Pros and Cons of Monzo

There are lots of positives about Monzo:

  • Offers a variety of features that can help you manage your money, including budgeting tools and instant spending notifications (all of which are user-friendly and clear for most users. Great user experience). 
  • Has a simple and easy-to-use mobile app, and is accessible for most people. If you’re a little older, then don’t worry at all. 
  • Offers fee-free spending abroad (up to a certain limit).
  • Has a good reputation for customer service – when you get through to them! 

    the budgeting system on Monzo is second to non


  • Some customers have reported issues with frozen accounts and difficulty getting in touch with customer support. I have never personally had any issues with this, but I can see that some of the replies from customer services are frustrating. 
  • Some customers have also reported issues with the app crashing or not working as intended (this is a huge issue – if the app goes down, then nobody can access their bank accounts)
  • The fees and interest rates for loans and borrowing are not quite as good as other companies.


Monzo Trustpilot Reviews

The real stress test for these banks is what people are saying about the banks online. Trustpilot is usually a very good platform to use as most of the reviews are genuine, and the company cannot easily control the negative reviews.

Monzo actually has quite a high rating – especially for a bank (check out some of the big bank Trustpilot reviews and enjoy some popcorn while you’re at it). They have a 4.3 star review from over 26000 reviews at the time of writing. 

Currently, the largest concern at the moment for reviewers is getting through to customer service agents, and having their problem reviewed and fixed. You expect this kind of issue with all banking apps, but Monzo has had a flurry of issues recently. This could be down to a change in the way they operate their customer services, a huge increase in demand or their expanding too quickly to cover all the issues and bugs that may appear. 

You can see the most up-to-date reviews by visiting the Monzo Trustpilot profile here. 


I have only recently downloaded and started a bank account with Starling. I had thought about trying the service to see how it would compare with Monzo and whether it would be a good service to use as an alternative.

Interestingly, Starling Bank was founded before Monzo in 2014, although it officially launched in 2017 (after receiving regulatory approval from the Bank of England and the Prudential Regulation Authority). Starling Bank currently has over 2 million customers in the UK, which is half of that of Monzo. 

I got the account, I had a play with the app and service, and thought it was pretty good. The interface was easy to use, the bank offer more services than Monzo and there are certain things that Starling do better than Monzo. I still believe that Monzo has a nicer, more user-friendly interface, and design and their budgeting system is better. But that is just me. 



The services that Starling bank currently offer are: 

  • Current accounts
  • Joint accounts
  • Business accounts
  • Euro accounts
  • Personal loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Mortgages
  • International money transfers
  • Bill splitting
  • Budgeting tools
  • Spending notifications
  • Savings goals
  • Insurance (car, home, and travel)
  • Cash deposits (at selected locations)


Starling Bank Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of Starling Bank:


  • Offers a similar range of features to Monzo, including budgeting tools and instant notifications, with a very user friendly app.
  • Has a good reputation for customer service and they are easy to find via the app. 
  • Offers fee-free spending and withdrawals abroad (with no limit)
  • Allows you to earn interest on your current account balance (wooop)
  • Offer more services such as insurance, and spending notifications.
  • Can allow international payments, which Monzo currently does not (at this moment). 


  • Some customers have reported issues with the app not working as intended or crashing – I personally found the app fine but over time I have found it a little buggy, and some user friction. It just isn’t quite as intuitive as Monzo. 
  • Some customers have also reported issues with transfers taking longer than expected.

Ultimately, both Monzo and Starling have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to consider your own individual needs and priorities before making a decision. It may also be helpful to try out both apps and see which one feels more intuitive and user-friendly to you.


Starling Bank Reviews

Starling Bank has again, a very impressive base of reviews. They have a rating of 4.3 from over 34500 reviews. By all rights, that is very impressive. 

I believe that most of the recent negative reviews surround the business banking services, which are quite new for the bank, so there could be some issues with expanding. Despite the negative reviews, Starling seems responsive and replies in a positive and constructive manner. There are very few bad comments about the customer service, and I personally also found them to be helpful friendly and attentive. 



Final Thoughts on Starling Vs Monzo

Full disclosure, I am biased here. I have used Monzo a lot over the years so I am much more acquainted with their system and very happy with the bank. 

Objectively though, Starling do a lot right that Monzo do not. For instance, international transfers (both sending and receiving) is a huge save on time and worry, plus you can use a variety of currencies through Starling which is great. Starling also offers more in the way of borrowing options and services and it seems their customer service is significantly better (at the time of writing). 

Monzo, has a better app experience (only very marginally), and the user experience is nicer in terms of design and ergonomic layout. Monzo has an attention to detail that Starling does not, and I personally prefer the Monzo experience. What holds them back seems to be their customer service, and the lack of international transfers. That is a big one for me. 

In short, I would go for Monzo if you’re in the business of an easy life and clear budgeting information, while I would go with Starling if you need more services or you regularly receive money from outside of the UK. 

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