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A Comprehensive Starling Bank Review (2022)

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App: 10/10
Fees: 9/10
Interest Rates: 10/10
Features: 10/10
Currency Availability: 8/10
Online Banking: 10/10
Ease of Use: 10/10
Customer Support: 10/10

Updated: August, 8, 2022

Pros

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Joint and multi-currency accounts available
  • No monthly fees
  • No ATM fees
  • Interest rate paid on account balance
  • Overdrafts available
  • Cons

  • No complex services like mortgages
  • No bank branches
  • You can only deposit cash at Post Office branches
  • If you’re looking to replace your traditional bank account with a new modern banking system that comes with all the perks that technology can offer, you might want to consider Starling Bank.

    In this Starling Bank review, we’ll cover the Starling Bank benefits, explain how the bank works and what it offers, and how you can apply for an account.

    Let’s dive in.

    What Is Starling Bank?

    Starling Bank is an award-winning challenger bank that looks to simplify financial management with the help of modern technology. 

    This bank, which was founded back in 2014, is a digital-only bank and offers a personal account, a business account, and one of the best debit cards for kids and teens.

    How Does Starling Bank Work?

    Starling Bank operates similarly to a traditional bank – the main difference is that Starling Bank is entirely online. This is the third biggest online bank in the UK, 

    third biggest online bank in the UK, counting more than 1.06 million customers, digital banking stats reveal.

    Customers can manage their accounts directly from the app, access them anywhere with an Internet connection and deposit funds, make transactions, and withdraw money through an ATM. 
    Worth noting: While Starling Bank’s app is sleek and intuitive, Monzo has a more visually pleasing design and more spending categories than Starling.

    How To Apply

    To apply for a Starling Bank account:

    1. Go to the website and click ‘Get Started’ in the top right corner or download the app.
    2. Pick the type of account you want to open.
    3. Enter your personal details (name, phone number, date of birth, address, email).
    4. Verify your identity (with an ID or a video selfie).
    5. Wait to be approved (takes a couple of minutes).
    6. Link your Apple Pay or Google Wallet (if you want to start spending immediately).

    Starling Bank will send you a Starling Bank Mastercard debit card in the post within 3-5 days. You’ll then need to link the card to your account via the app.

    Usage of debit cards in the UK is growing as debit cards are becoming more popular than cash and credit cards—another reason why Starling is a great option for any UK customer.

    What Are The Eligibility Requirements?

    To open a Starling Bank account, you’ll have to meet the following criteria:

    • Be at least 16 years old.
    • Live in the UK.
    • Have a valid, government-issued photo ID.
    • Have a compatible smartphone where you can download the Starling Bank app.

    Worth noting: Starling performs  a ‘soft’ credit check when you apply for an account. If you have poor credit score and want to improve it, Cashplus is a great option to consider.

    Types of Starling Bank Accounts

    Starling Bank offers several types of accounts, including: 

    Personal account 

    The Starling Bank personal account is a free current account that comes with the protection of up to £85,000 from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, budgeting and saving tools, instant payment notifications, and 24/7 customer support. 

    With this Starling Bank account, you can earn interest on your balance.

    Joint account

    The bank allows customers to open a joint account as long as they both have an existing Starling account.

    The joint account makes it easier to manage shared expenses (for example, you can use it to pay rent and utilities by pooling funds), allows you to keep tabs on your mutual spending in real-time, and save together.

    Euro account

    Customers who have a personal Starling account can apply for a euro account. With this type of account, you can hold, send, and receive euro payments for free and transfer money between your EUR and GBP accounts.

    Starling Kite

    Starling Kite accounts are accounts that are available for children aged 6-16. The Starling Kite account costs £2 a month and is essentially a part of your existing or joint account, where you can send instant payments or set up regular transfers and keep an eye on your child’s spending. 

    Your kid will also get their own version of the app.

    Teen account 

    Starling Bank offers a teen account for teenagers aged between 16 and 17

    They get a Mastercard debit card, an app-based bank account, the option to earn 0.05% AER on up to £85,000, and many other perks that come with the Starling Bank current account.

    Business account

    The original Starling Bank business account, which allows businesses to manage their finances, doesn’t charge any monthly fees

    But, if you want perks like receipt capture, automated spending categorisation, international payments, and free UK transfers, you’ll have to update to a paid plan.

    Sole Trader account 

    The Sole Trader account is a type of business account designed for self-employed individuals. Like the basic business account, the Sole Trader account is free. You can integrate with Xero, set your savings aside, capture recipients, and deposit cash. 

    There’s also an option to upgrade to a paid plan for extra features. 

    Multi-currency accounts

    Businesses can apply for a euro or US dollar account (or both) that come with a £2 and £5 monthly fee respectively. 

    These Starling Bank foreign currency accounts feature money management tools – such as spaces to separate tax and the ability to manage multiple currencies from one account– and allow business transfers over the weekend.

    Consider Starling Bank alternatives:

    Features

    Starling Bank offers a wide range of features for its customers.

    Interest payments

    Starling Bank offers interest rates of 0.5% on balances of up to £85.000. The bank also pays interest on the interest at the end of the second year, as well as the original amount.

    Worth noting: Atom Bank has a ​​range of “Fixed Saver” accounts with 2.9% AER, helping you earn up to £7,600 in interest.

    Real-time banking notifications

    The app sends instant notifications regarding charges to your balance for all accounts, including those connected to your account. 

    This means you’ll receive notifications when your child uses their Starling Kite account or when your partner uses funds from your joint account. 

    Control/freeze your card

    If you lose your physical card or it gets stolen, you can log into the app and freeze the card. You can also disable online or contactless payments, change your PIN, and block gambling transactions, among other things. 

    Spending and budgeting tools

    The Starling Bank app will not only keep track of your transactions but also has a Personal Spending Insights feature that can break down your spending into categories and merchant.

    This can help you get a better idea of how much and what you’re spending on by identifying areas where you can save money. It also makes Starling Bank one of the best budgeting apps in the UK.

    Goals 

    The app allows users to create a Saving Space in their account, where they can keep their savings separate from the main balance, and set up saving goals. 

    Worth noting: Starling Bank takes into account the funds you have in your Saving Space when calculating interest.

    Pay nearby

    You can transfer money to other nearby Starling users instantly and for free, without their account details. 

    Round-up savings 

    Starling Bank is one of the best mobile-only banks for round-up savings right now. When you make a  payment, Starlink Bank will round out that sum to the nearest pound and send the difference directly into your Starling Bank savings account space.

    Bill splitting 

    The bill split in-app feature will calculate what you’re owed, send out IOUs, and take recipients to a secure web place where they can pay you back. Starling Bank users can pay directly from the app. 

    Overseas spending 

    Starling Bank does not charge international ATMs fees. But, you will have to pay the exchange rate, which depends on the country you’re in. 

    International transfers

    Starling Bank allows users to send money abroad but charges a flat 0.4% fee for the currency conversion and a delivery fee that’s calculated based on the amount. 

    Starling Bank has an international transfer limit of £10,000 per day.

    Starling overdraft facilities

    The bank offers interest rates of 15%, 25%, and 35% EAR (variable) for arranged overdrafts and a representative rate of 15% APR* (variable). The interest is accrued daily and charged on the 15th of every month.

    Mobile cheque deposits 

    Customers can deposit cheques of up to £500 via the Starling app. The weekly limit for those with a personal, joint, or sole trader account is four.

    Connected card 

    You can apply for a Connected card, which is essentially a second debit card connected to your account that you can give to someone else to use, like a child or a spouse. This card is capped at £200 and the money on the card comes from one Space of your choosing.

    Safety features

    Some of the main benefits of having a Starling Bank account are its protection tools.

    The bank sets a mandatory PIN code per device and personal password for payments. It also uses a 3D Secure protocol for online transactions and users can opt for biometric identification to log into the app.

    Starling Bank Fees

    Starling Bank offers highly competitive fees. 

    Most Starling accounts are free to set up and maintain and the bank doesn’t charge any ATM or card payment fees. 

    The only time Starling Bank imposes a fee is when making an international payment in a different currency– it charges 0.4% for the conversion and a small delivery fee. If you’re transferring funds from your GBP account abroad, Starling Bank will use the current exchange rate.

    You will have to pay a monthly fee of £2 if you add a Starling Kite to your account or opt for a multi-currency account (a euro account comes with a £2 monthly fee and a US dollar account comes with a £5 monthly fee).

    Customer Support

    Starling Bank support team is available 24/7 and can be contacted via:

    • Live chat on their website or the chat function on the app.
    • Email at [email protected].
    • Phone: 0800 0234 617.

    Starling Bank Reviews in the UK

    Starling Bank has a 4.3 rating on Trustpilot based on nearly 30,000 reviews.

    It was also voted the ‘Best British Bank’ and ‘Best Current Account Provider’ at the British Bank Awards in 2019 and 2020.

    ‘I like everything about this bank that my previous business bank account did not do. I’d strongly recommend them to anyone if you’re serious about business banking and having accountability where managing spending is concerned.’ – R. Samuels.

    ‘Starling banks are like a breath of fresh air to the older/established banks. The app works flawlessly with lots of functionality and customer support on tap. Integration with Freeagent works really well.’ – Jonathan Mason.

    ‘Very intuitive and easy to use providing the options and flexibility that most other online and High Street banks should strive to emulate.’ – Robert Steven.

    ‘A bank that is among other things paperless, runs on renewable energy, and has an all-human team on the app that is available to chat with 24/7. Thanks.’ – Rose.

    Is Starling Bank Safe?

    Starling Bank is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by both the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.

    Bottom Line 

    Starling Bank may not be one of the UK banks that gives you funds for opening an account, but it  is a well-established challenger bank that has a lot to offer. The bank is constantly expanding its range of features, has an excellent mobile experience, and practically no fees.

    The bank is especially competitive for travelling abroad and charges no fees for taking money out of ATMs in the UK or a foreign country.

    FAQ

    How long does Starling take to check details?

    Starling Bank approves personal current accounts typically in a few hours. Business accounts take an average of 2 days.

    Is Starling bank free?

    All Starling Bank accounts are free to set up and maintain. The bank doesn’t charge for basic transactions and ATM withdrawals, but there are fees for international transfers.

    Is Starling a UK-regulated bank?

    Starling Bank is fully regulated and monitored by both the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

    Who is Starling bank owned by?

    Starling Bank is co-owned by its founder and CEO Anne Boden and employees.

    Does Starling Bank give you a card?

    Once your account has been approved, you can order a contactless Mastercard debit card via the app, which you’ll receive in 3-5 business days.

    How do I put money in my Starling account?

    You can make a Starling Bank account cash deposit at any Post Office branch. All you have to do is to insert your debit card into the pin pad machine on the counter and confirm the amount you would like to deposit. Note that each Starling account has a cash deposit limit.

    Can I use my Starling card at an ATM?

    You can use your Starling Bank card to withdraw cash from any ATM in the UK or abroad. Starling Bank doesn’t charge any fees for foreign ATM withdrawals.

    How much can I withdraw from ATM Starling?

    The Starling Bank cash withdrawal daily limit is £300, regardless of the currency and you can only make up to six withdrawals per day. The Starling Bank ATM withdrawal limit applies both at home and abroad.

    What are the downsides of Starling Bank?

    According to our Starling Bank review, some of the biggest downsides have to do with the business account that the bank offers, which requires an upgrade to get access to certain features, like sending invoices. Also, the only way to deposit cash into your account is through the Post Office.

    My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.