Best Online Banks

Thinking of switching to a digital bank? Here are the best online-only banks and apps to choose from.

Updated: January 17, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

|
Rachel Wait

Edited By

Rachel Wait

 

Which are the best digital banks out there? It’s a tough question and one that’s not easy to answer.

Digital banking has grown massively over the last few years and has overtaken many traditional current accounts offered by the likes of HSBC, Natwest etc.

Many challenger brands have jumped at the chance to impress customers, with many attracting praise along the way.

As such, it can be difficult to separate out which banks offer what, and who they’re best suited for. Luckily for you, we’ve taken a close look and picked out the best digital banks for a wide variety of users.

As well as creating a comparison, we’ve also taken a more detailed look at which might be best suited for you.

Best online banks at a glance

Below, you can find our quick comparison table. Note that we've included online providers of savings accounts as well as business bank accounts and personal accounts. As well as some of the main pros and cons of each, we’ve also highlighted for what is each one best:

BankBest forPros

Cons

Starling BankEveryday accountsOverdraft on personal current account. 24/7 UK-based customer support.Depositing cash comes with a fee (0.7% for all deposits over the £1,000 limit per calendar year).
WiseMulticurrency transfersCompetitive fees on international transfers. Access to multicurrency Mastercard.No cash or cheque options. For larger transfers, specialist providers are often cheaper.
RevolutTop choice (+free £10)Rates are given in real-time. Basic account is free and full of features.Optional features cost extra. No cash or cheque options.
MonzoBudgetingDifferent pots for budgeting. Instant spending notifications.App only – no browser option. Fees for paying in cash and cheques.
MoneseBest all roundAccounts in GBP, EUR and RON. Open account without credit check.Limits on cash transactions. Not part of FSCS scheme.
ChaseGood Customer Support24/7 UK-led customer support. 1% cashback on everyday debit card spending (T&C apply). Customers can open multiple accounts to help budget.Not many extra features yet.
bunqEthical bankingInnovative and ethically conscious bank. International transfers available.Monthly cost for holding an account. Many additional fees.
ZopaSavings accountsEstablished P2P lender. Range of investment options.You'll need to lock cash away for best rates.
AnnaBusiness bankingBusiness accounts. Low fees, free trial.No overdraft facility. Fees for foreign currency transactions.
AtomMortgages and savingsGood range of saving options. Competitive interest rates.App isn’t the best. Product range is still fairly limited.
goHenryChildren's accountFull parental control, including spending limits. Reward system teaches about finances.Monthly fee applies.
Virgin MoneyAll-rounderCashback, good range of savings accounts and cash ISAs, credit cards, mortgages, loans.High overdraft rate.

A closer look at the best online banks

Now it’s time to turn our attention to a more detailed look at each. We explore what makes each one a suitable choice for consumers, and include relevant links and information:

1. Best for everyday accounts – Starling Bank

When it comes to all-rounders, they don’t come much better than Starling Bank. The challenger brand gives users access to a full UK current account that you can manage directly from the app.

It takes only a matter of minutes to get started, and there are plenty of features for just about everyone. Unlike the majority of the other best digital banks, you get interest paid on your balance, as well as access to an overdraft.

If you’re looking for an account you can use as your main current account, you can’t go far wrong with Starling.

2. Best for multicurrency transfers – Wise

With the Wise borderless account, you get low-cost money transfers that are, according to the company, up to eight times cheaper than regular banks.

You can also hold your funds in over 40 different currencies. So, if you’re the type of person who tends to make a lot of transfers overseas, this could be the account for you.

Similarly, you can receive payment in GBP, USD, EUR, and AUD without paying any fees.

You can also get account details for each of these currencies. Of course, it’s not a flawless system. For those who make regular large payments, you could be better off using a speciality service. Similarly, if you make a lot of cash payments into your account, you should look elsewhere.

3. Best for international payments – Revolut

Revolut is one of the fastest-growing digital banks in the UK, and for good reason. The feature-laden account gives you access to all kinds of benefits. Perhaps most notable is the fact you can top up your card in several currencies.

This means if you’re travelling overseas a lot, you can reduce the fees you pay. What’s more, with the premium features, you can get free travel insurance. You can also hold your cryptocurrency balance in your Revolut account.

As with Wise, there are no options for paying cash into your account. And, if you want access to the best features, you will need to pay a monthly fee, so you'll need to weigh up whether this is worth it.

4. Best for effective budgeting – Monzo

Monzo is practically an established name in the digital bank world these days. The company has spent time developing a broad range of features to help you manage your money better. You can set budgets, create savings pots, and keep money aside for bills.

You’ll also benefit from free overseas cash withdrawals on your card (up to £200 per month) as well as no transaction fees on overseas spending.

Monzo has gradually added other features such as overdrafts, loans, and joint accounts, making it a viable choice as a main account. However, there are some limits and fees associated with the account. You can only deposit a maximum of £1,000 cash into your account every six months, and it costs £1 per deposit using PayPoint.

5. Best for overseas students – Monese

Whether you’re a student from overseas studying in the UK or a local student heading abroad, Monese is a good choice of bank. You won't need to provide proof of address or undergo a credit check to get accepted – all you'll need is proof of ID.

Once you have the app, you’ll get real-time notifications and be able to keep track of your spending with ease.

The Simple plan has no monthly fee, but you can also upgrade your plan and get access to more features in return for a monthly fee.

Accounts can be held in GBP, EUR and RON and you can spend on your card abroad fee-free (up to £2,000 a month for the Simple plan). You'll also be able to withdraw cash fee-free up to a set limit each month. Unlike some of the accounts on here, you can deposit cash directly into your account using the Post Office or PayPoint – a fee applies for the Simple plan.

6. Best all-round – Chase

Chase is a contemporary digital challenger that’s been launched by JPMorgan, one of the largest banks in the US.

So if you have concerns about the safety of your funds with a bank that you're not as familiar with, Chase can put a lot of those to rest. But that's not all Chase has going for it.

It's a solid, all-round choice, with an easy-to-use app, the option to open multiple accounts to help you budget, and excellent 24/7 customer support access – something that some of the more established challenger banks can't offer. You also get 1% cashback on your everyday debit card spending for your first 12 months (new customers, max £15 per month, cashback exceptions apply).

7. Best for ethical banking – bunq

As a relative newcomer to the digital banking space, bunq is trying to do things a little differently. The firm is actually partnered with Wise, meaning that you get the same great rates on international transfers. Depending on the plan you choose, you’ll get access to instant payments and can make up to 6 free ATM withdrawals per month. Ethical banking is at the heart of what bunq does.

Bunq has a variety of environmentally conscious incentives for their customers. However, there is no free version of the service, and it’s only currently available in Euros. There are three banking plans to choose from, plus a savings account. The Easy Money plan lets you have multiple EU IBANs and send money in more than 15 currencies.

8. Best for savings accounts – Zopa

Zopa started life as a peer-to-peer lending company but has since gained a full banking licence. The newly formed Zopa Bank offers savings accounts and credit cards to customers. You can choose from an easy access account or a cash ISA, as well as five fixed rate savings accounts, with terms of between one and five years.

It’s quick and easy to get started. You'll need a minimum investment of £1 for the easy access and cash ISA accounts and a minimum investment of £1,000 for the fixed rate accounts.

With the easy access account (Smart Saver), you can split your money into pots – you can choose instant access pots that give you instant access to your funds, or pots that require you to give notice before you access your cash and pay higher interest rates. Similarly, with the cash ISA (Smart ISA), you can put some money in an instant access pot and some in a fixed term pot for one to five years.

Because of its banking licence, your funds are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

9. Best for business banking – ANNA

ANNA gives you an online business current account with a range of features to help you manage your finances. The account is aimed at SME owners and comes with a Mastercard debit card.

Features include automatic invoicing and invoice management, 1% cashback on your business spend and access to a range of additional employee cards.

If you’re relatively new to the world of business banking, ANNA can help keep you on track with your finances. You can create pots in your account to save for taxes or other expenses as well as connect any other accounts you have through Open Banking. Choose from a pay-as-you-go plan or pay a monthly fee.

10. Best for mortgages and savings – Atom

Atom is another brand that offers a range of long-term savings options, and it also offers mortgages. You can get set up with a savings account in just a few minutes, and you’ll get a clear view of your funds and interest rates through the app.

If you’re trying to build your savings, Atom will actively encourage you to do so, as well as show you how much your possible returns are.

Choose from an instant access savings account, or fixed rate accounts with terms from six months to five years.

11. Best for teaching financial responsibility – goHenry

goHenry is a financial tool that’s designed for children from the age of 6 to 18. The app-based account gives parents access to the account, allowing them to view and control their children’s spending habits.

For the child themselves, they can see their balance and use a prepaid Visa card to make purchases and withdraw money. Every time the child uses the card, you’ll get a notification on your own app.

You can also set up a reward system, where funds are sent to the child's account when they complete certain tasks. The tool aims to help children learn about managing their money while giving parents the control they need to oversee this.

However, there is a monthly fee with the account, with two plans to choose from depending on what features you want. The cheaper account only permits one free card top-up per month, while the more expensive plan offers unlimited free top-ups. You can also spend and withdraw cash on your card overseas fee-free.

12. Honourable mention – Virgin Money

Last on our list is Virgin Money, with an honourable mention. The free, app-based M Plus account has some great features, making it a good all-rounder. You'll earn interest at a rate of 2.02% AER (2.00% gross per annum variable) on balances up to £1,000, with interest paid monthly.

Plus you get access to a range of savings accounts and you can earn cashback on your spending. It's free for everyone and takes just a few minutes to set up.

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