Check out our comprehensive guide to the best UK bank accounts for kids and teens, including digital alternatives and savings accounts too.
Looking for a new bank account? If you prefer the convenience of banking on your laptop or mobile, an online account could be the right option for you.
But which is the best online bank account in the UK? Read on to find out, as we’ve put together a list of the main contenders. We’ll look at the likes of Chase, Revolut, Monzo and more, with helpful info on features, interest and benefits.
We’ll also look at an alternative from the money services provider Wise – the Wise account. It’s not a bank account, but a powerful online account which lets you manage your money in 40+ currencies.
An online bank account is a current account that is only available and accessible digitally. With this kind of account, you’ll only be able to manage it by logging into online banking on your laptop/desktop computer, or by downloading the provider’s mobile banking app.
Providers usually don’t have any physical branches, and some don’t offer phone banking either.
It used to be the case that online accounts were only offered by digital challenger banks. These are innovative financial technology companies who aim to challenge the traditional system of banking with their digital accounts and services. They have now become hugely popular, and have entered the mainstream of UK banking.
However, a number of traditional UK banks have also started to offer online and app-based accounts too.
- Convenience - there’s no need to visit a branch or call the bank, as you can do everything online or on the mobile app
- High-tech app features such as smart insights and budgeting tools
- Opening a new account is quick and easy - with no paperwork.
- Access and manage your money from anywhere in the world.
- Not ideal for those who prefer face-to-face banking, or depositing in cash
- Some providers of online-only accounts and money apps aren’t licensed UK banks, which could mean fewer protections (such as FSCS protection) in case the provider goes bust.
To find the best account for your needs, it’s worth considering the following factors:
- Features, tools, benefits and extras
- Whether there’s an initial or monthly fee
- Whether your money is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
- Reviews of the provider’s customer service and mobile app from previous customers
- Security and data protection measures.
|📚 Read more: How to open a bank account in the United Kingdom (UK)?
Now, let’s have a look into the best online banks and accounts available in the UK right now.
Here’s an at-a-glance comparison of your options, and we’ll cover all of them in more detail later.
|In-credit interest rate (AER)*
|Kroo Current Account¹
|Yes - 24.9% APR variable
|Fee-free spending abroad
|Revolut Standard Account²
|Up to 2.29%
|International transfers + currency exchange
|Monzo Current Account³
|Yes - 39% APR variable
|Smart spending and saving tools
|Starling Bank Personal Current Account⁴
|Yes - 15% APR variable
|In-app money management tools
|Chase Current Account⁵
|Cashback on bills and spending
|Monese Instant Account⁶
|Easy account opening (no credit checks)
* Rate as of 1st November 2023.
Read on for everything you need to know about each of the online accounts listed above, from features and perks to interest rates and apps.
The Kroo Bank current account is a pretty attractive prospect, offering in-credit interest, an overdraft and fee-free overseas spending on your debit card. It’s all for no monthly or initial fee.¹
Here’s the full list of features:¹
- 4.35% AER variable interest (paid monthly) on balances up to £500,000
- No Kroo fees for overseas purchases on your debit card
- Overdraft (subject to eligibility) with a single rate of 24.9% APR
- Real-time transaction notifications
- Shared expenses feature for splitting bills.
It’s a fully app-based account, so you’ll need to download the Kroo app in order to manage your money.
Kroo is a fully licensed UK bank, with deposit protection from the FSCS up to £85,000 a person.¹
One of the big names in the digital account world globally, Revolut has a number of account plans available. Some have a monthly fee in exchange for lots of extra features, including travel perks and insurance.
But here, we’ll be focusing on its free Standard account. It has no monthly fees, and offers:²
- Fee-free ATM withdrawals up to £200 a month (5 withdrawals max.)
- Up to 2.29% AER interest on savings
- International transfers - send money in 29+ currencies
- Currency exchange up to £1,000 a month with no additional fees (Mon to Fri)
- Up to 3% cashback on accommodation bookings with Revolut Stays.
You’ll get a Revolut Mebit card, and a virtual one to use while you’re waiting for it to arrive. As well as ordinary banking features, the account also offers the option to trade commodities, if that’s something you’re interested in.²
An important thing to note though is that Revolut doesn’t yet have its UK banking licence yet. This means that your money is not FSCS protected.
An alternative to Revolut which works in a similar way, Monzo also offers a number of paid plans with extra features. Monzo is also partnered with Wise for international payments. But again, here we’ll focus on the free Monzo Current Account.³
It does have FSCS protection, along with savings interest and an overdraft. Here’s a list of the best features:³
- 4.10% AER variable interest on balances up to £100,000 in a Personal Instant Access Savings Pot, paid monthly
- Fee-free UK transfers
- Smart money management tools, including Pots for separating money, instant notifications and spending categories.
- Overdraft (subject to eligibility) with a 39% APR variable rate.
|📚 Read more: How to make international payments with Monzo: A guide
This current account from Starling Bank offers FSCS protection, no fees for spending overseas and an interest rate of** 3.25% AER variable on balances up to £5,000**.⁴
You’ll also get all of these features too:⁴
- Smart tools and insights in the Starling Bank mobile app, such as virtual change jars, categorised spending insights and instant payment notifications
- International transfers
- Overdraft (subject to eligibility) with a rate of 15% APR
- 24/7 support.
The account is free to open, and has no monthly fees. You can manage it either online or in the Starling Bank app.⁴
The Chase Current Account offers in-credit monthly interest of 1% AER, along with cashback and linked savings. The full list of features includes:⁵
- 1% cashback on everyday debit card spending for a year
- Access to a linked easy-access savings account paying 4.1% AER variable
- 5% AER boost on ‘round-up’ pot savings.
There are no monthly fees or minimum deposit requirements, and you’ll also be able to use your Chase debit card abroad without paying any Chase fees.⁵
|📚 Read more: Chase Bank review - accounts, cards, fees and more
Monese offers an instant mobile money account via its popular app. You can choose to have your account in GBP, EUR or RON, and can use it to make and receive payments, set up direct debits and do everything you’d use a standard bank account for.⁶
There are no initial or monthly fees either (although you can upgrade to a paid plan for more features).⁶
With Monese, you’ll get the following features:⁶
- A contactless debit Mastercard
- Fast international transfers
- Smart budgeting and money management tools
- Savings pots.
Its most attractive feature is its quick and easy account opening, with no credit checks required. However, Monese isn’t FSCS protected, doesn’t pay any in-credit interest and doesn’t offer overdrafts.⁶
Of course, a bank account isn’t the only way to manage your money. And it’s hardly ever the cheapest option for multi-currency and international transactions.
If you’re looking for an alternative, check out the Wise account. It’s not a bank account, but it does offer many of the same features.
You can open and manage your Wise account online, and via the handy Wise mobile app. In just a few clicks or taps, you can securely send money worldwide for low fees and mid-market exchange rates. And you can spend in 150+ countries using a truly international debit card – the Wise card.
Sources used for this article:
- Kroo - Current Account
- Revolut - Standard account
- Monzo - Current account
- Starling Bank - Current account
- Chase - Chase Account
- Monese - Instant account
Sources checked on 1-Nov-2023.
This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.
We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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