The fintech giants are leading the way for customers looking for great mobile banking experiences. Both are highly rated by our Smart Money People reviewers. Monzo has 4.93/5 stars and Revolut has 4.87/5 stars. Monzo won ‘Best British Bank’ and ‘Best Banking App’ in our British Bank Awards 2022 which is voted by consumers, whilst Revolut had 15.5 million users as of June 2021 with 1.1 million daily app users*.
Challenger banks, otherwise known as ‘neobanks’ continue to reshape the banking landscape as many opt for on-the-go banking. Monzo and Revolut are powerful digital platforms that offer a wide range of banking services that make money management that little bit easier.
Are you wondering which British financial technology company offers the most? You’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we look at Monzo and Revolut personal accounts to see how they compare.
Monzo vs Revolut
Let’s dive in, shall we? It’s worth noting that one big difference between Monzo and Revolut is that Monzo is a fully-fledged bank and has a UK banking license. This means that they meet the legal criteria to operate as a bank. Therefore, Monzo offers a full UK current account and has the basic things you'd expect from your traditional bank and more. Whereas Revolut functions as a prepaid debit card. This means that it is not linked to a bank account and instead uses the money you add to it. Revolut lets you make payments in many different currencies with extra banking services to help you manage your money. Keep reading to find out which one would be best for your needs.
Sign up and on-boarding
Both digital banking platforms have free plans which have no sign up fees. Sign up typically takes less than five minutes. Neither requires any paperwork to be filled in. It’s as simple as taking a photo of some ID, entering a name and address, and recording a quick verification video or submitting a selfie to prove your identity. Most people find it takes a matter of minutes to receive confirmation of the identity verification process. Once up and running, both mobile apps are easy to use and have great functionality. They allow you to spend, save, manage and monitor your money, all in one place.
A Monzo current account features several saving features including ‘Pots’ so you can keep your savings separate from your balance whilst keeping your money in one place. You can have multiple saving pots to help you save for specific goals e.g. an emergency car fund, a holiday or a house deposit.
Savings features you might like:
- Monzo ‘round ups’ automatically put your spare change into savings to help you save every day without even realising it. Each time you spend money using your Monzo account, you can decide if you want Monzo to round up the cost to the nearest pound and save the change to one of your saving pots.
- Monzo has built automatic savings triggers to put money aside for you to make saving easy and fun. For example, putting a fiver into a rainy day pot every time it gets hotter than 20 degrees.
- Monzo provides detailed insights into your spending habits, helping you identify areas where you can cut back and save more.
- You can earn interest on your savings. Although, there are minimum requirements if you want to open a savings pot that you can earn interest on.
- Monzo’s ‘Saving Pots’ have competitive interest rates**. Currently, you can earn up to 3.55%*** AER interest on some of Monzo’s Saving Pots.
- You’ll get all the protection that comes with being a fully regulated UK bank.
A Revolut current account offers several saving features, including ‘Vaults’ which are similar to Monzo’s ‘Pots’ and allow you to set up automatic savings into a virtual ’vault’, to help you save for specific goals or just build up your savings over time.
Savings features you might like:
- Revolut ‘Roundups’ can automatically round up your purchases to the nearest pound and save the difference in your vault.
- Revolut provides detailed insights into your spending habits, helping you identify areas where you can cut back and save more.
- Revolut offers interest-earning accounts, allowing you to earn interest on your savings. Currently, you can get up to 2.5%*** annual interest paid daily on the free plan. You also have the option to upgrade to one of Revolut’s paid plans to give your savings a boost.
- Revolut allows you to invest in a variety of cryptocurrencies, giving you the opportunity to potentially grow your savings through investments. Although it’s not wise to use all of your savings. Cryptocurrency can be volatile, so it’s important to use it responsibly and do your research beforehand so you know the risk involved.
Monzo offers an overdraft and a payment plan called Monzo Flex which allows eligible customers to spend beyond their available balance, up to a pre-agreed limit. It lets you spread the cost of purchases over three instalments interest-free, or over six or 12 instalments at 24% APR representative (variable). Revolut is a prepaid debit card, so it doesn’t currently offer an overdraft, which may be an issue for those who like the safety net an overdraft can provide. However, if you’re trying to budget and stay out of debt this may come in handy as you can't spend more than the amount you've added to the card.
Monzo has a 24/7 in-app support team and dedicated customer phone lines, while Revolut's support options are more limited. Revolut does have an in-app chat which is available to use 24/7, so if you have any questions you can reach out to them through the app. Although, Premium & Metal plan users get priority service. Our Smart Money People reviewers have been sharing their experiences with Monzo or Revolut, so you can read reviews for Monzo current accounts and Revolut current accounts.
Protection and security
Monzo is a UK-registered bank account and offers FSCS protection. This means up to £85,000 of the money in your account is protected if the bank goes out of business. Revolut is not a UK-registered bank as it does not have a UK banking licence, therefore it does not come with the same protection. You may not get the same level of protection when it comes to fraud either.
Both Monzo and Revolut offer ‘virtual cards’ to make buying online safer. A virtual card is a payment card that only exists in a virtual form. You can use it to make purchases online and in-app. You can also pay in-store using Google Pay and Apple Pay. Each virtual card you create has its own unique details, so you can buy online without using your real card's details. Revolut offers virtual cards to all customers, including those on the free plan. Monzo on the other hand limits their virtual cards to paying customers, so you need to pay monthly for Monzo’s Plus or Premium plan to get access.
If you can’t find your card but expect it to show up, Monzo’s and Revolut’s security features include the option to temporarily freeze your card. This means you can easily stop your card from being used and unfreeze it when you find it.
Monzo offers two paid plans – Plus and Premium, currently ranging from £5 to £15 a month.
- The Plus plan offers benefits such as budgeting tools, a credit tracker, the use of virtual cards and the ability to pay directly from a pot so you can separate and spend how you like.
- Currently, with the Monzo free account, you can take out up to £200 cash fee-free when you travel abroad. You can take out double the amount of cash fee-free with the Plus plan.
- You can also make one free cash deposit a month at PayPoints across the UK.
- You can earn 1.00% AER/Gross (variable)*** interest monthly on money in your balance and regular pots up to £2,000.
- Monzo holographic cards are exclusive to Monzo Plus members.
- The Premium plan offers all the features of Monzo Plus, as well as added benefits such as travel and phone insurance, exclusive discounts and higher interest rates on your savings pots.
- You can take out triple the amount fee-free whilst abroad with the premium account.
- You can make five free cash deposits a month at PayPoints across the UK.
- The Premium plan comes with a swanky metal card.
Revolut offer three paid plans – Plus, Premium and Metal, currently ranging from £2.99 to £12.99 a month.
The Plus plan offers higher interest rates on savings accounts, 24/7 priority customer support and everyday protection, including theft and accident cover.
The Premium plan offers all the features of the Plus plan, plus additional features such as overseas medical insurance, cashback when you book trips away, unlimited currency exchange in 30+ currencies with no fees (Monday-Friday) and increased ATM withdrawal limits.
The Metal plan offers all the features of the Premium plan, plus added benefits such as cashback, personal liability insurance, increased ATM withdrawal limits (compared to the Premium plan) and an exclusive Revolut metal card.
Is Monzo or Revolut better abroad?
You can use the Monzo physical card to make payments while you’re abroad. Your card should work anywhere that Mastercard's accepted. They pass Mastercard’s exchange rate directly onto you. Here’s some pros and cons of using your Monzo card abroad.
- Monzo does not charge any fees for using your card abroad.
- You get free ATM withdrawals up to a certain limit if you use Monzo as your main bank account or have a paid plan.
- Monzo's in-app budgeting and spending tracking features can help you keep an eye on your spending while abroad.
- Monzo has a dedicated customer support team available 24/7, which can be helpful if you experience any issues while travelling.
- Monzo allows you to set up a joint account, which is perfect if you’re travelling as a couple.
- Monzo is compatible with Google Pay and Apple Pay.
- Monzo will share a summary of your trip so you have an overview of your holiday spending.
- If you’ve travelled to a European Economic Area (EEA), Monzo charges a fee for ATM withdrawals if you have a free plan and don’t use them as your main bank account. You’ll pay 3% on withdrawals over £250 every 30 days.
- If you’ve travelled to an area outside the EEA, you can withdraw £200 for free every 30 days, but you’ll be charged 3% after that. With Plus plan users it’s up to £400 for free every 30 days, and up to £600 with Monzo Premium. After that, Monzo will charge 3%.
- Monzo supports a limited number of currencies, which can be a drawback if you need to hold or exchange multiple currencies while travelling.
You can use the physical Revolut card to make payments while you’re abroad. Below are a few of the pros and cons of using your Revolut card abroad.
- Revolut is a prepaid card, which some people prefer using for security or budgeting reasons.
- There are no foreign transaction fees. Revolut does not charge any fees for using your card abroad.
- Revolut uses the interbank exchange rate in 30+ currencies, so you can hold and exchange multiple currencies in the same account, without incurring additional exchange fees.
- It’s easy to send money abroad to other Revolut users, without incurring any transfer fees.
- You get free ATM withdrawals up to a certain limit, depending on what plan you’re on.
- Revolut is compatible with Google Pay and Apple Pay.
- Revolut charges a fee for ATM withdrawals above the free limit (you can currently withdraw up to £200 on the free account), which can add up quickly if you use ATMs frequently. Like Monzo, the free limit increases depending on the paid plan you’re on. You’ll pay 2% when you go over the limit.
- If you’re using the free plan, Revolut charges a fee for spending abroad above the free limit (£1,000 a month).
- Revolut's customer support options are limited if you opt for the free plan, which could be a problem if you experience issues while travelling.
- The exchange rates offered by Revolut can go up and down and may not always be as favourable as those offered by traditional banks or currency exchanges.
- If you’re using the free plan Revolut doesn’t offer any protection or insurance.
Monzo and Revolut both offer similar features like money management and budgeting tools so you can take control of your finances. The main differences between Monzo and Revolut are:
- Monzo is a regulated bank. This means Monzo accounts are covered by the FSCS so up to £85,000 of the money in your account is protected. However, Revolut is not a regulated bank, therefore they do not offer this level of protection.
- Monzo offers an overdraft, the ability to take out a personal loan and buy now, pay later in three, six or 12 instalments with Monzo flex. Revolut is a prepaid Visa card and does not offer overdrafts, personal loans or buy now pay later. This could be helpful if you’re trying to avoid debt.
- If you’re spending abroad, Monzo is cheaper than Revolut as there isn’t a fee-free spending cap, so if you’re planning on spending more than £1,000 per month abroad, Monzo is the cheaper option. However, if you’re planning on withdrawing cash abroad, Revolut may be a better choice as they only charge 2% compared to Monzo’s 3% once you go over the fee-free limit.
- Revolut offers virtual cards to all customers, including those on the free plan. However, you need to pay monthly for Monzo’s Plus or Premium plan to get access to virtual cards. So Revolut is the cheaper option if you’d like to start using virtual cards.
- Monzo has a 24/7 in-app support team and dedicated customer service lines, while Revolut's support options are more limited.
Conclusion: Decide which features are most important to you before deciding which financial technology company is best for you.
Are you already using Monzo or Revolut? Help others decide whether these banks are worth switching to by sharing a Monzo review or Revolut review.
*Ratings on the Smart Money People website in February 2023, when this blog was published.
**Monzo has two types of ‘Pots’. You can’t earn interest on normal ‘pots’ but you can earn interest on ‘saving pots’. You need to add a minimum amount of money to be able to open a ‘savings pot’.
***The interest rate may change over time, so it's a good idea to check the Monzo and Revolut app or website for the latest information.