Finder expert rating
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 the experience should be much less painful 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 a non-negotiable overdraft option. Once you are offered an overdraft, you can choose whether to accept it and you can adjust the amount of overdraft you want to have, within your upper limit. Interest is calculated daily and charged at 15% AER (annual equivalent rate).
Starling’s fees are competitive:
Starling Bank pays a 0.5% AER to account balances below £2,000, and 0.25% to those under £85,000.
This is relatively uncommon among challengers – N26 and Revolut, for example, don’t pay any 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.
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:
Some of us have had Starling for a while and we’re all quite impressed. The app looks a bit more serious that Revolut’s or Monzo’s, but is very user-friendly and efficient. You really don’t miss your traditional online banking on desktop at all.
Starling is also constantly expanding its range of features, which is great for people who’d like to do all their banking stuff (and not just current accounts) with a challenger bank. We’re not quite there yet, but it looks like it’s heading in the right direction.
Finally, 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.
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
Our team evaluates banking apps to determine their value against similar products on the market.
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