Digital-only bank Starling aims to make borrowing quick and easy for its app users.
If you’re already firmly entrenched in the Starling ecosystem and enjoy visibility of your spending in real time via the app, you won’t be surprised to hear that Starling also offers super-convenient options for borrowing.
However, for those who are new to Starling, it describes itself as a “tech business with a banking licence”. Customers are given a current account, a Mastercard debit card and a mobile app to track it with. The app is a lot smarter than most banking apps and gives you all sorts of insights into your spending. Check out our full review of the app to find out more.
So how does it work?
Your Starling account comes with an overdraft (if you’re eligible to have one) with a personalised limit. But rather than accessing this available credit through the overdraft, you have the option to take out some or all of it as a loan.
That means that the biggest loan you can get will depend on how much of your overdraft you’re using. Say you have a £2,000 overdraft limit and you’re £100 overdrawn, you could borrow up to £1,900 as a loan.
When you make a large purchase on your Starling Bank debit card, you will be sent a prompt asking if you want to turn it into a loan. But you can also just apply for a loan when you decide to – perhaps if you’ve got a hefty expenditure coming up.
Why wouldn’t I just use my overdraft facility?
Mainly because the overdraft has a higher rate of interest. The interest rate you’d pay on a Starling loan is dependent on Starling’s assessment of “your personal financial situation” (read “your income, outgoings and credit record”).
You might also prefer the structure of a personal loan. Unlike an overdraft, you commit to paying back a fixed amount each month, so you know in advance exactly how much the loan will cost overall and when you’ll be debt-free.
Ultimately you’ll need to decide if this original approach to borrowing is right for you. It’s hard to fault the convenience of the service, but some might find it a little too convenient!
Compare personal loans
You should always refer to your loan agreement for exact repayment amounts as they may vary from our results.
Warning: late repayments can cause you serious money problems. See our debt help guides.
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Starling loans and your credit score
When you apply for a current account with Starling Bank, it’ll perform a “soft” credit check to inform its decision and determine if it can offer you an overdraft and/or loan. This check will be visible to you, but not to other financial institutions.
Then, if you decide to take out a loan or activate the overdraft, Starling will run a “hard” credit check, which will leave a footprint on your credit file, and has a small, but usually short-lived, negative impact on your credit score.
Am I eligible for a Starling Bank personal loan?
You should only apply for a Starling Bank personal loan if you’re certain you can meet the repayment terms. You must also:
- Have a Starling Bank current account with an overdraft facility
- Be aged 18 or over
- Have a good credit history
How can I apply?
If you’re a Starling Bank customer, you’ll get a notification on the app that you are eligible for a personal loan. To apply, you go through a simple process in the app. You’ll be asked questions about your general finances and also why you need the loan. This should take around five minutes and, once approved, the money will be available straight away.
Some people may find it a little too easy to borrow money from Starling. When you make a bigger than normal purchase with your debit card, you will be sent a prompt asking if you would like to turn it into a loan. This might mean you take on a loan when you otherwise wouldn’t. It all depends on how good you are at managing your finances when it comes to deciding if this is the right approach for you.
Frequently asked questions