Disruptor Banks — Stress-Free Spending this Summer

Disruptor banks are showing no signs of slowing down. More and more customers are turning their backs on traditional high-street banks, abandoning long lunchtime queues in favour of newer technologies.

App or web-based banks like Starling, Monzo and Revolut have come into the world and solved problems we didn’t even know we had. They allow us to instantly send money to friends — taking all the awkwardness out of splitting the bill, easily transfer money into different accounts and monitor our spending habits down to the very last penny.

But these solely web-based banks aren’t just changing the way we handle our money in the UK, they are also helping us to manage our spending while travelling. Going on holiday using traditional banking methods often leads to stress that, let’s face it, none of us really need. Worrying that we forgot to tell our bank we were going away or wasting an afternoon wondering why we were charged a fiver to withdraw a tenner is no way to spend our precious time away, and that’s where disruptor banks really come into their own.

Here’s which app-based banks you should be using to make your time abroad as fuss-free as possible.


We’ll always have a soft spot for Monzo. Their customer service is top-notch, they allow their customers to vote on how the online bank should be run and, for travelling, they are one of the best accounts out there.

Monzo make managing your finances abroad a total breeze. It’s free to make card payments in shops, restaurants, hotels and online, wherever you are in the world and in any currency. There are no fees for using your card abroad and Monzo use the same exchange rate as MasterCard — enabling you to travel stress-free travel with no hidden fees.

Withdrawing cash abroad is slightly more limited. After asking their customers to vote on the best way to proceed with withdrawing money overseas, Monzo introduced a free overseas cash withdrawals up to £200 every 30 days. Any withdrawals after that incur a 3% charge — although Monzo are keen to emphasise that they do not make any extra profit from these charges, they are only in place as it costs Monzo money when customers withdraw cash abroad.

Monzo also have bundles of great features to help you while you’re away. They provide handy travel tips and allow you to categorise your transactions in the same way you would while in the UK. There’s also no need to tell them you are going abroad, and their support team is always on hand in case something goes wrong.

Check out Monzo


Coined one of the best travel debit cards by Money Saving Expert, Starling is another disruptor bank that goes the distance when it comes to your holiday.

Starling offer virtually the same as Monzo when it comes to using your card abroad. They have zero fees, MasterCard exchange rates and the ability to access your money for free wherever you are in the world. Their team is on hand 24/7 and you can easily lock your card via the app if it goes missing, unlocking it again later if it turns up.

Despite being proud Monzo owners, it’s Starling that gets our vote when it comes to travel. They don’t charge anything to withdraw cash, while Monzo have their monthly £200 limit. Starling also send you real-time updates on your spending and have various features in place to ensure you don’t overspend.

Check out Starling


Geared specifically towards travellers, WeSwap is a product we can see gap year students all over the globe getting on board with.

While the premise initially seems complicated, using WeSwap is actually very simple and, in our opinion, it’s one of the best platforms out there for travelling.

WeSwappers are given a WeSwap card which they load securely with their local currency using their debit card. They can then either spend worldwide in any currency (so similar to Monzo and Starling), or they can swap currencies with other WeSwappers to get the best rates before they go.

Check out WeSwap


Finally, we’ve got Revolut whose contactless VISA allows you to spend fee-free using the Spot Interbank exchange rate. This is the rate that banks use to swap currencies with one another, meaning it changes throughout the day and is usually better than the rate MasterCard use.

Another feature Revolut offer is the ability to send money globally for free. While traditional banks charge extortionate fees to send money to bank accounts abroad, Revolut offer free transfers to over 120 countries using the real exchange rate — which can save you up to 8%.

The final reason Revolut gets our vote is for their travel insurance. Their Pay-per-Day worldwide travel insurance uses geolocation technology meaning you are only charged for the days you are actually abroad. They also offer an annual policy, and reimbursement is paid directly back into your Revolut account. Additional family members and friends can be added to your insurance in seconds, and it’s easy to sign up via the app — meaning there’s no unnecessary or confusing paperwork! Revolut Premium offers free travel insurance, as well as a whole host of other benefits.

Check out Revolut



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