Starling bank vs Revolut


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Which bank should I switch to? Starling Bank vs Revolut? What are the benefits of each, and what is the difference between them?

These are some of the many questions that people ask when they're looking for a new bank. The two options here have their own pros and cons, but it all comes down to your personal preferences in banking. So, which one will you choose-Starling Bank or Revolut? Let's take a closer look at both banks below.

Starling Bank

Product Details

4.5 / 5

Staring bank overview

Free Spending Abroad 

YES

Overdraft

YES

UK Banking license/ FSCS Protected

yes

ATM Withdrawal limits

yes, £300 per day same limit abroad no fees



Revolut

Product Details

4 / 5

who is Revolut

Free Spending Abroad

YES

Overdraft

no

UK Banking license/ FSCS Protected

yes

ATM Withdrawal limits

YES, £200 a month. depends on account. fees apply

Is a Challenger Bank Safe?

Challenger banks are bringing lots of new benefits into banking, many wonders if challenger banks are safe. Starling Bank and Revolut are both challenger banks, so you may be wondering if they are safe to use. Both banks are regulated by the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

The FCA sets rules for how challenger banks should operate to ensure it is safe and protects customers. It has several requirements that all banks need to adhere too all helping you to have peace of mind when banking with them.

For example, they must have enough money in their accounts to pay out customers who are owed cash. You can find more details of the rules that challenger banks need to adhere to by visiting the FCA website.

From a complete safety point of view, Starling has the upper hand over Revolut in that it has a full UK banking licence like a more traditional bank. 

Starling vs Revolut: Who are they?

Who is Starling Bank? 

Starling Bank was the first challenger bank to launch in the UK and Ireland, created by former JP Morgan managing director Anne Boden. It launched its services in 2015.

The company is based in London and aims to provide customers with an easy-to-use banking service which makes managing your money simple, whether you're at home or abroad.


It offers a different kind of bank account that doesn't charge you for doing things like using ATMs abroad. 

Starling spending notifications

Pros and Cons of Starling Bank

Pros
  • No fees on foreign transactions 
  • Full UK Banking licence
  • No opening and closing fees (transfer a balance in from any other bank account within 30 days of opening your Starling Bank account) 
  • Pay for things with contactless cards as well as with Google Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay
  • Get unlimited free ATM withdrawals worldwide, Cash withdrawals are easy 
  • Easy to make cash deposits at the post office
  • Easy to save money with built-in spare change round-up features. 
  • A current account is easy to open and free. There are no monthly fees
  • Business account option available, Check out Starling Bank Business Account Review for more information 
  • Easy to transfer money abroad and within the UK
  • Bank accounts available: Current, Joint bank account, Euro and Kite (child connected card) 
Cons
  • Only available in UK and Ireland
  • No physical branches
  • No premium options available, you won't get travel cover options or metal cards if that's your thing. 

Who is Starling Good For?

If you are looking for a bank account that will cater to your needs while travelling abroad, Starling is the one for you. The company doesn't charge any fees on foreign transactions, and you can enjoy unlimited free ATM withdrawals when travelling overseas. You can also withdraw £500 cash without going into your overdraft.

And suppose you want to make things even easier for yourself. In that case, Starling allows you to pay for things by using your contactless card and offers extras like mobile phone insurance and travel insurance that will give you peace of mind when travelling abroad or using your card while at home.

Starling Bank is a good choice if you are currently based in the UK and Ireland since the bank can now be found. With no setup fees or hidden charges, it offers a simple, hassle-free way to manage your money abroad and at home.

Who is Revolut?

Revolut was one of the first challenger banks to launch in Europe. The company is based in London.

Revolut's products are available globally, but its primary market has been in Europe. The company launched its services in 2015, and it has experienced some significant growth since then.

From the beginning, Revolut was set out to simplify banking for customers by providing a digital-only bank account with a debit card. The company aims to make paying for things as easy as possible for customers to avoid wasting time with other traditional banking methods.

It offers a pre-paid debit card that allows you to instantly convert multiple currencies and spend them in any money online, at home or abroad without needing a credit or ATM card. You can also use it as your payment method for Uber, Shopify, Airbnb, Argos, Deliveroo and more than one million merchants.

Revolut

Pros and Cons of Revolut

Pros
  • Cryptocurrency
  • free revolut account available and premium account
  • No opening and closing fees (transfer a balance in from any other bank account within 30 days of opening your Starling Bank account)
  • Business account available
  • Purchase protection available with premium accounts 
Cons
  • No UK banking license
  • No joint account option
  • Free account is limited vs the Starling free account for instance, ATM withdrawals abroad are limited unless pay for premium accounts 

Who is Revolut Good For?

Revolut is a good option if you want to make spending money abroad more convenient for yourself.

With the Revolut card, anyone travelling in Europe can enjoy free withdrawals from any ATM when performing overseas transactions and currency conversions. This means that you don't have to be concerned with expensive transaction fees and save more cash. The Mastercard debit card also comes with other useful features, including an insurance cover, extended returns on purchases made on your card, travel cancellation insurance if you upgrade to the premium services starting at £2.99 extra a month. 

Revolut's contactless MasterCard debit card is one of the best in the business. The card easily attracts money directly from your bank account and lets you convert and spend money overseas with ease. 

From a free account the better of the two is Starling but if you are interested in account extras like piece of mind on purchases then the Revolut premium accounts offer an experience like no other. 

Revolut vs Starling: Which is the best Mobile Banking app?

A key benefit of mobile banking is that you can access your account anytime and from anywhere. Both Starling Bank and Revolut offer various apps for different devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android, etc. The Starling app is available on the App Store and Google Play Store, while Revolut's app can be found on the App Store and Google Play.

Another concern for people when choosing a bank is how easy it is to use it. Both Starling Bank and Revolut apps are designed to be user-friendly, simple, fast and convenient. Banking online or via an app has never been easier!

starling bank

Revolut

  • Freeze card in App
  • Spare change round up 
  • Cheque Scanning pay in 
  • Customer Service in the app 
  • Spending Categories
  • Separate Saving Spaces
  • Apple Pay & Google Pay
  • Samsung Pay
  • Free ATM Withdrawals £300 a day 
  • Freeze card in App
  • Spare change round up 
  • Cheque Scanning pay in 
  • Customer Service in App
  • Spending Categories
  • Separate Saving Vaults
  • Apple Pay & Google Pay
  • Samsung Pay
  • ATM withdrawals £200 a month 

Revolut and Starling have recently launched new product features to help customers keep their finances in order. Revolut's Vaults let you put money aside for specific purchases, savings goals or trips abroad. In contrast, Starlings Goals can be used as a way of saving up towards something like an upcoming holiday by putting spare change from your everyday transactions into the pot before it's time to book that flight.

Both organisations also offer "round-ups" where they'll add any loose change left over on debit card payments into your chosen goal account if users haven't already allocated enough funds themselves - making those small amounts really count!


Winner: Tie both apps are good and incredibly easy to use.

Related Article: Best Money Saving Apps

Starling vs Revolut: Which is the best card?

Both cards are Mastercards and offer the same functionality in that they are contactless and support Apple Pay and Google Pay.

From choices of different designs, Revolut takes the prize for most iconic cards as with their premium accounts you can have an 18g metal card.

However, I suppose the question to ask yourself on this point is with the birth of mobile banking apps how often do you actually use your debit card?

Winner: Revolut, it does have a metal card and more card options due to premium accounts being available. 

Account Types

In the current banking landscape, both Starling and Revolut offer a free account. However, there are a few subtle differences between them; they each have their own unique features that make one more advantageous than the other in certain situations. For instance

-Starling offers joint bank accounts, while Revolut does not operate with joint accounts at this time.

-Revolut also has an exclusive kids' card called "Revolut Junior", managed through your existing main account. In contrast, with Starling, you can manage all childrens' cards under one Kite product (although it may be worth considering how much convenience any particular feature will add to your day).

-savings accounts are not available with either Starling or Revolut; instead, they offer spaces or vaults, which acts as a separate account but, in reality, is linked to your current account.

starling bank

Revolut

  • Person Accounts
  • Children linked accounts from aged 6
  • Joint account available
  • Euro Account 
  • No premium account available 
  • Personal Accounts 
  • Junior accounts available 
  • No Joint Account option
  • Euro account
  • Premium accounts available 

Winner: For value for money, it's Starling. Hands down, you get a lot in the account, and it's included for free!

Revolut wins the premium game. If you want fancy perks like a metal account, then you can go for no other than Revolut. 

Using Card Abroad

With Starling using your card abroad is really easy. Just use it as you would in the UK, and you get free foreign transactions and free foreign ATM withdrawals - simple.

Using Revolut isn't straightforward. You can spend up to £1,000 abroad at no cost on weekdays and withdraw money from an ATM for free. On weekends, though, a mark-up of 0.5% is applied both in spending or withdrawing cash overseas (Revolut says this is because the international markets close over the weekend).

Winner: Starling is the clear winner here. There are no charges or additional premium accounts needed to make it a great travel companion. You don't need to worry or keep track of how much you have spent abroad because it's a truly unlimited amount.

Starling vs Revolut: What do customers say about the banks?

As with anything new and different, there will inevitably be scepticism when a bank launches in the current market.

Starling Bank has really led the way with the awards it has won and consistently high customer service scores on Trust Pilot.

starling vs Revolut customers

Customers have commented on the service and how good the features are of the current account, and of course, this is all included in a free account. It has also won Best British Bank.

For Revolut, current customers have praised that they are not being charged for making an ATM withdrawal or using a card abroad. Apart from that, it also has an attractive current account with low fees.

Out of all current accounts currently on offer in the UK market today, Starling and Revolut offer current accounts with attractive features.

Winner: Starling has the win here, narrowly because customers have more ways to contact and get support. But in all honestly, both banks get amazing reviews.

Which Business Account is better, Revolut or Starling?

By business, I mean a company, partnership, or sole trader business. Both business accounts are free, and you don't need to worry about any hidden charges, fees or penalties.

Both business accounts have been designed in a way that makes them easy to use. You can send money internationally at no charge and make domestic payments and withdraw money from ATMs in other countries.

If you are a business based in the UK and want a business account that can be easily used through online banking, mobile apps or even through a business card, then both Starling and Revolut business accounts offer excellent features.

Revolut Business vs Starling: Which business account is best for business?

Both business accounts offer customers a business current account, business MasterCard card and business spending categorisation feature. Your business can also access your bank accounts through business apps or mobile banking, which allows you to view and manage all aspects of your company's finances.

 Starling offers additional features such as the business tool kit to better organise your finances.

Winner: tie both offer good business account offerings. 

Read more: Starling Bank Business Account Review

Starling Vs Revolut Bank Account: Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking for a premium card or want something cheap and easy, there is a bank out there that should suit your needs. Revolut has more options if you want a premium card with a metal card and additional features.

Starling is the best value bank. Its app is easy to use, offers fantastic budgeting features and is registered as a UK bank. Let's also not forget it makes a great travel card with no exchange fees and generous foreign currency ATM withdrawals.

Whichever mobile bank you decide to go for, you will see a benefit from your high street bank!

Which do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below. 

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About the author 

Mary Elizabeth

Founder of MeMoreMoney. A self-taught finance nerd, learning by doing and experiencing. Bought first house at 21, paid off student debt, and save 100k by 30. Featured Personal Finance Expert in GO Banking Rates and Yahoo! Finance

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