Your greatest economic friend in today’s unstable age is balance.
That’s according to an economist who predicted 2008’s financial crisis, as well as 2022’s war. Which means having low savings, saving in one currency, or just in cash – is dangerous.
Choosing a digital bank account can be a complex process. You want to diversify your money from anywhere without stress.
Ready to learn about the best digital bank account options and savings accounts in the UK? Keep reading for our curated list of the top digital banking services to consider.
Table of Contents:
Relax. Our Top Pick Of Online Banks Has You Covered 🌞
Before retiring on that paradisal island with a beautiful sunset, you’ll need a tremendous digital bank.
Such banks understand that people want to migrate and experience a new, improved quality of life. But, these people also want complete control over their finances with a digital bank. While pension plans are good, a digital bank account offers more flexibility and control.
And, don't forget to check out our budgeting guide to get the most out of your ideal digital bank! 🌸
1. Revolut Review – Overall Top-Rated
Revolut is superb for folk who do lots of travelling because of their low fees and excellent exchange rates.
It is an e-money institution that operates similarly to Monzo. From the Revolut mobile app, users can transfer money globally, make crypto investments, use stocks and commodities, and even travel insurance without hidden fees.
Creating a Revolut account immediately gives you an account no. and sort code, including lots of traditional abilities like direct debits, ATM use with their card, contactless payments, and Apple and Google Pay.
Revolut provides optimal interest rates via their Revolut Plus, Premium/Metal plans, but these accounts also include monthly costs.
Revolut was forged in 2015, based in London-based with a strong payment reputation. The model for Revolut is the idea of making a Fintech company that can also offer pre-paid debit cards, P2P immediate expenses, and crypto exchange with global currency exchanges.
Revolut increased its services by creating Revolut Trading in 2019 to give customers commission-free stock trading of American shares with expansions for top-rated UK and European stocks, ETFs, and ISAs.
Each service is accessible through its smart, easy-to-use mobile app.
One of the key appeals of Revolut to users is their commission-free foreign spending. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. In 2021, Revolut removed fee-free transactions for any Standard accounts (free accounts) and account holders. Revolut Premium account holders can still get 1 free global payment per month, and Revolut Metal account holders are allowed 3 free international payments per month.
When you use a mobile app, you still need access to savings accounts to earn your interest. Revolut offers a savings account feature called savings vaults that allows you to earn interest on your savings accounts. You can choose from different long and short-term savings accounts with different interest rates to get precisely what you need.
Revolut still offers excellent value on global transfers compared to traditional high-street outlets.
2. Wise – Top UK Digital Bank
Wise was established among banks in the UK in 2011. Its primary focus is on making international transfers quicker and more convenient. They also focus on keeping the cost of cross-border transfers low and aim to make these transfers free in the future.
Today, Wise has over 12 million customers. It handles trades across 80 countries, and over 8 billion dollars worth of trades happen each month with Wise.
In the modern climate and unstable economy, diversifying your money is a must. Wise is your most valuable safeguard against instability, helping you to access high-performance assets for your savings.
This is why 150,000 reviews show an average ‘Excellent’ rating.
Wise let you store money in a bunch of different currencies. To do this, Wise has formed a payment network to reduce financial and process-related inefficiencies when sending global payments.
Wise’s mission is to give users fairer fees, and they keep driving down costs so that their pricing system is very transparent.
There’s no deception or hiding fees – what you pay is always clear, right from the start of the transfer. To deal with currencies, you could also use the Wise multi-currency account for individuals and business customers. You’re guaranteed to get the live exchange rate, and Wise lets you store 50+ currencies all in one portal.
What You Can Save Via Wise
Wise is known for giving cheap, transparent fees. But what will you save by going with Wise rather than an alternative provider?
Specialist services almost always give you cheaper international payments compared to using a traditional bank account. But what you can save will depend on the particular service, the currencies involved, and where you want to send to.
To get an idea, let’s investigate how this works out when transferring online from your USD bank account to a friend in Britain. We’ll cover a few different transfer fees and a couple of different specialist services to build a bit of a picture.
Okay, so Wise customers can transfer money to over 80 countries around the world. Also, payments can be carried out online via the Wise app and get deposited straight into the target bank account. This means – unlike many other services – your receiver doesn’t need a Wise account to get your payment.
Wise transfers are quick. Typically, much quicker than normal banks. Indeed, nearly half of Wise's global transfers are instant (delivered in under 20 seconds), while around 80% are delivered within a day. Wise supports 54 different currencies, letting you transfer to over 80 countries from the US or Britain. The countries and currencies you can send to are updated constantly.
3. Starling Bank Review – Popular Digital Bank
Starling Bank is one of the biggest and most popular digital banks, offering an intuitive banking app that lets you budget and manage every banking need online.
No wonder Starling is a popular option. It allows you to skip past the limitations of traditional banks while accessing an effective challenger bank featuring cheap overseas rates using ATMs. There are many deposit options but no physical branches. Cheques can take a while to clear.
They’ve won many awards, too: including the Best British Bank in 2019 / 2020 /2021. Starling Bank keeps trailblazing as an industry leader in the challenger banks arena, offering users a Starling personal account they can leverage to compete with other financial services.
Starling Is A Full Bank
In 2016, Starling Bank was given a UK banking license, which means they are a Financial Services Compensation Scheme member. This makes them a full bank – not an open bank! And it means that users are ensured against an emergency. It also means that Starling Bank account holders can access increased scopes of banking features that can meet everyday banking needs like debit cards, handling direct debits, and so on.
They’re also one of the fastest services for opening an account. I could get a card in a day or two and get started without any phone calls or paperwork. I also used this a bunch while travelling to many faraway countries.
4. Monzo Bank Review – Top Digital Bank with Budgets
For Monzo, Instant Balances is designed to alert you to your balance whenever you spend money. This feature lets you know exactly what you're spending, giving it a similar feel to using cash. It also means not waiting for days to get an accurate account picture; you always know your accurate balance.
You can also instantly Freeze and Defrost so that card payments cannot be made. There are a large number of ways that this is useful. Beginning from stopping a fraudster from using your direct debit to freezing your account if your card gets lost. Monzo will issue you a replacement card if you don't find your card.
Account Security Features
Monzo also skips the typical way that the top digital banks approach account security, and they instead do not use passwords at all. Instead, Magic Links let you store and remember passwords to log into Monzo. (There aren’t even any PINs, compared to Starling digital banking). Instead, accounts are validated in your email. The digital bank understands that most users don’t use great password practices, or they will reuse or make guessable ones.
One key feature is that you can send payments over-the-air to other devices through Bluetooth Payment. This works how it sounds. You don’t need your receiver’s number. They don’t need a Monzo account. So long as both of you activate Bluetooth, you can pay their digital bank – this ability functions via the Google Nearby API service, also called Nearby Friends.
5. Lumio Review – See Clearly Through The Financial Noise
The flower to your tree…
While the best entire digital banks give you features you’d expect with traditional banks. Open bank budgeters like Lumio focus on how everything looks together.
Think of digital banks as a wild forest; these budging apps are like growing a single flower rather than being overgrown by weeds and woodland.
The free-to-use Lumio app brands itself with the imagery of a firefly. Because it is there to guide you through the darkness of too much financial noise. While the brand name is reminiscent of an illumination spell from Harry Potter, the capabilities are efficient and real.
More Clarity For Your Finances
Too often, we only have minimal awareness of what our finances are up to. Indeed, we’re working through emotions of fear or excitement or momentum. So Lumio works as the firefly of the digital banking world, giving you a simple yet powerful pathway through the forest.
It hums quietly behind the curtains by connecting every bank, credit card, pension, savings, and other investment digital account under a single portal. Then flits through transactions to figure out how the bills can be assorted into different categories so that you can see your spending vs. income, and other kinds of each, to give you a salt-of-the-earth illustration of your finances – from one look.
Over 50,000 users are linked up to Lumio. You’ll get much more than categorisations. The open digital bank shows you high-clarity information about your cash flow, working in your device to figure out ways of growing this, opportunities for tweaking your income and lowering expenses.
This is why Lumio is optimal for budgeters seeking not to use spreadsheets but still wanting to know their finances. We consider this one of the best open digital banks because it goes further than most of its rivals in this space – doing more than tracking ingoing vs. outgoings.
Its home screen gives insights into financial trends and lets you assign manual labels to particular ones. You can also get started in a few minutes, so long as you have the essential details for each account you want to connect to Lumio. Most impressively, if a budget doesn’t show up on its preloaded digital list, you can manually add it offline.
Lumio also gives clear guidance on broader aspects related to savings to help you grow your progress towards your saving objectives 🏝️.
6. Money Dashboard – Best Digital Bank For Ultra Clarity
Seeing as Elon bought Twitter and financial experts everywhere think the UK is heading for a recession and that there is a global recession underway… we need to see clearly and not believe we have unlimited options for our money if this isn’t the case.
Money Dashboard lets you cut out all of the madness and see what’s flowing in clearly. This Scottish budgeting and open digital banking app has more than 600,000 users, which makes it a popular banking service for the UK.
Money Dashboard works pretty much the same as Lumio. However, it focuses a bit more single-mindedly on your key financials – including seeing your credit cards, investments, banks, other cards, and more accounts – in one dashboard. Once downloaded, the digital bank starts assessing and evaluating your outgoings.
Also, you can make individual transactions with a manually-defined automatic label.
Many open banks only allow you to schedule your payments towards month's end. Money Dashboard lets you manually change this according to your payday pattern, which is excellent if you get paid at unusual times or multiple times per month.
Also, choose to work with “scheduled payments” set to leave your account on particular days of the month, such as rent, council tax, and utilities. Knowing exactly What and When is a key way to budget in how businesses do – in other words, you know precisely how much net gain you’ll have after expenses are factored in after our payday arrives.
This means that Money Dashboard is a superb companion to a fully functioning top digital bank, giving you intense extreme focus on your outgoings and gains. A new feature is an ability to transfer funds between your different accounts and Money Dashboard, despite the prepaid card being unavailable.
On that last note, generally speaking, this digital bank doesn’t perform actual transactions but rather simplifies them to occur quickly with a few button clicks.
Best Digital Banks – Buying Guide 📊
This section is great for newbies who are still learning how digital banks work. It should also help you to discern between the best digital banks:
Most Stable Currencies In The World – Are They Real?
Is there a “safe” currency? The short answer is… no. Who knows what will come in the future? There are many ways to guess a country’s stability, but who knows what will affect a currency’s performance? With war now a thing on a global scale, it’s impossible to choose just one that defeats every other.
Our times are fast-paced, and there is a massive push to get the world to use digital currencies. So this may change drastically. We can’t tell; perhaps one day, there may even be one currency that is stable enough to diminish all doubts about what currency is the most reliable.
Many economists argue that real-estate and farmland are the only real assets today. The first thing allows you to keep warm and sheltered and provides lots of key infrastructure. The other lets you grow the food you can live on despite terrible British inflation.
Principles To Handle Your Cash - Hosted By Ray Dalio
To end this discussion on the best digital banks, let's give you some fundamental bread-and-butter principles to chew on so that you can consider them when using your chosen ideal digital bank.
Indeed, let’s look at the Principles by Ray Dalio. This is an excellent possible recommendation by a billionaire financial investor and manager.
The book focuses on decision-making, improving the quality of your life by first considering the quality of your decisions. Ray Dalio has been astonishingly successful, as measured by external and intrinsic metrics. Externally, he is a billionaire and incredibly famous. Internally, he dedicated himself to meaningful work and has deep relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. His book was published in his late sixties, which he says will probably be the last meaningful thing he has to say. He wants to help people now more than he seeks to be successful himself.
Reasons for the book also include as a guide to his employees at Bridgewater, who he wants to offer fundamental financial principles for decision-making and giving future employees the ability to succeed and thrive without his presence. For others, he seeks to help them do meaningful work and develop meaningful relationships, which he believes are the two most significant indicators of success.
Meaningful work and meaningful work are the two best principles anyone can focus on.
Ray, however, encourages readers to go through his principles with an open mind, not feeling obligated to adopt every principle. Indeed, he asks every reader to consider whether they apply and which, if any, to adopt. He seeks discovery for his readers so that they can grow their principles and discover what will best improve their decision-making and lives.
Principle 1: Embrace Reality, Deal With It.
If you don’t confront a situation's vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and difficulties, you’re turning a blind eye. This is a form of delusion. To embrace reality, we should consider how truth and its rules and laws function in life and nature. For instance, any form of gluttony leads to bad outcomes. To deal with reality, we must take responsibility for what we focus on rather than complaining about what we don’t control.
Principle 2: Follow These 5 Steps To Achieve What You Want From Life.
- Use clear goals.
- Be aware of what obstacles are in your way.
- Accurately know what is at the root of these obstacles.
- Grow plans that can navigate these obstacles.
- Keep faith and keep moving forward to confront and overcome.
Principle 3: Be Extremely Open-Minded.
Your ego is a function of many things, arguably the amygdala in your brain. Overcoming your ego requires pain. You must consciously be aware of your ego, which becomes easier with practice. Being radically open-minded means that you don’t focus on winning the argument; instead, you focus on discovering the reality, the truth, even if this means you are wrong. You should also be able to have thoughtful and non-explosive disagreements with others instead of being highly emotional and unproductive.
Principle 4: Be Aware That We Are All Wired Differently.
Sometimes very different. Seek to understand the strengths and weaknesses of you and others. It’s the same for physical attributes; we have different mental abilities too. Knowing about yourself and others means you can better predict their actions and learn how to move forward.
Ray advises that you always ask for help from others in areas where you’re at your weakest because this skill can be developed and safeguards you against doing what isn’t best for you. Here are five types of personalities to be aware of:
- Goal setters – Visionaries, good at high-level abstractions.
- Problem seekers – Detective, great eye for what’s happening at the moment.
- Root cause finder – Logical-minded and analytical.
- Designers – Solution creators; they architect and are practical and visual.
- Doer and tracker – Very time oriented, a steady Taskmaster with strong self-disciple and result minded.
Once again, people have different physical traits, and they also differ in their psychological characteristics. By seeking out varying perspectives, we arrive closer to reality. The closer we know ourselves, the more we can see our blind spots and learn our limitations and places for improvement or acceptance. The better we understand others, the more we can harmonise and predict how things will turn out.
To learn more about himself and others, Ray uses the following many psychometric tests:
- The Workplace Personality Inventory
- Stratified Systems Theory
- Team Dimensions Profile
Principle 5: Understand Decision-Making
If you work from principles, then you have systematic decision-making. Principles batch together different situations so you can easily recommend one as “just another one of those” situations requiring so-and-so principle. Logic also helps to let you be aware of reality rather than being sucked into emotional delusions. For a good deal of decisions, we should seek help from others who know much about the topic, although detecting a poser from a truther can be challenging.
Good awareness also requires being hyper-connected to the big picture. If you lose sight of why you’re doing something, it’s easy to end up doing something with more negatives than an alternative action or a much lower upside.
Read below to explore some of the questions people have when choosing from the best digital banks.
Which Is The Best Online Bank In The UK?
The best online bank for you will depend on the features, usability, and functions you require. However, here is a summary of the best online banks and their top features:
Starling Bank – Most comprehensive offering.
Monzo – Most savings account options.
Revolut – Ideal for diversifying between banks in the UK.
Wise – Best for foreign transactions.
Depending on your personal accounts and requirements, one of the above digital banking options will likely meet your needs.
What Is A Digital Bank?
Digital banking is similar to traditional banking. However, it allows you to manage your account and access financial services for your bank accounts online or using a mobile application. Opting for a digital bank account can also help you to manage your money across countries more easily. With traditional banks, managing your money from another country can come with transaction fees and other expenses associated with international transfers.
Can You Get Digital Business Accounts With Online Banks?
Yes. You can access digital business accounts with a digital bank account. You can manage your business expenses, monthly overheads, and overseas spending from anywhere using your mobile device by choosing a digital current account for your business.