Score
8.5
Key Features
  • Starling “Marketplace” with services from other Fintech companies
  • Starling bank accounts are only available to legal UK residents

Starling Bank Review

UK-based Starling Bank, founded in 2016 offers personal and business banking via a mobile app. The company delivers the services of a classic bank, but with no physical branches and with lower fees.

Debit Card
Starling Bank Debit Card
Languages
  • EN
Plans
  • Free Account
  • Fees & charges apply
TrustPilot

The Starling personal account works as a regular current account, enabling users to set up direct debits and standing orders. Starling Bank offers overdrafts of up to £5,000 with 15% EAR but no additional fees. The amount of overdraft one receives, however, depends on a credit check.

Setting up a Starling Bank account takes minutes, the process is paperless, and a debit card is sent via post within 2-3 business days.

Banking Features

Free EUR account

In addition to a GBP account, as a secure and fast way to send and receive euros on a regular basis.It is a great feature for those who live in the UK, but get paid in EUR, or whose who want to send pounds to other European countries.

Personal loans

Thanks to the Starling’s partnership with “Defaqto”, the users can apply for a Starling Bank loan in a few minutes with a few taps in the app. No actual paperwork is needed, and as soon as the loan is approved, the money becomes available in the app.

Current Account Switch Service (CASS)

Seamless switch from an old current bank account to Starling. Starling deals with the whole transition including all your incoming and outgoing payments, direct debits and standing orders. It will also transfer all the money over to Starling and close your old account for you. Only works with UK current bank accounts.

Spending

Get a record of your spending, categorized by the type of transaction (e.g. shopping, restaurants).

Goals

Users can set financial goals and put money away either manually or automatically, in order to keep saving and reach the goal faster.

In-App Card Control.

A Starling Bank card can be activated and manually deactivated from within the app, if it gets lost or stolen.

Starling Bank Marketplace

An interesting feature that lets users use a number of third-party partners’ service from within the Starling App. Starling has partnerships with services, such as mortgage broker Habito, mobile insurance “ So-Sure”, travel insurance provider “Kasko”, pension provider “PensionBee”, digital investing services “Wealthsimple” and “Wealthify”, life insurance provider “Anorak”.

Joint accounts

Joint accounts to use with your family or close friends.

Split payments

Split payments with other Starling users.

Apple Pay & Google Pay

Apple Pay & Google Pay can be connected with a Starling Account and used for payments.

Deposits:

There is no maximum deposit limit to how much you can pay in. (For anyone who joined after August 2018). Starling works as a regular current bank account, which means you can top up the money in lots of ways, including direct debits of a salary, ATM’s, Post Office cash deposits, or inbound wire transfers.

Smart savings:

Round up your spendings and store the excess amounts as savings.

In other aspects it lacks some features that are common for its competitors:

  • No monthly budgets setting is available.
  • 3D Secure online payments are being rolled out but have not been announced as a standard feature yet.

Starling Account Types

Starling currently offers a personal current account and Starling Business accounts.

Starling Current AccountStarling Business
Price per month£0.00£0.00
Free ATM withdrawals (£)Up to 6 withdrawals/ day, with a maximum total withdrawal per day of £300Up to 6 withdrawals/ day, with a maximum total withdrawal per day of £30.
£0.50 per withdrawal at Post Office Counter Service
Free payments
Google Pay & Apple Pay
Free withdrawals worldwideUp to 6 withdrawals/ day, with a maximum total withdrawal per day of £300 + Mastercard currency exchange rateUp to 6 withdrawals/ day, with a maximum total withdrawal per day of £300 + Mastercard currency exchange rate
Insurance packageXX
Dedicated Customer SupportX
Exclusive partner offersXX
Saving Pots
Xero and FreeAgent toolsX
Help with taxesXX
Categorized spending
Organized expenses
International payments0.4% fee0.4% fee
Priority delivery with SWIFT£5.50£5.50
Batch paymentsXX
Payments with a link

Fees

There’s no monthly fee, card payments and ATM withdrawals come for free both in the UK and abroad. However, fees do still apply to some of the services.

For example, users are being charged £60 for a replacement card, £20 if they need Starling Bank to certify any documents related to your account.

While Starling does not impose any withdrawal charges on customers, ATM providers in your country of destination may charge their own fee. The cost of withdrawing from ATMs differs in different countries and locations.

You can make up to six withdrawals per day, with a maximum daily limit of £300.

Transferring money in the same currency as your Starling account is free, however, unlike other mobile banks, sending money abroad with Starling costs money: transfers imply £0.30-5.50 fee, depending on if its local or international, and the transfer method used.

Starling also applies a 0.4% currency exchange fee for international transfers.

ServiceFee
Starling foreign ATM cash withdrawalsFree
(Up to 6 withdrawals/ day, with a maximum total withdrawal per day of £300)
Starling transfer fee£0.30-5.50
Currency exchange fee for international transfers0.4%

Security

Starling is regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority, UK) and covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), meaning users’ money is completely safe and refundable up to £85,000.

Instant Notifications

The app will send instant payment notifications to keep an eye on a real-time balance.

  • The app itself uses up-to-date methods of data encryption, storing technologies, and users’ verification.
  • If a card is lost or stolen, the owner can immediately block it right from the app and then unblock if it is found.
  • Users get to set & manage which operations are available for your card, for instance, whether your card can make ATM payments or specific transactions.

Using the Starling Bank app abroad

First and foremost, Starling has a built-in Euro account, in addition to a local GBP on. It is a great feature for those who live in the UK, but get paid in EUR, or whose who want to send pounds to other European countries. Users can switch between your pound and euro accounts and convert currency between them for a 0.4% fee (from 1st September 2019), all in one app.

On both, GBP or EUR accounts, there’s no monthly fee, card payments and ATM withdrawals come for free both in the UK and abroad.

Transferring money in the same currency as your Starling account is free, however, sending money abroad with conversion costs money: transfers imply £0.30-5.50 fee, depending on if its local or international, and the transfer method used.

Starling Bank Support

Starling Customer service is available 24/7 via an in-app live chat service.

You can also contact Starling Customer Support via Phone within the UK business hours.

Pros
  • 20 minutes to create and activate the account
  • Starling “Marketplace” with services from other Fintech companies
  • Fully licensed by the FCA and PRA
Cons
  • Limited range of services
  • Only available to legal UK residents.
  • Starling is available in only one currency, GBP, contrary to other digital banks.

Conclusion

Starling seems like a decent option for UK-based youngsters, who want to experience more streamlined and efficient banking. Completely paperless, no branches, a regulated bank via a mobile app: all the elements of a modern mobile bank’s standard. The service and its features are pretty similar to those of Monese, Monzo, and others, but Monese is the only service in this list that fits for non-UK residents.

The interesting feature is a marketplace, giving the Starling users access to other handy and lucrative Fintech services, without leaving the mobile app.

However, those a third-party companies, and you will have to pay every one of them separately, while N26, another European mobile bank outsources their own features to the corresponding Fintech expert companies, and offers it all as a complete all-included package.