What's in this review?
- What is the Starling Business account?
- How does the Starling Business account work?
- What other services are available with the Starling Business account?
- Is a Starling Business account right for your company?
- Is Starling Business safe?
- Starling CEO Anne Boden explains why Starling Bank is different
- Pros and cons of Starling Business Current Account
- The verdict
- Compare Starling against its competitors
- Frequently asked questions
What is the Starling Business account?
Starling says its aim is to make banking straightforward, simple and quick.
Starling’s business account is no different. Launched in 2018, it takes a matter of minutes to sign up through the app, while its mobile-only approach and easy to use app might make managing your receipts and invoices easier. Starlings business account has been featured as one of our best business bank accounts.
Its business option is available if you’re an individual owner of a limited company, and either the only person with significant control, or if you’re part of a limited company with multiple owners. If you’re a sole trader you must have a personal current account to open a Sole Trader Account.
How does the Starling Business account work?
Like many other challenger banks Starling offers a banking experience that is pretty different to traditional banks. Here we walk you through getting started and what features you would get with a business account:
- Quick application. Download the app on your smartphone. After entering some personal details, you take a photo of an accepted I.D. and film a short video of yourself. With a business account Starling run a few quick credit checks too, but the whole process shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.
- Your card. You’ll be issued with a contactless Mastercard debit card, which should take between 3-5 days to arrive. However, you can start using Starling straight away through Google or Apply pay.
- No fees. Starling won’t charge fees on electronic payments, domestic transfers, monthly account fees or ATM withdrawals.
- 24/7 support. You can speak with a human adviser (not a robot) at all hours of the day. Contact them through the app, over the phone or by email.
- Real-time info. There’s no waiting around for payments to show up. You even get notifications every time money enters or leaves your account.
- Spending insights. See your spending broken down into categories like utilities, travel or entertainment.
- CSV exports. Share your transactions with your accountant or accounting software like Xero, Quickbooks and FreeAgent.
What other services are available with the Starling Business account?
The Starling business account is free to set up and use, but the challenger bank rolled out two new subscription services in July 2020 that you can add on to the standard account. These come with a monthly fee but you’re under no obligation to sign up.
The two new services are:
- The Business Toolkit – £7 monthly fee. The features of this service include: creating, sending and tracking invoices; automating expenses; recording VAT and connecting to HMRC to submit VAT returns; plus uploading bills and scheduling payments to manage cash flow.
- A US dollar account – £5 monthly fee. Comes with a US account number and sort code equivalent, which means users can send and receive payments in US dollars from their Starling app, as well as spend in either pounds or US dollars using a single debit card.
Is a Starling Business account right for your company?
As briefly mentioned already, you can only apply for a Starling business account if you are an individual owner of a limited company, and the only person with significant control over the business, or if you’re part of a limited company with multiple owners.
Starling is particularly suitable for smaller or medium businesses, as it is free, flexible and quick to set up.
Is Starling Business safe?
As Starling is a licensed bank you are partially covered. In the event of the bank going bust, it is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). So you would be protected for up to £85,000 and they are PRA and FCA regulated.
However, the FSCS doesn’t apply to all business types so you should check with its website whether your company is eligible. It’s worth bearing in mind that the FSCS small business threshold is less than £1 million turnover in a year.
You might also be wondering about how safe the actual app is? Starling have a number of security features to ensure your money is safe from fraudsters:
- 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 it’s needed.
- A live record of your transactions and home screen notifications means you are alerted to any strange payments immediately.
Starling CEO Anne Boden explains why Starling Bank is different
Pros and cons of Starling Business Current Account
- An account up and running in about 10 minutes.
- No joining or monthly fees.
- Works with Quickbooks.
- Contactless card delivered within a week.
- Spending insights will help you manage your company’s finances. Every penny can be scrutinised.
- No spending fees abroad and Mastercard exchange rate.
- Marketplace gives you more financial control, letting you connect to platforms like Xero and FreeAgent.
- Its “Goals” savings feature available to businesses too.
- 24/7 customer service.
- Fully licensed by the FCA and PRA.
- The lack of branches might cause some communication problems.
If you’ve made it to this point of the review, you might me wondering: a free business account? For real? Yes, it’s 100% true and, if you’re looking for a way to save money, the Starling Bank business account is hard to beat.
So, are there any catches? Not many, to be fair, but keep in mind that this is still a digital-only bank. You won’t be able to pop into a branch and speak to someone in person, which some consumers may prefer when it comes to business banking. Traditional banks are also able to offer a wider range of products (including, for example, business credit cards). But, if these things are not a big deal for you, Starling’s business account is a solid choice.
It’s free, it’s easy and quick to set up; you can choose between accessing it from the app or from desktop, you can make payments abroad for free, you can link your accounting software and even open a euro account. If you’re a sole trader or the owner of a small business, it’s one of the best available on the market and you should definitely give it a thought.
Compare Starling against its competitors
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