Bank Accounts and why I have gone with a mobile-only bank!

Have you heard of the latest bank accounts that are just an app on your phone?

Well, if you haven’t, take a look – they are changing the way we bank and it’s amazing!

I myself have converted to Starling Bank, although I did consider Monzo as both of these are the top two choices of these new mobile-only bank accounts and are regulated in the UK by the FCA. 

There are others coming on board too, N26 and U are two of those and others are arriving by the day it seems (but I can’t comment on these as I have no knowledge of them).

So why do I use it?  Well, my reasons are growing as they bring out more and more fantastic features, but here are a few of the main points:

As you know, myself and my husband are working on our debts using the Dave Ramsey method and this is exactly what we needed as it works perfectly with this method.

There are some things that you must be aware of though:

  • You must open a personal account each and then you can open a joint account.
  • You have to have the funds in the account before you can pay anything.  If you have any standing orders or direct debits that are due come out, funds must be in there very early that day as they come out in real-time, so there is no chance to add funds to cover them before 2pm for instance, if the funds are not there, the bills are not paid.
  • Pay-at-Pump options – my card does not work at these because it is an instant payment and you don’t know how much you are spending.  As they only request £1 at the pump initially, there has been a lot of fraud (people using a card with £1 available balance on it and then it bounces for the full amount).  I understand that it is being looked at because of the fraud and Starling are working with fuel companies to ensure that this will be possible soon.
  • Overdrafts – I don’t have one, but if you do, these are only available on a personal account, although they are looking at putting them on joint accounts soon.

I have had my account now for around 4 months and can honestly say that it’s been life changing – customer service alone is just brilliant but I have only needed them a couple of times, just to check how to do some things, as everything is dealt with on the app.

We have just returned from Germany and all my transactions were free of fees, which is brilliant – both spending and withdrawing cash and was recommended by Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert fame as a great tool if you are going abroad.

I pay bills easily, no machines needed to verify and type in various codes, just enter the details of who you are paying and a password that you have set up.  If you prefer, you can use Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay & Fitbit Pay and you can pay friends in seconds if they are also using Starling – going dutch on that meal?  no worries, just send the money to them using ‘Settle Up!’.

Think you’ve lost your card or you may have left it in a friends house but can’t get hold of them – what do you do?  Phoning the bank means cancelling your card and waiting for a new one, with Starling you can lock your card so it can’t be used and then go have a look in all the places where you think it may be (including the washing bin, I’ve done that before!) and then unlock it once you find it,  if not, order a new one from your phone, nice and simple!

But the two areas that I love the most are ‘Spaces’ or ‘Goals’ depending on which phone you have and a brand new feature ’rounding up’.

Goals help you save towards something that you are looking to get or in our case, sinking funds for things like Christmas or Car Maintenance.  You set up as many savings pots as you like (or as they like to call them, ‘Digital Change Jars’) you can then set a goal amount you want to save if you want and add a snazzy picture to see at a glance what it is you want – then just add money from your account with the swipe and tap of your phone!  This alone has changed how I save.  Seeing the money there and easily accessible if I want it has been amazing – I don’t even like to touch it, but when I need it, like now for Christmas, it’s there – I love it!

The new feature that has literally just come out is called ‘Round-Up’ and it is saving on auto-pilot.  You pick one of your savings goals, tick the box and every time you spend money on your card, it rounds it up and adds the difference to your savings!  So, spend £4.75, it adds 25p to your savings pot, spend £78.23, off goes 77p to your savings pot…  Literally watched £1.35 go into my savings today after 3 spends – I won’t even notice these but I bet it soon mounts up!

As I write this, these are a few key facts (but these may change):

  • Minimum monthly pay-in: None
  • In-credit interest: 0.5% AER variable on up to £2,000, 0.25% between £2,000 and £85,000 (obviously interest rates are always changeable)
  • How to get the app: Download for iOS (rated 4.8/5) or Android (rated 4.2/5)
  • Member of CASS? Yes
  • Does it credit check? Yes
  • Overseas fees: None

There really is so much you can do, and although I am singing the praises of *Starling Bank, I know Monzo can do similar things and both are worth checking out as you shouldn’t just take my word for it, make sure you do your own due-diligence.

*PLEASE NOTE:  I do NOT have shares in Starling (although I kind of wish I did) nor am I in any way receiving any benefits or provided any affiliate links on this post!

Whatever you decide, as I’ve said, please do your own due-diligence, you should always check things out for yourself, weigh up the pros and cons of how this will work for you and see what else is out there, but times they are a changin’ as Bob Dylan once said and this is definitely a sign of good things to come!

Have a lovely weekend, best wishes as always,

2 thoughts on “Bank Accounts and why I have gone with a mobile-only bank!

  1. This is really interesting! I love the goals section and the round-up feature is very neat. Do you know if Starling Bank is available in the US? I love the features that their app provides.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Brandon, unfortunately not, you need a UK postcode, but I know they are looking at it – it may be worth contacting them and maybe being able to get on some kind of beta test run? However, I’m sure that there are US versions. I believe there is a company called Moven, but from what I have read, it is because of the US e-payment system which is different from ours, but I could be wrong.


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