Nowadays, a bank without a banking app is like a fishmonger without fish. That’s because more of us are becoming comfortable with managing our money on the go. So which banking app has the best features? Here’s what I think.
Which banks have good banking apps?
Almost all banks now offer a banking app of some sort, giving you plenty of choices when opening or switching a current account.
Here’s my lowdown on the banking apps with the best features. Review site Trustpilot scores bank cards out of five, and I’ve included each card’s score below.
1. Monzo: Good features and the app helps you save
If you bank with Monzo, then you must use its app. That’s because Monzo is an app-only bank, meaning it doesn’t have any bank branches and it doesn’t allow you to log into your account on its website.
It’s app offers instant spending notifications, and displays your spending in categories. This allows you to see which areas of your life carry the biggest stresses on your wallet.
As well as these features, Monzo allows you to freeze your card in the app. This is a good feature to have if you ever misplace your card, as you won’t have to order a replacement card straight away.
The app also allows you to set spending budgets, split bills with others, and round up transactions, so you can build up a linked savings pot. This can be particularly useful if saving isn’t your strong point.
Monzo’s Trustpilot score: 4.5
2. Starling Bank: A banking app with lots of features
Starling is another app-only bank. With this in mind, you may expect its app offering to be of a high standard, and thankfully, it is.
Sign in to the Starling app and you’ll immediately be greeted with an overview of your balance, displayed in a clever pie chart. This chart breaks down your monthly spending into categories. The app also gives real-time spending notifications, allowing you to keep on top of your purchases.
In addition, Starling’s banking app also lets you set up savings goals, and even pays interest on your account balance. That said, there’s no hiding the fact that the interest rate is a pitiful 0.05%.
Starling Bank’s Trustpilot score: 4.3
3. Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland: Simple apps with lots of features
These banks are all part of the same group and, consequently, their apps are similar.
The apps also allow you to round up transactions to promote automatic savings in a similar way to Monzo’s offering. They also give instant spending notifications.
A cool feature is that Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland all allow you to pay in cheques via their app.
Lloyds Bank’s Trustpilot score: 1.8
4. Barclays: Decent banking app to set spending limits
Barclays also has a decent banking app which offers open banking, so you can see balances of your other accounts. In addition, you get instant spending notifications as well as the ability to freeze your card in the app.
You can also deposit cheques in the app, and set yourself spending limits if you worry about overspending.
Barclay’s Trustpilot score: 1.5
5. HSBC: Useful features but no ability to categorise spending
HSBC is another big name with a decent banking app. With HSBC you receive instant spending notifications, and you can freeze your card in the app. You can also deposit cheques.
However, unlike other banking apps, there’s no feature to break down your spending into categories.
HSBC’s Trustpilot score: 1.3
6. Virgin Money: Decent features but you can’t freeze your card
The Virgin Money banking app is another decent offering. It provides instant spending notifications and shows you where you mostly spend your cash.
However, unlike many of the other offerings in this list, you can’t freeze your card in the app.
Virgin Money’s Trustpilot score: 1.3
What else do you need to know?
It almost goes without saying, but to use a banking app, you’ll need to own a smartphone. If possible, it’s best to get one with a fingerprint sensor, or Face-ID technology so that you access your account without having to enter your password each time you log in.
Before moving to app-based banking, it’s also important to recognise that you must be comfortable with relying on chat-based customer service. That’s because many app-only banks do not offer any assistance via email, or telephone.
Ready to move to app-based banking? See the list of our top-rated current accounts.
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