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Thread: Challenger Banks

  1. #1
    Master
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    Challenger Banks

    Having become disillusioned with the main high Street bank's (well that's one of the issues there not there any more) I've been happy to try one of the other newer so called challenger banks.
    I have account with a couple of the high street banks, but due to continually closing branches and making those still open automated I decided to make the change with one account and moved it over to N26 a German bank, now I like a lot of the features and it has saved me a fair few pounds this year so far when traveling, but there are three issues that prevent me moving all my accounts to them, firstly on the rare occasion I have a cheque to pay in, I can't, two I cannot save people who I pay using BT so each time I have to enter the information, and thirdly some online transactions don't recognise my card details, which is a MasterCard debit card.

    Has anyone any experience of other challenger banks, can I do what I can't with N26 with them?

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  2. #2
    Master
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    I'm not sure you could call them a challenger bank, given how long they've been in existence, but I think first direct ticks all the boxes you require.

    You can pay cheques in at HSBC branches, BT details are saved on the App, and no issues with transactions - it's a standard debit card

    I'd keep your N26 card for travelling though.
    Last edited by demonloop; 2nd September 2019 at 08:50.

  3. #3
    Iím giving Monzo a try out before possibly moving all of my payments over.

    Impressive set up process - up and running on my iPhone in less than 5 minutes, with the card arriving a day or two later.

    No fees when abroad.

  4. #4
    Craftsman
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    How about Starling? Already saved me a lot while travelling in Europe. Cheque deposits by post and you can also deposit money at post office branches apparently.

  5. #5
    Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    I'm not sure you could call them a challenger bank, given how long they've been in existence, but I think first direct ticks all the boxes you require.

    You can pay cheques in at HSBC branches, BT details are saved on the App, and no issues with transactions - it's a standard debit card

    I'd keep your N26 card for travelling though.
    +1

    If you are disillusioned with high street banks go to first direct and keep N26/Starling/Monzo on the side for travelling.

    You can also use post office with first direct.

  6. #6
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Personally I use First Direct as my main account and Monzo when travelling.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  7. #7
    Another for First Direct - and Monzo for travel - easy as pie - and you can use the GPO network for cash paying in - rumoured to be taking cheques soon.

  8. #8
    Master Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilT View Post
    How about Starling? Already saved me a lot while travelling in Europe. Cheque deposits by post and you can also deposit money at post office branches apparently.
    I'm with Starling and love the way it's phone app works. As above, and I like the 'spare change' which will round up a transaction and pop it into a goal. Can't fault it at all, easy to set up DD and payments, move money around etc. You can switch on & off various security aspects with your card or switch it off completely should you lose it.
    When you apply for an account, it's very quick and they do a 'soft' credit check, and give you a an overdraft which you can adjust in the app. They pay interest too although it's only .5%.
    You can also have a business account which can be used on a main PC.
    Check out the recommendations on Trust Pilot. Voted 'Best British Bank'.
    Best bank I've used.
    Last edited by Rod; 2nd September 2019 at 10:43.

  9. #9
    Journeyman
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    I also find the shutting of banks quite disappointing. I have recently closed my accounts at my local Santander that whatís closing but went to nationwide next door as they I believe pledged not to close it for a minimum of 2 years.

    Was not keen on an internet only presence with my money

  10. #10
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    I use Revolut, even with some horror stories, I've had decent service and save a bunch in transfer fees and even more in fx fees compared to my bank. In fact, I've just setup a revolut business account too for my small business.

    I don't keep a lot of money in there, but have a fair chunk that goes through the app each month. Priorities for me are: quick, cheap/ free international transfers, good fx rates, multiple ibans, easy to use. Ticks my boxes so not had any reason to change yet.

  11. #11
    Master
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    I've gone full Monzo after trying it out with just spending money. I like the way your transactions show instantly and I don't need a spreadsheet to track direct debits etc now.

  12. #12
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    They pay interest too although it's only .5%.
    Riches! I have a (supposed) savings account with Nationwide and it pays 0.1%.

  13. #13
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    I used to be full-up Starling but have moved to Monzo, just because I could. Recommend either...they are pretty much the same and have had no problems since making them my main current account.

  14. #14
    Craftsman
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    +1 for Starling.
    I have it as a second account mainly for using abroad but it's app is very good and easy to use. The only negative is lack of a good savings account.

  15. #15
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    I donít understand why people these days donít move bank accounts more often and have a range of financial accounts that makes the most of their money.

    Monzo is my main bank account that my salary is paid into. Managing day-to-day money is so easy on the app and transactions are instant...I donít wait for three days after spending money to find out where it has gone. Itís also great for travelling...I just pay for everything on my card. I recently travelled with a colleague who took out 50 Eur from a cash machine on his Ďbigí bank card that charged him £55! Why throw money away?! I use Nationwide Flex as a joint bank account for bills because my wife and I get all the insurance and other benefits for one account fee. We have an online savings account for earning interest.

    I have no idea why people would stay put with some of the big banks when all they seemingly do is copy the app ideas (like freezing cards) from the Ďchallenger banksí whilst ripping you off on things like foreign exchange fees.

  16. #16
    Journeyman
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    +1 Monzo

    The ux of the app is great. I liked it so much I had a cheeky punt on a few shares in the first round. I have a hope that these will pay big in the long term (and in the short term my card says Investor on it like Iím a big time VC guy-haha).

    Also, when I lost my wallet recently, someone found it and took it to the police station. They called Monzo and told them, they messaged me through the app and I picked it up an hour later. Apparently they called Barclaycard, Yorkshire Bank, Amex and Capital One as well. Not a peep from any of them.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Craftsman namzo's Avatar
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    Iím also using Monzo at the moment.

    Only for budgeting purposes mind you. Not ready to move everything over just yet.

    Itís working well and the integration on the mobile app has proved okay so far.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  18. #18
    Journeyman
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    +1 for Starling and Revolt.
    Both are used for most of my daily spending, although I prefer Starling as it seems to work at more retailers (one of the sites I use to get cinema tickets refuses to work with Revolt and there's been a couple of others).
    I just spent two weeks using them in Singapore without any problems (paying in store and taking out cash from cash machines).

  19. #19
    Journeyman
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    Another vote for Monzo here. I've been using them since it was a prepaid card and frequently recommend them to anyone that will listen.

    Re the cheques though I'm surprised the 'challenger' Banks don't have an online paying in facility. I still have several accounts with the Bank of Scotland and I can pay cheques in on the app.

  20. #20
    Journeyman
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    I used Monzo this summer as a travel card. Worked really well. I make a few £100's a year in rewards from my current current account and that is the only thing stopping me from moving.

  21. #21
    Master
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    I moved from being an early adopter of first direct to Monzo. We still have a joint account with FD but Monzo is superior in every way. FD are still hamper by legacy HSBC systems (or it feels that way).
    Wife has a Starling account and thatís good too.

  22. #22
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Does anyone know what the challenger banks' back end IT systems are based on? Have they bought mainframes as all the legacy banks have always used as the core of their systems, are they running commodity their own infrastructure, are they all cloud-based, or have they gone commodity/cloud hybrid?

  23. #23
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    Cloud-based as youíd imagine.

    https://youtu.be/YkOY7DgXKyw




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  24. #24
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by markrlondon View Post
    Does anyone know what the challenger banks' back end IT systems are based on? Have they bought mainframes as all the legacy banks have always used as the core of their systems, are they running commodity their own infrastructure, are they all cloud-based, or have they gone commodity/cloud hybrid?
    https://www.fintechfutures.com/2018/...ts-their-tech/

    Pete

  25. #25
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks. That's very informative.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ellgal View Post
    Cloud-based as youíd imagine.

    https://youtu.be/YkOY7DgXKyw
    Thanks.

  26. #26
    Monzo all the way here, also have a Lloyds account (mortgage reasons) and use Chip (https://getchip.uk) to round up into a little savings pot. I've auto saved around £150 a month.

  27. #27
    Another recommendation for Starling. The app is very slick and very easy to use.

    I am shortly to move my Business Account over to them as well. My current Santander account is rubbish with an online service which seems to be stuck in the Ď90s.

  28. #28
    Craftsman
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    I chose First Direct just because they had a black debit card and I thought it was cool (I was 22), and that was 23 years ago. I can't fault them, their service is great, you can use HSBC branches and POs for paying in cash or cheques, everything else is done either on the phone or the web/app.

    My business used to be with HSBC, I thought it would be easier having a connection between FD and HSBC, but it didn't make a difference. After 5 years, I recently moved it to Starling who are great, they're app is really slick and the transition was perfectly smooth.

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