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Starling Bank offers a full 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. Starling also offers a business bank account.
When you sign 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.Starling Bank is one of a growing group of “challenger banks” looking to simplify how we manage our finances, using modern technology to bring banking into the present.
Starling Bank was “highly commended” in Finder’s Banking Customer Satisfaction Awards. It scored second in our chart, very close to the winner, which means that the vast majority of its customers said they’re happy with its current account and would recommend it to a friend.
The app focuses on the necessities, with a minimalist design covering key information. Tabs allow you to access other features including:
Other key features include:
The Starling debit card does all you can expect, from making payments to allowing you to withdraw cash from ATMs. Although there are no physical Starling branches, you can load cash into your account at every Post Office in the UK.
Yeah, Starling is definitely one of the best challenger banks out there. The app is quite elegant and streamlined, the lack of fees makes it great for travelling and it’s a fully licensed bank, so your money is as safe as with your favourite high-street bank.
However, if we are being completely honest, the most popular ones – Starling, Revolut, Monzo – are quite similar to each other and all offer a very solid service. Compared to Starling, the Monzo app is a bit more fun, while Revolut is more about using different currencies at the same time. Learn more about alternatives to Starling.
If you’re in doubt between two, applying for an account is really quick and easy, so you could even try both out for a while and then pick the one that works best for you.
Yes, you can, and using your Starling debit card should be a much less painful experience than with a traditional bank.
Thanks to Starling’s mobile nature, it is much easier to keep track of your budget while on the road. Also, charges for spending abroad or withdrawing cash at an ATM aren’t an issue since using your Starling Bank card overseas doesn’t incur extra fees.
When you pay in a foreign currency, money will be converted at the Mastercard exchange rate.
Starling offers an arranged overdraft option. Interest is calculated daily and charged at 15%, 25% or 35% EAR (variable) based on the customer’s credit score. There are no additional charges for unarranged overdrafts.
Starling’s fees are competitive:
Starling Bank pays 0.05% on up to £85,000.
This is relatively uncommon among challengers – Revolut, for example, pays no interest at all; with Monzo, you only get interest if you open a savings account with one of Monzo’s partners.
However, if a considerable interest rate on your balance is what you’re looking for, you may be better off with a traditional bank – some traditional current accounts offer up to 3% AER.
Starling Kite is a new debit card for kids that is being launched in September 2020, and is designed for children aged 15 and under. It will cost £2 per month and is linked to the parent’s personal (or joint) Starling account.
The card will have the child’s name printed on it, and they’ll be able to use it to spend online, in-store and to withdraw cash from ATMs (up to a maximum of £100). If the Kite debit card is lost or stolen, it can be locked from the adult’s Starling account.
Parents can also use their Starling banking app to allocate funds (such as pocket money) to their kid’s account and then monitor their spending. Parents receive notifications whenever their child spends money, and parental controls within the app mean that they can limit specific functions such as online payments and ATM withdrawals, or set a daily transaction limit.
Learn more about this new kids’ debit card in our Starling Kite review.
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?
As 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 to 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:
|Live chat support||24/7 live chat support available in the app and on the website|
|Telephone support||In the UK dial: 0800 0234 617 and from abroad dial: +44 20 7930 4450|
|Email support||Email: email@example.com|
|Closing your account||Go through the app to contact the customer service team to close your account|
|Order replacement card||Order in the app, card can be re-added to Apple Pay or Google Pay as soon as order is confirmed|
|Freeze/unfreeze card||Yes, through the app|
|Report card lost or stolen||Yes, through the app|
|Cancel direct debits||Cancel direct debits in the app|
In our independent 2019 customer satisfaction awards, Starling came second overall, winning the Highly Commended award. The bank received 5 out of 5 stars and 87% of users said they would recommend the service (right behind Monzo’s winning 88%). Customers particularly appreciated the zero fees for spending abroad.
On customer review forum Trustpilot, Starling has 4.5 out of 5 stars and a rating of Excellent, based on more than 10K reviews (updated March 30 2020).
Some of us have had Starling for a while and we’re all quite impressed. The app looks a bit more serious than Revolut’s or Monzo’s, 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.
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
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