ADHD - Monzo vs Starling


I have ADHD and towards the end of last year it really impacted on my finances. I managed to build up a lot of credit card debt over 4 months and I want to try and avoid getting into that situation again.

My main bank account is with first direct. However I’m thinking of using either Starling or Monzo as a spending account, rather than a credit card.

I do have a Starling account already, but not Monzo. I’m wondering which one would be best for someone like me in terms of managing finances etc.

Would be interested to hear people’s opinions!

Thanks :slight_smile:


Hey David,

Really brave of you to share that on a public forum. I’d suggest starling.


It completely varies as each person will have a different opinion and with this being a monzo forum theirs the chance it’ll be biased.

For me personally; Monzo is the winner by far. It’s perfect for managing finances and simple to use, it just keeps getting better. Sure most apps are simple these days but the UI from monzo is the best I’ve used.

You could try both, nothing is stopping you have multiple accounts and see which you find works best.


I’ve really grown to love how Starling do their budgeting and management within app. Starling has 52 (?) categories to choose from.

Monzo is great but has limited categories unless you want to pay £5/£15 for categories outside the basic few.

Also wouldn’t discount revolut which most of my spending goes on, their analytics is pretty decent for visual and tracking. Free add your own categories too. Just can’t auto exclude a category like transfers unlike Monzo.


I’m ADHD too, and I’d suggest Monzo, by a huge margin.

A bit like how I could never wrangle Windows as a kid but just got Mac. That roughly sums up my experience with each of these banks too. Wish I knew what the magic sauce was that actually sets these apart, and why one thing works, but the other doesn’t. It’s something in the human interface design department though. Monzo’s designers just get us neurodivergents better than Starling does.

I’d also suggest Chase as being worth a look at the very least. It’s a far simpler app which is great if you have any cognitive overload issues. Monzo can be a bit much in that department (Starling is worse for it though). Sometimes simpler is better and less is more. But I can’t stress how much of a difference Monzo’s trends will make.

Monzo also have a special customer support department who you can share this information with and they’ll use that to try to help and support you better.

What I’d suggest for folks sharing their suggestions is to be clear about your perspective when doing so. And be mindful that if you don’t have ADHD, you might be suggesting something you think is a good tool for the job, but that is completely ignorant of the role ADHD will play in that.


I’m curious on this because I find Starling a lot more chill visually, not too many colours or bar charts and graphs and keeps it minimal.

Chase is very simplistic but probably too much so because the categories are too vague. Going Out = drinks/restaurants/eating out all in one category.


Do you have ADHD? If not, that may be why you don’t get it.

Cognitive overload isn’t just what it sounds like and what folks assume: too much information to process.

It can be anything that’s strenuous to process, specifically for neurodivergents. Starling’s home tab is a good example of that for me, and is first and foremost the core reason I gravitate towards Monzo in the first place. I can’t tell you exactly why, or exactly what about it is the problem for me. I don’t actually know. I know my transactions are just a swipe away, but that screen is not designed for someone like me.

The second problem I have is a logic one. And I think that plays into the human interface design thing. Monzo’s design language (the layout and navigation) has a better, more logical flow to it than Starling does. It’s not perfect, not even close, but it is better. Interaction is more intuitive, and it adheres to user guidelines better, so there’s a greater sense of familiarity as well.

All of these are subtle differences in approach that can have a dramatic impact on how the apps feel to their users. They won’t matter or be noticeable to everyone, but to those where this does matter, it can be the difference between something they can use, and something they can’t.

There are some missteps in the new beta interface (namely the new pots interface), but it is a beta, and they do seem to get fixed relatively quickly.

Chase arguably excels at many of those points better than either Monzo or Starling, but they’re lacking in the tools department. The tools might not be necessary though. A simpler experience can often render the need for such tools effectively irrelevant, I’ve found. Depends on the person. The balance tab in trends is profound for me, but I’d trade that in if I could have N26 back.


Not everyone who lives with ADHD thinks the same and has the same focuses.

It’s very close to home, and while it’s comparable, it’s most definitely not the same in each individual.

Saying that, I won’t try and pretend to know all minor detail, and I was wholly curious to your comment.


No of course not, but I was trying to explain where I’m coming from on the more academic side of the coin, where it’s a bit less to do with subjective personal preference. It’s a taught approach in designing for accessibility. There are good practices, and Monzo tends to follow them better than Starling does.

As a user, I don’t understand or know why exactly that tends to translate into things that feel better for me, but it does. It won’t for everyone of course, but the whole point of best practices is that you cast the net wider and work better for more people as a result.

Generally that seems to trend true in both my own works and the experiences of my friends and family who also have ADHD. Not everyone will prefer Monzo, but I suspect more will get on with it better than they will Starling.

It’s well worth having a proper read into if you’re interested. This is a decent article to start with:

In fact, there’s a point this article touches on which highlights another area where Monzo gets it right, and Starling doesn’t: The onboarding. The magic link and no passwords with onerous rules goes a long way.

I’m keen to hear what doesn’t work for you in the new interface, if you’re willing to share. :pray:

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I don’t have a Starling account so can’t comment on that aspect but Monzo helped me to fix a financial hole I’d made for myself. I use the pots to squirrel away all the money for my direct debits and bills and then what’s left can be spending money or savings money. Or as an overpayment for debt. It made me feel so in control of my finances for the first time in my life and I get a little buzz out of getting everything organised :blush:


Any app that is constantly suggesting upgrades and so on is instantly a no for me, as it just drains my attention every time I open the app. Monzo falls squarely into that bracket. I really didn’t like being put on a free trial of Plus either - that relegated Monzo to a spare account only.

I like that Starling just leaves me alone to get on with my finances.


It really does just do what it says on the tin without all the bells and whistles.


Hi David :wave:, thanks for taking the time to share.

As others have said, ADHD differs from person to person, and there’s a nuance there as well. What works for one person may be entirely unusable for someone else. It can be hard to strike a balance that works for most.

ADHD (along with broader neurodiversity and accessibility) is something I’ve talked a lot about with product teams lately, and we’re all really keen to get it right. Giving the app a try would be my advice. We’re always looking to improve accessibility, so I love reading these threads because we can learn a lot.


It just deviates from whats expected both in terms
of how you use and navigate the Monzo app, and how you use and navigate iOS more generally. It’s been designed absent of existing interaction conventions and I end up feeling trapped on the page.

I’ve shared it in the thread:


Ah gotcha. I was thinking about the visual layout/design, but fundamentally this is about navigation and consistency, right?


Yep! Visually, I think the layout is really good.

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With Monzo I always find that the presentation of this is how much money you have for this many days left in the month useful. I don’t have ADHD so can’t presume to understand how this impacts you. But compared to every other spending analysis/budgeting set up Monzo’s has been the one that has resonated with me the most.

It’s a nice simple clear way of giving me the information I want/need in a method my Brian processes in a useful manner. I found Starlings pie chart in the main page a bit naf and as much as I love FD and am starting to like NatWest again. Monzo just seems the most easy to interpret for me.

Sorry if this isn’t all that helpful, I am finding this thread very interesting.


Interestingly, as someone who has no official diagnoses but has been told I’m autistic, I find Monzo heavily overwhelming. I much preferred sterling and now HSBC.

Show me what my available balance is, show me what my transactions are. That’s it.

Having many things to click about are great but the latest overview is what did it for me. Far too many things to look at, different numbers for different things and they just start merging into one!

Simple is key for me. Keen to hear other experiences.


Fellow ADHD’er here and I’d recommend Monzo.

Bias aside, even before I worked here, when I first downloaded the app I was blown away by feeling in control of my finances for the first time.

This early blog post solidifies a lot of the thinking that led to that feeling.