Starling Bank has been planning to open in The Republic of Ireland since 2017, however, it has faced several delays due to complications from Brexit and the Coronaviris pandemic.
In August 2020, Starling confirmed it has resumed discussions with the Central Bank of Ireland to obtain a licence and has also started setting up its Ireland HQ.
This review will highlight the features, benefits and offers to Starling Bank customers in the UK so you have an idea of what to expect when Starling launches in Ireland. All amounts in Euros are taken directly from Starling Bank’s website, as UK customers are also able to hold accounts in € EUR as well as £ GBP.
Starling Bank offers users a UK current account that can be opened and managed directly from the app. It aims to make banking easier and more customer-centric and make your finances accessible to you wherever you are.
After signing up, you get a current account, a debit card and an app that’s all about helping you understand where your money goes, budget and save.
Payments. Just as with any payment system, there’s a feature for transferring your current standing orders from your old bank.
Add money. There is no limit to how much you can add to your account. Add as much as you like using “Faster Payments” and online banking.
Spending. Get a record of your transactions, categorised to let you know what you’re spending your money on, which gives you an idea of where you can save.
Goals. This is basically a digital piggy bank. You set your goal and then squirrel cash away either manually or automatically, encouraging you to save more.
Card. Starling sends you a physical card when you sign up. From the app, you can activate the card, let Starling know if you’re travelling abroad and manually deactivate it if it gets lost or stolen.
Overdraft/loan facility Eligible account holders can be given an overdraft facility, or a fixed-rate Starling loan (UK).
Marketplace. Starling’s partnerships with third-party financial technology companies offer ways to compare insurance, pensions and mortgages.
Simple foreign spending. You won’t incur any extra fees for using your Starling card overseas. When you pay in a foreign currency, the money will be converted at the Mastercard exchange rate.
The card does all you can expect, from making payments to allowing you to withdraw cash from ATMs. Deposits can be made in the UK at any Royal Mail Post Office, as there are no physical Starling branches.
Fees and limits
Free current account and transactions. Starling doesn’t charge you for basic transactions and banking services. There’s no monthly fee and card payments and ATM withdrawals are free when withdrawing Euros at home and abroad.
International money transfers. Transferring Euros from your account to other Euro bank accounts is free using the following methods: SEPA, Direct Debit, Standing Orders (ie, recurring SEPA payments). If you would like to send money to an account in a currency other than Euros, then Starling charges a fee depending on market exchange rates and show you the calculated fees before you confirm the transfer.
How do customers rate Starling Bank and its app?
Starling Bank uses Trustpilot to gather customer reviews, which it highlights on its website.
It scores 4.5 out of 5 based on 20, 316 customers reviews, with 76% of all review rating it Excellent.
Starling Bank’s app is available on both Google Play and the App Store and has the following ratings:
Google Play Store
4.7 out of 5, based on 47,133 customer reviews
Apple App Store
4.9 out of 5, based on 190,400 customer reviews
Reviews are accurate as of 17 February 2021.
Some of us have had Starling for a while and we’re all quite impressed. The app looks a bit more serious than those offered by Revolut or Monzo, but is very user-friendly and efficient. Starling is also constantly expanding its range of features.
Starling is especially competitive for travelling abroad and, besides not charging any fees for foreign card payments, also has the highest fee-free foreign ATM withdrawal limit (£300 a day) available on the market.
All in all, it’s a great bank for people who want a solid current account with practically no fees and an excellent mobile experience.
Unfortunately, if you’re based in Ireland, you’ll have to wait until it is launched before you’ll be able to sign up for an account.
How to sign up to Starling Bank as an Irish customer living in the UK
Starling Bank has not established operations in Ireland yet. However, if you are an Irish citizen but reside in the UK you can still open an account. According to Starling customer service, the following is required: One of the following documents:
A valid passport
EU/EEA ID card
UK residence card
UK photo driver’s licence (full or provisional)
Additionally, Starling may also require you to provide proof of your address. If you are asked to provide this, it can accept documents such as:
Current UK driver’s licence with current address (unless already submitted as proof of ID)
UK bank statement with current address
Utility bill with current address
Council tax letter with current address
Starling Bank is expected to open in Ireland in 2021.
With a new bank like Starling, it’s natural to worry if your money will be safe. One major question is what if the bank goes bust? Would you be covered?
In the UK, Starling is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), you would be covered for up to £85,000.
If you fall victim to fraud, Starling is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and has adhered to a new voluntary industry code called Contingent Reimbursement Model (CRM) code. This not only means that in most cases it has to refund any unauthorised payments made from your account, but that it will also refund you if you’re tricked into sending money to a scammer voluntarily (for example because they pretend to be part of your bank’s security team). The exception is if you’re negligent.
Starling’s app and card have several security features to protect your account:
Your finances are secured behind a passcode and password and completing your registration requires video and photo ID.
If you ever lose your card, you can immediately deactivate it with a push of a button, and customer service is there whenever you need it.
A live record of your transactions and home screen notifications means you are alerted to any strange payments immediately.
Starling Bank has four revenue streams that function much like those of a traditional bank:
Net interest income. Starling Banks uses customer deposits to lend to other customers as overdrafts and loans.
Treasury income. Surplus deposits are held by the Bank of England, and Starling gets small returns via interest.
Interchange income. Starling takes a fee from every card transaction made – the interchange fee.
Fees and commissions. Traditional banks upsell and advertise additional services that they can provide, generating more income. As Starling Bank only offers its current account, they make money through partnerships with other fintechs, getting a commission on every referral.
You can add money to your Starling personal account by doing any of the following:
Bank transfer directly from another bank account to your Starling personal account.
Cash deposit at any UK Royal Mail Post Office branch.
Choose to transfer your salary or bank balance and set up direct debits and any other regular payments by making Starling your main bank account.
Simple. Pay in cash manually or transfer funds from another account. Alternatively, you can use the “Switch” option to make your Starling account your main account.
You will need to pay £60 for a replacement card, as the delivery process is currently highly manual. It may take a few days to a few weeks depending on your location. For more specific information on this process, please contact Starling Bank directly.
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.
Not yet. Starling bank accounts are only available to people who currently reside in the UK. It is due to be launching in 2021 but until it does, you’ll have to wait.
Yes, you need to download the app on either an Android or iOS device.
The Starling bank account is a fully functioning current account that comes with a Mastercard debit card so you can 100% use it as your main bank.
Charlie Barton is a publisher at Finder. He specialises in banking and investments products, including banking apps, current accounts, share-dealing platforms and stocks and shares ISAs. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics, and in his spare time enjoys long walks on the beach.
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