Martin Lewis’ team over at Money Saving Expert has revealed the best app-based bank accounts. The rise in digital banking use has been gaining popularity over the last few years, meaning people won’t have to head to your local high street banking branch or drown yourself in paperwork.
Many of the app-based banks don’t have high-street presence, but the majority of them will offer round the clock customer support. The apps are available to download for free for those with smartphones, but some may have costs associated with running them.
However, to find the best possible one out there for you, there is a selective number that the folks at Money Saving Expert recommend. According to them, the top three bank apps currently available are Starling, Chase and Monzo. The experts say Starling is useful for spending notifications, budgeting and comes out on top for overseas use.
For those interested in Monzo, it’ll be able to help your budget and track spending, as well as offering savings with partner banks. The money folks also said Chase offers one per cent cashback for at least a year on most purchases and doesn't dish out fees to spend or withdraw cash abroad.
"Starling gives real-time notifications when you use your debit card, insights into your spending and lets you set up savings goals," MSE says. "You also earn a (very) small amount of in-credit interest. As an added boon, there are no fees for spending or cash withdrawals abroad, making it a top-pick debit card overseas."
There are no oversea fees with Starling Bank and users can pay in cash at any post office or cheques via the app or in the post. Its in-credit interest (AER variable) is 0.05 per cent up to £85,000 and there is no unarranged overdraft cost. On the Apple Store, the app has a rating of 4.9 out of five, while on the Google Play Store, it sits at a 4.8 out of five.
According to MSE, Chase's current account "gives a top rate of cashback on most spending (max £15/month), though there are some exclusions. There's no minimum pay-in required in the first year, but you'll have to pay in £500+/month after that to continue getting cashback."
Customers can also make use of its 'round-up' feature that enables all purchases to be rounded up to the nearest £1 - with the difference autosaved into a separate account paying five per cent.
The bank also allows users to create up to 20 extra accounts and provides a monthly spending overview, which can be a big help for those trying to manage their money.
However, to use Chase, you'll need a device with at least iOS 14.1 or Android 8.1. On the Apple Store, the app has a rating of 4.9 out of five, and on Google Play Store, it is at 4.1 out of five.
Monzo is a bit similar to Starling as it also gives users real-time spending notifications and insights regarding where they're spending. MSE says it is "also good for overseas use, particularly if you won't withdraw cash or will only get small amounts."
The experts added: "The difference comes with savings – as well as letting you set up 'pots', Monzo lets you 'move' savings to an account with a partner bank, so you get decent interest – though top-pick savings usually have better rates."
There are no oversea fees on spending, but at worldwide ATMs withdrawals are only fee-free up to £200/30-day period. There is no in-credit interest (AER variable) and users can pay in via cash at any PayPoint with a £1 fee, or pay in cheques via post. On the Apple Store, the app has a rating of 4.9 out of five, while on the Google Play Store, its 4.7 out of five.
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