I have found this, too.
I agree with you that the Monzo CA is underwhelming. It’s not able to replace First Direct (for me). I signed up because I can see the potential and I want to contribute and be part of the journey.
I’ve written a few comprehensive posts about setting up Payees and Payments on the Starling app. Now that has greater functionality than Monzo but is most underwhelming. Monzo needs to do a lot in this area …but I know this.
It was only after signing up for Starling, and seeing all the problems with their app, that I found out Starling is in beta. They don’t publicise it until you contact heir customer service with an issue or query. They are not the fully functioning app-only legacy bank alternative they currently purport to be.
Conversely, Monzo has gone to great efforts to ensure people understand theirs is not a finished product.
I’m no Monzo fanboy. Nor do I have anything against Starling. For me, I am interested in new ideas, new tech and the potential there is with both. Monzo has a long way to go but given @Tom’s background (I signed up to GoCardless when it launched), I believe that he has big ideas. And that they’re good ideas. Time will tell.
The potential with both is huge. Monzo has further to go but, I sense, has a clearer vision than Starling.