Long gone is the era of queuing up in banks, speaking to customer assistants and tedious cumbersome paperwork. One marked change that has been the buzzword and the new characteristic of the last decade and continues to make waves in the industry is the rise of challenger digital banks.
With fintech experimentation and evolved customer experience, these emerging neo banks are broadening the competitive digital banking playing field in the UK. A step into the future, they are 100% digital and hence, have proven to be popular and disruptive within the fintech industry.
As these players allow people to take control of their finances and make better decisions, they are using cashless payments, blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and customers’ preference for mobile banking to increase penetration within and outside the UK market.
Catalysing the banking sector and showing huge market share growth in just a few years, the three biggest players in the field in the UK, namely Wise, Monzo and Revolut have also been in the news in the past few weeks for raising monster funding. While their objective of disrupting the traditional banking sector might be the same, these players are utilising new innovative and different strategies to achieve the same.
So, who offers the best deals? Who offers the lowest fees? Which one of these gives the best exchange rates to use at home and which one is better for transactions around the world? We bring you a comparison of Wise vs Monzo vs Revolut offerings and uncover their pros and cons:
Founders: Nikolay Storonsky, Vlad Yatsenko
Total funding: $1.7B
Becoming the flag bearer for the London fintech scene, the digital bank announced its massive funding earlier this month, where it was valued at $33 billion to become UK’s top fintech startup and the second-largest fintech in Europe.
Launched in 2015, the London-based unicorn currently serves around 2 million customers across 42 countries. Interestingly, it is also the first platform to allow customers to exchange money into cryptocurrencies. Allowing the user to earn cashback with any purchase made on their metal card is another USP of this startup. It supports both Google Pay and Apple Pay as well.
- Offers three types of current accounts
- Save money with Vaults
- Free money transfer to other users
- No foreign exchange fee while spending abroad
- Split the bill feature
- Users can buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies
- Low cash withdrawal limits
- Does not offers savings accounts for overdrafts
- Transfers can take 3-5 working days unless you have a Premium or Metal account.
Who should use Revolut?
Revolut’s main objective is to make access to money easier no matter which part of the world you are in. Hence, this is perfectly apt for expats, travellers and business personnel who are always on the go.
Founders: Gary Dolman, Jason Bates, Jonas Huckestein, Paul Rippon, Tom Blomfield
Total funding: $648.1M
Where Revolut has looked at extensive international expansion, Monzo has focused on technological development since its founding in 2015. The platform’s markedly different strategy is of a sole-product which has a UK-focused approach. Its round of £1 million in February 2016 was titled the ‘quickest crowdfunding campaign in history’, taking just 96 seconds to achieve its target.
The platform currently serves 2 million people and is extremely popular among the younger crowd. It recently launched Monzo Plus, a premium account option with a monthly fee of £3. It also supports Google Pay and Apple Pay.
- Offers 4 types of accounts
- ‘Pots’ option available to save money and earn up to 1.5% AER interest
- Free transactions abroad as standard
- Split the bill feature
- 3% fee for cash withdrawals over £200 per month
- Daily cash withdrawal limit of £400
- Monthly limit of £5,500
Who should use Monzo?
This platform is best suited for the younger crowd, thanks to its intuitive interface and options to easily save, budget, and manage money. ‘Pots’ is a very helpful feature in case you have any specific financial goals.
Founders: Kristo Käärmann, Taavet Hinrikus
Total funding: €9.6B
The oldest of the lot, Wise, formerly TransferWise, was founded in 2011. Currently catering to over 10 million individual and business customers, it processes over £5 billion in cross-border transactions every month.
In the largest-ever tech listing by market capitalisation in London, the startup went public on the London Stock Exchange earlier this month with a valuation of £7.95 billion on its remarkable market debut.
- Offers one account without any monthly fees
- Fair Transactions with mid-market rate
- Easiest sign up
- ‘Batch payments’ for businesses
- Borderless account
- No cash/cheque payout and deposit
- Uses percentage system to charge transfer fees
- You need to pay between 0.3 and 0.7% fee on each transfer. So larger transactions would mean higher fees
Who should use Wise?
Wise offers flexibility which is beneficial for companies with global operations. The platform’s batch payment tool enables you to create a number of transactions with a single file upload. Hence, it is the best tool for businesses that make a lot of money transfers in a day. For an employer who’s going to pay his remote employees around the world or a businessperson who frequently sends and receives money from partners around the world, this is the best option.