Revolut vs Starling – Which Digital Finance App Is The Best in 2024?

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At Generation Money our purpose is to help you make better financial decisions. All of our articles are independently written and/or edited by finance professionals and adhere to strict editorial guidelines. This post may contain links which, if clicked, could result in a payment to the site. These links never impact our editorial policy and all rankings and product recommendations remain unbiased. For more details, read how this site is financed.

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Revolut logo vs Starling logo

This is our independent comparison of Revolut vs Starling to find out which of these two digital finance apps is best.

Revolut and Starling are two of the leading platforms in the digital current account market in the UK, along with Monzo and Monese. In this article I’ll be putting Revolut and Starling head-to-head on a range of metrics to see which comes out on top. You can see how Revolut compares to Monzo by reading my Revolut vs Monzo comparison. To find out how Starling compares to Monzo, read my Monzo vs Starling comparison.

I worked in banking for a decade, and have both a Revolut and Starling account which I’ve tested and used to go into detail for this comparison.

Read on for our rundown of Revolut vs Starling, or use the links below to skip ahead to the section you’re most interested in:

You can also read our in-depth reviews of each platform here:

Revolut vs Starling – Which is better? At A Glance

Here are the key points you need to know from my Revolut vs Starling comparison.

RevolutStarling
UK regulated bankcrosstick
FSCS protectioncrosstick
Basic free accountticktick
Subscription-based accountstick 3 optionsN/A – Free
Business accountsticktick
Joint accountscrosstick
Under 18s accountsticktick
Multi-currency accountstickcross
Cash & cheque depositscrossFree up to £1k per year, then 0.7% fee
Fee-free spending abroadUp to £1k per month, 0.5% thereaftertick
Fee-free cash withdrawals abroad and in the UKFree up to £200 per month, 2% fee thereaftertickNo limits
International payments/transfersticktick
Interest on current account balancecrosstick0.05%
Access to interest-earning savings accountsticktick
Multi-currency savings accountstickcross
Rewards & discountstickVia marketplace
Money management featuresticktick
InsurancetickVia marketplace
Round-up spendingticktick
Bill splittingticktick
Overdraftcrosstick
Personal loancrosscross
Buy Now, Pay Latercrosscross
Early payday – 1 day earlytickcross
Early payday – day of your choosingtickcross
Invest in stocks & sharestickThrough Wealthify via marketplace
Invest in commoditiestickcross
Invest in cryptocurrenciestickcross
24/7 customer supportRevolut Plus/Premium/Metal onlytick
Phone customer supportcrosstick
Apple/Google Pay integrationsticktick
Samsung Pay integrationcrosstick
Connect other bank accounts to the apptickcross
Cheque imaging servicecrosstick
Current account switch servicecrosstick

Both Revolut and Starling offer a range of features, but Revolut edges it for its sheer number of features. It has insurance options (for subscription accounts), more cashback rewards, multi-currency accounts and savings, and a host of money management features. 

So if you want a digital finance app with a comprehensive set of features all in one place, then Revolut is probably for you. To access all of Revolut’s features though, you will need to pay for one of its subscription-based accounts.

Starling offers more in the way of traditional banking, though. You can pay in cash and cheques, unlike with Revolut, including cheque imaging which allows you to deposit a cheque through the app. And as Starling is a fully regulated UK bank, you get FSCS protection on your balances plus the option of taking out an overdraft facility.

You’ll also get customer support over the phone with Starling, rather than just through in-app chat. On top of that, it’s also part of the Current Account Switch Service so you can switch your existing bank account over to Starling without much hassle. So if you want a digital bank that retains traditional banking features then you will prefer Starling.

Starling has completely fee-free debit card spending abroad and cash withdrawals, both without any limits. This beats Revolut, which charges 2% on cash withdrawals above £200 (higher limits for its subscription accounts) and 0.5% on debit card spending abroad above £1k per month.

Another important factor for you to consider is whether you will want to invest through your digital current account app. You can do so with Revolut but not directly with Starling. With Revolut you can invest in stocks and shares, commodities and cryptocurrencies all through your Revolut app. Cryptoassets are volatile and not regulated or protected by investor compensation schemes – value can go down or up. Trading may be subject to tax. Fees payable.

Starling does, however, have a personal finance marketplace that you can access through its app. This connects you to a range of 3rd party financial products and services providers, including Wealthify, the robo-advisor. Read more about Wealthify in our Wealthify review

Allowing you to connect to these external providers means that Starling is able to offer a comprehensive range of personal finance products and services, although you will need to sign up for these separately.

Revolut is best for:

  • Investing features
  • Number of features
  • Multi-currency accounts
  • Insurance (subscription accounts only)
  • Not getting into debt

Starling is best for:

  • Safety, as Starling has FSCS protection and is a regulated UK bank
  • Customer service
  • Overdrafts
  • Paying in cash & cheques
  • No monthly fees to access its features

Revolut vs Starling – Accounts

Revolut offers a free basic account as well as 3 additional subscription-based accounts which have various extra features and benefits. Starling, on the other hand, has only one personal current account offering which has all features included with no monthly fees. They also both offer business accounts and accounts for under 18s, with some differences.

Below outlines the offering of each digital finance app:

RevolutStarling
Personal Account (free)ticktick
Personal Account (premium)tick (3 options)N/A – Starling personal account is free
Business Accountticktick
Junior/Teen Accounttick (6-17 year olds)tick (Kite for 6-16 year olds, Teen for 16-17 year olds)
Multi-currency Accounttickcross
Joint Accountcrosstick

Revolut has 4 personal account options:

  • Standard – Free
  • Plus – £2.99 per month
  • Premium – £6.99 per month
  • Metal – £12.99 per month

The Standard account provides the least in the way of features and products included, and also has higher fees and lower limits for things like cash withdrawals and currency exchanges. Each level of subscription from the Plus to Metal account gives you more features and products, lower transaction fees and higher limits. You can read more about the different Revolut account types in my Revolut review.

With Revolut Premium and Metal accounts, you’ll get various types of insurance cover and discounts included. Packaged accounts with insurance bundled in, like this, for a monthly fee are increasingly common in the UK banking space. If you’re someone who wants to have different types of insurance included together in one place with your current account then Revolut is a good option for you.

Starling does not have subscription based personal accounts – instead it offers a free account to all customers, which includes all the personal account features that Starling offers. Your Starling account comes with lots of features too, such as money management, international transfers, access to fixed savings accounts and more. Read more below on the various account features.

If you want to open a joint account, then you can do so with Starling but not Revolut. So if the option of opening a joint account is important to you then you may prefer Starling.

Another useful Starling feature is that it’s part of the Current Account Switch Service, which many banks are signed up to. This is a hassle-free way of switching your main current account to a new bank, and many UK banks are signed up to it. This includes switching over any direct debits, your salary and regular payments. Your old bank will take care of closing down your existing bank account once the switch goes through.

Revolut is not a regulated UK bank and does not offer this switching service. If you want to switch from your existing bank account and not have the hassle of manually setting up payments and salary details with your new account, then Starling is the winner.

However, Revolut offers a built-in multi-currency account as part of its basic account. This will be useful for you if you want to make transactions and send or receive money in multiple currencies.

Starling does not currently offer foreign currency accounts, although it did previously offer a EUR account. So if you want the ability to have accounts in multiple currencies then you’ll prefer Revolut. Read more below on international payments and spending abroad.

Revolut offers a business account with different account plans for different sized businesses. Starling also offers a business account and a sole trader account. 

Both Revolut and Starling have accounts for under 18s. Revolut’s <18 account can be used by anyone aged 6 to 17 and must be approved by a parent or guardian, who must have a Revolut account themselves. You’ll need one of Revolut’s subscription-based accounts to open more than one under 18s account. 

Starling offers a Teen account for 16-17 year olds which is very similar to its standard current account. It restricts age-related spending automatically, and you cannot get an overdraft with it. Other than that it’s very similar to a standard personal account for the user.

There’s also an account for children called a Starling Kite account. It’s essentially a debit card and app for children aged 6 to 16, which is controlled and funded by their parents or guardian. The first month is free then it costs £2 per month and the app has money management features aimed at helping your child learn about spending and saving.

Revolut is best for:

  • Multi-currency users
  • Packaged accounts for different needs

Starling is best for:

  • Joint accounts
  • Hassle-free account switching
  • No-fee personal accounts

Revolut vs Starling – Fees

There are various fees and charges associated with different account types for Revolut. Starling also has fees for its various transactions and products. The main fees and charges are summarised below:

RevolutStarling
Basic current accountFREEFREE
Subscription-based accounts£2.99 / £6.99 / £12.99 per monthN/A – FREE
Debit card spending abroadFree up to £1,000 per month, 0.5% fee above thisNo fee
International transfersFor Standard & Plus accounts: Free up to £1,000, 0.5% above £1,000

For Premium and Metal accounts: No fees
0.4% fee plus delivery fee
ATM withdrawals abroadFree up to:
£200/month or 5 withdrawals for Standard
£200/month for Plus
£400/month for Premium
£800/month for Metal
2% fee thereafter
FREE
ATM withdrawals in the UKFree up to:
£200/month or 5 withdrawals for Standard
£200/month for Plus
£400/month for Premium
£800/month for Metal
2% fee thereafter
FREE
UK bank transfersFREEFREE
Cash & cheque depositsNot allowed£1k per year free, 0.7% fee thereafter
Overdraft interest rateN/A15% / 25% / 35% APR
Loan interest rateN/A but fee based early payday feature – see belowN/A
Replacement debit cards£5 plus delivery fee£5 in the UK or £10 if lost abroad

Which is cheaper out of Revolut vs Starling will depend on the type of account you choose with Revolut and which features you want to use with either.

For spending abroad, Starling is cheaper if you spend more than £1k per month as Revolut charges a 0.5% fee above this. Withdrawing cash is also cheaper with Starling as it doesn’t charge any fees or have any limits at all. 

For international transfers though, Revolut tends to be cheaper. If you’re on one of Revolut’s subscription accounts then you’ll get even cheaper transfer rates too. Starling charges a 0.4% fee on all foreign exchange transfers, as well as a delivery fee of around £5.50.

You’ll need to decide if paying for one of Revolut’s subscription based accounts is worth it based on your individual usage. A Metal account (£12.99 per month) has the highest fee-free cash withdrawal limits, the lowest transfer and investing fees and comes with bundled insurance packages. It may be worth the cost if you think you’ll make use of all the features it comes with, otherwise you may prefer signing up to insurance and investing products separately.

Revolut is best for:

  • International transfers (its rates often beat those of Wise)
  • Investing (you’re unable to invest with Starling)
  • Packaged accounts

Starling is best for:

  • Spending abroad on your debit card
  • Withdrawing cash
  • Depositing cash and cheques (you are unable to do so with Revolut)
  • Fee-free personal account including all features

Revolut vs Starling – Spending Abroad

You’re able to spend abroad using your debit card with both Revolut and Starling. You’ll get the usual app features when you do so on both platforms too, such as spending notifications and breakdowns.

Overall though, Starling beats Revolut when it comes to spending abroad. It charges no fees and has no limits on debit card spending or withdrawing cash abroad, whereas Revolut does:

RevolutStarling
Debit card spending abroadFree up to £1,000 per month, 0.5% fee above this
Weekend mark-ups apply to all plans
FREE
ATM withdrawals abroadFree up to:
£200/month or 5 withdrawals for Standard
£200/month for Plus
£400/month for Premium
£800/month for Metal
2% fee thereafter
All plans: Third party providers may change a withdrawal fee. Weekend fees may apply
FREE

Revolut uses the real exchange rate, sometimes referred to as the interbank exchange rate, when pricing spending abroad while Starling uses the MasterCard exchange rate, but there’s very little difference between them.

Starling is better for:

  • Debit card spending abroad
  • Withdrawing cash abroad

Revolut vs Starling – International Payments

Sending money abroad, or making international transfers, can be done via the app with both  Revolut and Starling.

RevolutStarling
International transfersFor Standard & Plus accounts: Free up to £1,000, 0.5% above £1,000

For Premium and Metal accounts: No fees
0.4% fee plus a delivery fee (around £5.50)

Revolut offers very competitive rates on most major currencies, often beating Wise for smaller amounts. For Premium and Metal customers, there are no fees at all. 

Starling, on the other hand, charges a 0.4% fee on all international transfers plus a delivery fee of £5.50. This makes Revolut the winner when it comes to international transfers.

Revolut is best for:

  • Lowest cost international payments

Revolut vs Starling – Which Is Safer?

Starling is a licensed UK bank, authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority – the UK’s bank regulator which sits within the Bank of England. This means that Starling must comply with stringent regulations around protecting customers’ money and treating customers fairly.

As well as being regulated by the PRA, Starling is also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if you are unable to resolve a dispute with Starling directly. 

You’ll also get Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection with Starling, which means your deposits up to £85k are protected with them. 

Revolut is not a licensed bank in the UK yet, although it’s currently going through the application process to obtain a banking licence. It is, however, still regulated by the FCA as an e-money institution and must safeguard your money under FCA guidelines. More on this in our Revolut review.

You won’t get FSCS protection with Revolut either. So if you’re concerned about safety, then you will prefer Starling as it’s a regulated UK bank with FSCS protection on your deposits. 

Starling Bank is the only ‘challenger’ bank to have signed up to the Lending Standards Board’s Voluntary Contingent Reimbursement Model Code on Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams. In our view, this makes it the safest of all the UK ‘challenger’ banks.

Starling is best for:

  • FSCS protection
  • Fully licensed UK bank
  • APP scam protection

Revolut vs Starling – Which Has The Best App?

Both apps are user-friendly and present the key information you want to see quite clearly. Although it can sometimes be difficult to find the feature you’re looking for in Revolut’s app given the sheer number of features that it has.

I particularly like the Net Worth summary on the Revolut home screen in its app. This combines your account balances with any net investment positions you have across stocks, commodities and shares in the Revolut app. So if you keep cash, investments and savings all in Revolut, you can easily see your overall net worth. 

Starling’s app is simple and clear in its layout. It’s neatly organised into 5 tabs at the bottom to access the key features, with a settings icon in the top-right of the home screen. Under settings, you can access the personal finance marketplace, initiate a current account switch and deposit cheques.

Revolu is best for:

  • Accessing lots of in-app features

Starling is best for:

  • Simplicity

Revolut vs Starling – Which Has The Best Features?

Both Revolut and Starling offer a wide range of useful features as part of their account offerings. Overall though, Revolut is the winner in my view when it comes to the best features. These include saving, budgeting and spending features, as well as add-ons such as cashback and insurance depending on your account type.

Revolut also lets you invest and trade through its app. These wealth-building features are a key stand out for Revolut and if you want to be able to invest from your phone then you will prefer Revolut over Starling.

You can’t invest directly with Starling, but you can access 3rd party products and services through its personal finance marketplace. These include Wealthify, one of the best robo-advisors in the UK, and pensions services such as Penfold and PensionBee.

Unlike Revolut, Starling allows you to open an overdraft which is a more traditional bank account feature. So if you like the idea of having an overdraft with your bank account then you may prefer Starling to Revolut. 

Revolut does have some, limited borrowing options though through its early payday features – more on this below.

Both Revolut and Starling have Apple and Google Pay integrations, so you can link your accounts to your mobile wallets on your phone. Only Starling has Samsung Pay integration though, so if you have a Samsung mobile phone then you may prefer Starling for this reason.

Revolut is best for:

  • Trading and investing
  • Wider range of integrated features
  • Multi-currency savings accounts
  • Discounts, cashback (T&Cs apply) and rewards (with Plus/Metal accounts)

Starling is best for:

  • Overdrafts
  • Access to 3rd party services through its personal finance marketplace
  • Paying in cheques in-app
  • Samsung Pay
  • Safety

Revolut vs Starling – Borrowing, Loans & Overdrafts

Revolut does not offer traditional loans or overdrafts in the UK (it does in certain European jurisdictions). It does, however, have an ‘early payday’ feature. There are two options to get your payday early.

The first is called Early Salary and allows you to get paid one day before your usual pay date. This feature is free and is something that Monzo, a rival digital bank, also has. Getting paid one day early isn’t perhaps the most useful or exciting feature though.

Secondly, you can choose the On-Demand Pay option which allows you to get your usual monthly salary paid early to you on any day of the month prior to your usual payday. Revolut may charge a fee for this, particularly if you’re not on one of its subscription based accounts. 

While these aren’t borrowing features in the traditional sense, the On-Demand Pay feature acts in a similar way. You get access to cash and instead of charging interest, Revolut can charge a fee. This is clearly a short-term option and is useful if you find yourself needing to bridge the gap between paydays. As it’s fee-based you also won’t need to worry about compound interest building up.

Starling does not offer these early payday services but it does offer an overdraft. Overdrafts are available up to £5,000 at interest rates of 15% / 25% / 35% depending on your individual circumstances. You will need to apply to Starling Bank and undergo a hard check on your credit history to get an overdraft. If you want the option to apply for an overdraft, you’ll prefer Starling over Revolut.

RevolutStarling
Overdraftscrosstick
Personal Loanscrosscross
Business Loanscrosstick
Buy Now, Pay Latercrosscross
Early Payday – 1 Day Earlyticktick
Early Payday – A day of your choosingtickcross

Neither Staring or Revolut currently offer personal loans. Revolut is still in the stages of applying for its UK banking licence so we may see overdrafts and loans added to Revolut’s borrowing options in the UK if and when it gets approved.

Revolut is best for:

  • Getting paid earlier in the month than usual on a day of your choosing
  • Not getting into debt

Starling is best for:

  • Access to an overdraft

Revolut vs Starling – Who Has The Best Customer Service?

Starling offers 24/7 customer service and two ways to get in touch – via in-app chat and by phone. My experience of contacting Starling customer support when I had an issue with ID verification during the account setup process was positive. I phoned customer service and was speaking to an agent within about 20 seconds (around midday on a weekday) who was very helpful and professional.

Revolut also has an in-app chat service with limited hours for its free account customers and 24/7 for subscription account holders. You’ll also get priority support if you’re a Plus, Premium or Metal account holder. I’ve personally not had any issues with Revolut’s customer support either.

You may get more peace of mind with Starling vs Revolut because you can contact customer service 24/7 and via phone if necessary. In particular, if you want to be able to speak to someone on the phone, you’ll prefer Starling over Revolut.

In December 2022, there was some publicity around the way in which Revolut allegedly treated some customers who claimed to be the victim of fraud. You can read more on this in our Revolut review.

As mentioned above, Starling is part of the voluntary code on APP scams and will compensate customers if they’ve been a victim.

Revolut is best for:

  • Priority support for subscription account holders

Starling is best for:

  • Speaking to customer support on the phone
  • 24/7 support for all customers
  • APP scam protection

Revolut vs Starling – Customer Reviews

Revolut’s and Starling’s Trustpilot and Apple App store ratings are below:

Trustpilot:

  • Revolut 4.3/5 
  • Starling 4.3/5

App Store:

  • Revolut 5/5
  • Starling 4.9/5

Based on Trustpilot reviews, Revolut and Starling both have a rating of 4.3/5. They also both have around 75% of reviews rated as ‘Excellent’.

Positive Revolut reviews tend to praise the number of features that Revolut has. Some of the more negative reviews mention long waiting times to complete Know Your Customer (KYC) checks before they can set up an account.

For Starling, positive reviews frequently comment on the useful features and great customer support. Some of the negative reviews talk about payments being rejected due to fraud prevention when they shouldn’t have been. In some reviews, customers talk about the initial account set up process taking longer than they would like.

Overall, there is little to choose between Revolut vs Starling when it comes to customer reviews.

Revolut vs Starling – Final Verdict

Starling is best for those who want an app-based digital bank that retains the features and products you would expect from a traditional bank. These include FSCS protection, customer support over the phone and the option to apply for an overdraft. Starling combines this with a host of features around spending and money management that you would also expect from a digital challenger bank.

Through Starling you’ll have access to its personal finance marketplace, which is a unique feature among digital banks. It allows you to sign up to a range of 3rd party financial services providers, including the likes of Wealthify, PensionBee and Habito. 

This means you have access to a comprehensive set of personal finance options at your fingertips. Starling is therefore a great choice iIf you’re time-poor and don’t want to shop around for various personal finance products individually. It’s always good to shop around if time allows, though, to ensure you get the best price and service for your needs.

For spending abroad, Starling edges Revolut due to the total lack of fees and limits, including on cash withdrawals abroad. Having said that, if you’re planning to spend or withdraw a smaller amount of money abroad, you’re unlikely to be charged fees with Revolut either.

Revolut is best for those who want to be able to trade and invest from the same app as their current account, as well as wanting access to the widest range of digital features. Currently, Revolut is the only digital finance app that combines personal bank account features with the ability to trade in stocks and shares, commodities and cryptocurrencies.

You can also have accounts in multiple currencies, make low-cost international payments and access savings accounts in different currencies with Revolut. So if having the widest range of digital finance features is important to you, then you’ll prefer Revolut. 

In our view, Starling is the best digital bank for a personal current account at the moment as it has great built-in features, FSCS protection and doesn’t charge any monthly fees. I prefer using dedicated investment platforms for my own investing, so while some will like the fact that you can invest through Revolut, it’s not a feature that’s important to me when choosing a digital bank account.

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