Starling Bank Review
During the coronavirus pandemic, the team at Starling is doing all they can to ensure the digital bank runs as smoothly as possible for everyone during this difficult and worrying time. They are currently introducing a 'cheque imaging' facility to ensure customers can deposit cheques online (see below); however, this may not be available to all customers yet. Keep an eye on the Starling blog for regular updates.
What is Starling?
Starling is a mobile-only bank based in the UK and it is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Founded in 2014, they refer to themselves as ‘a tech business with a banking licence’ and are one of the best banks in the UK today for digital banking.
They do not have any bank branches. Instead, they allow you to access and manage your accounts via their mobile app.
Is Starling Bank safe? Is Starling Bank covered by FSCS?
Yes, and yes! Starling Bank customers are fully protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), meaning that you will be covered for up to £85,000 if the company goes bust.
Starling Bank Current Accounts
Starling’s core product is their current account, with which you can store and withdraw money at any time.
Their 4 current accounts on offer are:
- Personal account
- Joint account
- Teen Account
- Euro Account
How to join Starling Bank
To start banking with Starling, you will need to:
- Download the Starling Bank app
- Enter your mobile number, name, date of birth and other personal details
- Record a short clip of yourself and take a picture of your photo ID, such as driving license or passport
Starling personal account
- Winner of Best Current Account at 2019 British Bank Awards
- Earn up to 0.05% interest on your current account balance
- Easily apply for an overdraft on the app
- Be notified when money leaves or enters your account
- See a summary of your daily, weekly and monthly spending
- Save money with 'Goals' by rounding up your purchases
- £300 daily withdrawal limit
The Starling Personal Account won Best Current Account at the 2019 British Bank Awards – and with good reason.
As a holder of a Starling Personal Account, you’ll earn 0.50% interest (AER) on your current account balance up to £2,000 and 0.25% up to £85,000.
You’ll also be able to apply for an overdraft by using the app, with an interest rate of 15% EAR charged on however much you borrow. As of April 1st, 2020, the interest rate on overdrafts with Starling will range between 15%, 25% and 35% depending on your credit rating.
You’ll get a daily cash withdrawal limit of £300 and instant notifications when money leaves, or comes into your account, while also being able to view a personalised summary of your spending to see where your money is going.
You’re also able to put money to one side with ‘Goals’, which lets you store money for specific occasions or purchases – you can even round up every transaction to the nearest £1, with the change being saved for a rainy day.
Starling Bank joint account
- Share your spending and saving with somebody you trust
- Pay shared outgoings like rent and utility bills
- Set up in as little as 5 minutes
- Each party gets their own debit card
- No overdraft
With a Starling joint account, you get most of the benefits of a personal account, just shared with somebody else!
Joint bank accounts are a perfect option for friends and couples who share bills like mortgage payments, rent or bills.
A Starling joint account should take no longer than 5 minutes to activate, as long as both parties are nearby – you can set up an account from your sofa, while on the train or anywhere else where you have internet connection.
As well as allowing you to spend money together both online and with individual contactless Starling debit cards, a Starling joint account also lets you save together with their side-by-side saving feature.
Starling do not currently offer overdrafts for their joint accounts.
Be warned that, when setting up a joint account, everything held in the account is legally split 50/50 between you and the other person. Only set up a joint account if you are 100% certain that you can trust the other person!
It’s also worth noting that opening a joint bank account with someone who has a lower credit score than you can have an impact on your credit rating also. For this reason, it is important that you’re fully aware of both financial situations before opening a Starling joint account.
Starling Bank teen account
- Aimed at 16-17 year olds
- No overdraft facility
- Comes with a contactless debit card
- Up to 0.50% interest paid on account balance
- 24/7 customer support
A Starling teen account is essentially similar to a personal account, but aimed towards 16 and 17 year olds – the key difference is that there is no overdraft facility.
The account comes with a contactless Mastercard debit card for use online and in-store, with a £300 daily cash withdrawal limit.
The Starling bank card can also be loaded onto e-wallet services like Apple or Samsung Pay, meaning you never have to worry about leaving your card at home.
It offers the same interest rates on account balance as a Starling personal account, with 24/7 customer support in the app, over email or on the phone.
Starling Bank euro account
- Hold, send and receive euros
- Switch between and convert currencies using the app
- Covered for up to £85,000 by FSCS
- Access to features such as savings goals and instant notifications
If you have financial commitments in Europe – maybe a villa, or a loved one who is dependent on your income – you can use a Starling euro account to send, receive and hold your money.
Your British currency will be converted to euros at the real exchange rate with just a few clicks, with no extra charges until September 1st, 2019, where Starling will be adding a 0.4% commission fee.
Your money is still covered for up to £85,000 by the FSCS and comes with many of the benefits featured in Starling’s other current accounts, such as payment notifications and savings goals.
Spending abroad with Starling Bank – Can you use Starling abroad?
According to Martin Lewis from MoneySavingExpert, Starling is one of the best debit cards to use when travelling abroad.
This is because they do not charge non-sterling transaction or ATM fees, while it is easier to apply for than any credit card that you can use abroad as they do not perform a full credit check (unless you apply for an overdraft).
If taking cash out from an ATM whilst abroad, select the local currency instead of pounds, because some will add their own exchange rate.
No matter where in the world you may be, you will always be able to access Starling’s 24/7 customer support and can lock and unlock your debit card directly through the app.
What is the Starling marketplace?
The Starling marketplace gives you access to a range of services with which Starling have partnered to enhance your banking experience.
These services include things like CreditLadder (which allows you to directly add your on-time rent payments to your credit report), Wealthify (which offers ISAs and low-cost investments) and Flux (which creates digital receipts for all of your purchases).
Starling Bank cash deposits – How to pay cash into your Starling Bank account
To pay cash into your Starling Bank account, you can simply visit your local Post Office where they will deposit the cash for free – all you need is your debit card and, of course, the cash.
Starling Bank cheque deposits – How to cash cheques into your Starling Bank account
To cash a cheque into your Starling Bank account, just write your surname and account number on the back of the cheque itself and pop it in an envelope addressed to ‘Freepost Starling’. You don’t need a stamp, but you can pay for tracked postage if you feel it is necessary. Alternatively, you can use their new 'cheque imaging' feature...
'Cheque Imaging' feature - Coming soon
Starling Bank are currently working on this new feature called 'cheque imaging', which will help its customers deposit cheques of up to £500 easily, efficiently and securely.
How does it work? The feature will let you take a photo of your cheque with the camera on your smartphone, which will then process the money into your account from the Starling app.
As they're in the process of releasing this feature, many people may not be able to access it yet. To check whether you have it or not, simply go to Add money, then Cheque Deposit in your app. If cheque imaging is available for you to use, you will be able to take a picture of your cheque and deposit it. If not, however, you will have to wait until this feature become available to you.
Switching to Starling Bank
Thanks to the Current Account Switch Service, switching banks is easier than ever. Simply set up an account with Starling and visit the ‘Account Management’ section of their app. From here, select ‘Switch to Starling’, select the date you’d like to switch and wait until all of the hard work is done for you.
Find out more in our guide here.
Starling Bank savings
Starling Bank does not offer traditional savings accounts, but instead allows you to put money aside in the ‘spaces’ section of their app – you will earn the same interest on this as you would in your current account (up to 0.50%).
Starling allows you to save in innovative ways, such as rounding up every transaction to the nearest pound with the extra change going into a separate space.
You can easily schedule payments and transfer money into different ‘Goals’ from your current account and can personalise every one with a target, image and name.
Starling Bank Overdraft facilities
Excluding teen account holders, every Monzo customer is entitled to an overdraft of up to £5,000 charged at 15.0% APR.
You will receive a notification whenever you fall into your overdraft and will also be able to use the app to see how many days you’ve been in it, how much interest you’ve paid and how you can improve on your spending in the future.
Online banking – customer experience
- Online webchat
- Useful blog posts
- Can't be used to access your account
Despite being an all-digital bank, Starling’s banking features cannot be accessed via their website – only on the app.
While rival banks like Monzo offer a stripped-back website version of their mobile-banking service that can be accessed via an internet browser, Starling users can only view their account through the smartphone app.
This has frustrated some Starling users, who wish they could access their account online if they were to lose, break or even run out of charge on their smartphone.
The Starling app can also be downloaded on tablet through the relevant app stores, however this is just an optimised version of their mobile app.
Their website does offer some helpful guides and updated news about Starling and its features, as well as a live-chat option.
Starling Bank smartphone app
- Neat design
- View and search for recent transactions
- Summarise your spending
- Instantly freeze and unfreeze your debit card
- Make easy payments to friends
- Chat with Starling advisors
- Unable to access your account if you can't access the app
Starling is a mobile-based bank so, as you can imagine, its smartphone app is one of the best around.
The Starling app allows you to view your recent transactions – both in and out – while also showing your current account balance and the amount of money you have spent in any given month.
You can also search for transactions, using the name of the person or company making or receiving payment.
The home page has a feature which Starling like to call ‘the pulse’, which is a pie chart outlining the payments you have made that day, your account balance and available overdraft.
You are able to control your overdraft from the app, as well as view how many days you have been in it and how much interest you have accrued.
By enabling push notifications through the app’s settings, you will be instantly notified of any money that enters of leaves your account and can view a brief overview of your account without signing in.
The app works with both face and touch ID on relevant devices and can be used to transfer money to friends, family or any other bank account using a sort code and account number. If you want to split the bill with a friend who also uses Starling, you can do so with a few clicks – no details required!
The app comes built with safety features – such as being able to lock and unlock your card – and full access to Starling’s ‘Goals’, where you can create up to 10 different spaces to save money.
The app gives you direct access to the Starling webchat, where you can raise any problems you may have with a Starling advisor.
Starling Bank rewards
Yoyo Wallet – What is Yoyo Wallet?
Starling partnered with Yoyo wallet back in 2017 to provide customers with rewards at the point of sale when using their Starling Bank debit card.
Yoyo Wallet lets customers earn points and rewards by shopping with selected retailers and brands and is available for free on the Starling marketplace.
You can exchange these points for various goods and money off vouchers at selected coffee shops, supermarkets and more.
Starling Bank customer reviews
Nobody knows more about the pros and cons of a service than a customer, which is why customer review sites like Trustpilot provide such valuable insights into the quality offered by companies like Starling.
From over 74,500 reviews on Trustpilot, 87% of Starling Bank customers rate the service as either ‘great’ or ‘excellent’. Starling have an average 4.5-star Trustpilot rating.
Some of the positive reviews on Trustpilot are from customers expressing their delight at how easy their Starling debit card was to use abroad, while there are also a number of reviews that wax lyrical about the overdraft facilities on offer and Starling’s customer service.
However, there are some customers who have been less than impressed with the service offered by Starling, some stating that they had their accounts restricted without warning and struggled to get help from a Starling advisor. Some customers have labelled them ‘unhelpful’, ‘unprofessional’ and ‘lacking integrity’.
It is important to note that, while companies will naturally strive to meet the needs of their customers, they are still likely to encounter issues from time to time. Take a look at average ratings and reviews, rather than solely individual ones.
Ratings (out of 5):
The pros and cons of Starling Bank
- Great smartphone app
- No fees and unlimited withdrawals whilst abroad
- Easy to switch
- Interest paid on current account balance
- Round up your transactions to save money
- Sign up in minutes
- Accounts for 16 and 17 years olds
- £300 daily withdrawal limit
- Limited options for savings accounts/ISAs
- No branches to visit
- Lack of features on the website
- Smartphone is essential
While not like your traditional bank, Starling boasts some great benefits which could make it a good option for your day-to-day spending.
The detailed summary of your spending habits could certainly help you become more efficient with your money in the future, while the instant notifications will make sure that money never leaves your account without you noticing!
Its smartphone app is one of the best around, but take note that if you were to lose access to your smartphone, you would not be able to manage your finances by using their website or by visiting a branch (as they don’t have one).
The Starling marketplace has some great additional services to choose from, allowing you to take advantage of multiple banking extras all from one app.
Starling is not the best bank for saving, so if you’re looking to save or invest money for the future then you might be better off holding another account instead of (or at least as well as) one with Starling, as there really isn’t much option in that department.
Starling Bank contact details
There are a few ways for you to get in touch with Starling Bank. These include:
- Phone – 0800 0234617 (UK) or +44207 9304450 (abroad)
- Email – [email protected]
- Live chat – Available on both the app and website