Starling bank is a UK digital bank founded in 2014 by Anne Boden. It is regulated by the FCA and subject to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), covering each client’s funds for up to £85,000.
Starling is also part of the new voluntary financial industry code, named the Contingent Reimbursement Model (CRM) code. This means that not only are unauthorized payments from your Starling bank account covered, and you’ll also be refunded if you’re ever tricked into sending money to a scammer voluntarily, such as via a fake call from someone pretending to be your bank. Negligence, however, is not covered.
To open a Starling bank account, download the app to your smartphone or tablet, enter your telephone number, and then enter the verification code that you receive via SMS.
You then need to add some personal details and verify your identity with a short selfie video and a photo.
Starling bank works very similarly to other high street banks, so there is no monthly plan or fees required.
Adding funds to your Starling account can be done digitally, through a bank transfer. There is also an option to add cash funds to your account at a Post Office. There is a fee for depositing cash, currently £3 for up to £1000 deposited, and 0.3% after that.
The design of the Starling bank app is minimalist, but it does not scrimp on functions. You can transfer standing orders to your new account, pay in an unlimited amount, control your Starling card, and see what you’re spending. There are also exciting features such as a ‘goals’ section where you can carefully track savings, and a marketplace offering comparisons of different financial products.
Starling functions much like any high street bank, with a range of current account, savings account, and loans. Like many new online banks, Starling accounts come with a physical Starling bank card.
There is also a new ‘cashback’ service offered through Starling card payments – you can now collect loyalty points and rewards from companies via your Starling bank receipts.
There is an overdraft feature with a personalized limit available for eligible customers, which can be taken in part as a loan, rather than just as credit. Plus, Starling offers a range of stand-alone personal loans at a lower rate. Mortgages are not yet available from Starling.
Starling Bank offers a competitive interest rate on savings in current accounts, which is relatively rare. Its app features ways to boost your saving capacity, such as spending categorization and can help you keep track of savings goals.
As your account comes with a Starling card, you can use it abroad while traveling.
Starling can be ideal for travel, as there is no extra charge for using your Starling card to make payments or withdraw cash from an ATM overseas. When you use foreign currency to pay for something, the exchange rate used is the Mastercard rate.
Account set up can be done in around 20 minutes, with a Starling card delivered within a week. There are no fees for spending in other countries. Starling bank interest rates and overdraft fees are set out clearly, and the app is simple to use.
Secure and easy-to-setup, an account with this new ‘challenger’ bank Starling provides virtually all the services you’d expect from a traditional bank, plus some significant unique advantages as well. The overall experience is highly user-friendly, reassuring when there is no physical branch you can visit.