Starling Bank international payments

An easy-to-use international payments service that sits within the digital bank’s app.

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Starling

Starling Bank is known for its digital-first approach to banking and fee-free foreign card payments. While its in-app international payments service is slick and easy-to-use, its transfer costs can run quite high.

How much does Starling Bank charge for international payments?

Starling Bank’s international transfer fees are on the high side. What you need to be aware of is there are two fees to making an international payment with the bank:

  • A Starling transfer fee of 0.4%
  • A delivery fee

How much the delivery fee is, depends on which option you choose. If you select a priority delivery via SWIFT, then you will be charged £5.50. However, there is a low-cost local network option, where fees start from £0.30 depending on the currency.

Starling Bank will always show you the exchange rate, the fee and what your recipient will receive. So it’s possible to compare the cost against other money transfer providers before you hit send.

What are Starling Bank’s international transfer exchange rates?

To make up for its transfer fees, Starling Bank’s international transfer exchange rates are pretty competitive. Most money transfer providers will add a margin to the mid-market rate, which is the rate banks trade between themselves. However, Starling Bank’s exchange rates are pretty close to the mid-market rate for all the major currencies.

Starling Bank international transfers pros and cons

Pros

  • Most transfers use the interbank rate. Usually the best rate going, Starling Bank sticks pretty close to the mid-market rate.
  • Easy to use app. Starling Bank is already known for its user experience and you can expect the same when it comes to making international payments with the digital banking app.
  • Transparent pricing. You will know how much your recipient will receive before hitting send.

Cons

  • Transfer fees. Fees can be on the high side, especially if you prioritise speed over cost and use its SWIFT delivery option.
  • Limited currencies. Compared to some of the specialist money transfer providers, Starling Bank’s range seems particularly limited at 37 countries in 21 currencies.
  • Weekday only. Starling Bank only processes payments from 02:00 Monday to 20:00 Friday.
  • No forex tools. If you’re sending a large sum, you may wish to explore more advanced forex features like rate triggers (where your exchange executes if the exchange rate reaches a figure of your choosing. For these, you’ll want to work with a specialist broker like TorFX.

How do I make an international transfer with Starling Bank?

Starling Bank app screenshot

  1. Open your app and navigate to “Payments”.
  2. Select “Send Money”.
  3. Choose “Foreign Exchange Rates”. At this point you can choose the currency and enter how much you want to send in GBP.
  4. You will be able to see the exchange rate and any transfers fees. If you are happy to proceed, choose “Continue”.
  5. You’ll now be prompted to set up a new payee or select an existing payee.
  6. Finally confirm your transfer.

Are Starling Bank international transfers safe to use?

Starling Bank is a registered bank in the UK (reference No. 09092149) and is therefore covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). It is also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and adheres to the Contingent Reimbursement Model (CRM) cost. This means that in most cases, it will refund any unauthorised payments made from your account and refund you if you’re tricked into sending money to a scammer voluntarily. The exception is if you’re negligent.

As you can see, Starling Bank is all above board. It was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in London.

The verdict: Are Starling Bank international transfers any good?

If you are looking for easy, then Starling Bank has you covered. Its international payments sit nicely in its app, where you can have the same user experience as all its other services. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper, more wide ranging service (or one that’s open at weekends), then you’re better off looking at a more specialised money transfer provider. Starling Bank’s international transfer lets itself down in potential delivery costs and the fact that payments will only be processed Monday to Friday.

Frequently asked questions

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