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What is Starling Bank?

Lydia Fitzsimons
Lydia Fitzsimons
  | Edited by Tom Church
Updated 7th October 2021

Starling Bank is a digital bank, based in the UK. In this guide, Latest Deals highlights everything you need to know about Staring Bank, how to set up a Starling Bank account, and what benefits you can get with the Starling Bank app. We also answer any questions you may have.

What is Starling Bank?

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Starling Bank is one of the largest digital banks in the UK. The bank offers various current account options for personal, joint and business banking, as well as options for children and teenagers. Starling Bank allows you to open an account from your phone, and manage your money all in one place: the Starling Bank app.

Pros and Cons of using Starling Bank

ProsCons
Manage your money from a mobile app and you also have access via desktopNo physical branches
Earn interest on your current account balanceCheques can take up to a week to be added to your balance
Spaces can help you save money more easilyCash deposits can only be made at certain post office branches
Fee-free spending and withdrawals abroadMissing certain options you’d get with a traditional bank e.g credit cards
24/7 live chat customer support

The Starling Bank app

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Once you’ve opened an account with Starling Bank, you’ll be able to spend, save and manage your money in the Starling Bank app. 

With it, you’ll be able to monitor your spending in real-time, and you’ll get instant notifications when you spend, send or receive money.

You’ll also have access to helpful tools to help you manage your money better, and these include:

Personal Spending insights

The personal spending insights feature shows you a breakdown of your account, organised by category. This is helpful as it shows you where you are spending - or perhaps overspending - so you can improve your finances. It also allows you to attach receipts and photos to transactions, so you can keep on top of your spending.

Saving Spaces

You can set aside money from your main balance and place it in a Space. These are helpful if you’re saving up for something, or just want to have some extra money for emergencies. You can use the Starling Round Up feature to round up any purchases you make and the spare change will go into your chosen Space. You can name the space, and add a photo to help keep you motivated to save. 

Marketplace

Through the Starling Bank marketplace, you can browse services and link them to your bank account. There are lots of different financial products available, designed to help you manage your money better. Services range from mortgage and insurance providers, to smart pension tools. Starling Bank selects the best deals from third party companies such as PensionBee and Anorak, and then you can select any that are suitable for your circumstances.

Nearby payments

With the nearby payments feature, you can transfer money to other Starling Bank users, without having to enter their bank details. This is handy if you’re splitting a bill in a restaurant, or owe money to a friend.

Starling Bank account

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To open a Starling Bank account, you need to be 16 or older and a resident of the UK. With Starling Bank, you can open a full UK current account, and they have various options depending on what you’re looking for. 

All of their accounts are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to £85,000, and you can access your full account from your mobile or a desktop computer.

Starling Bank personal account

You can set up a Starling Bank personal current account through their mobile app. Once it’s active, you’ll be able to pay, receive, send and save money wherever you are, through your phone, and you’ll get a Mastercard debit card to make payments. 

Starling Bank personal account features include:

  • Free account
  • Instant notifications of payments made and received
  • Categorised spending insights 
  • Spaces (you can put aside money in virtual piggy banks and round up transactions to save money quicker.
  • No overseas fees
  • Lock your card from the app
  • Free and unlimited cash withdrawals and deposits
  • Earn 0.05% AER interest on balances up to £85,000
  • Make cheque deposits in the app

Starling Bank joint account

Starling Bank also offers a joint account option, to make it easier to split costs, or save money with someone you share financial commitments with, whether that’s a partner or good friend. To open a joint account, both parties will need to have a Starling Bank personal account.

To set one up, just go to the app, and from the profile menu click into ‘Get another Starling account’. Then, just need to follow the steps, and make sure the other person is nearby when you’re setting it up. 

Joint account features include:

  • Free account
  • Monthly spending insights
  • Saving goals 
  • Instant payment notifications

Starling Bank euro account

If you have a connection to Europe, whether through owning a property there, or having friends and family living there, you may benefit from a Starling euro account. It can be useful if you need to hold euros in your account, send money to someone in a euro-currency country, send or receive euros or get paid in euros.

You’ll need to already have a personal account to be eligible for a euro account, and you apply for it within the app.

Euro account features include:

  • Free account and no fees
  • Weekend transfers
  • One debit card for EUR and GBP accounts
  • Full, secure current account
  • No interest on up to £50,000
  • Negative interest rate of -0.5% AER on anything after £50,000

Starling Bank Kite account

You can add a Kite account as a Space within your account, that acts as a child’s bank account. It’s quick and easy to set up, and is aimed at kids aged from six to sixteen. The Kite account is built into your own personal account, so you can see and control what your kids are spending. 

To set it up, go to your personal account on the Starling Bank app (or the account you want to link the Kite account to), and open ‘Spaces’. Then, you need to tap ‘Child Space’ and follow the steps in the app. Once you’ve set it up, you can transfer money onto their account, and they can download the app, to help them better understand spending and saving.

Key features of the Kite account include:

  • £2 per month cost
  • Easy control and notifications of payments
  • Instant card locking
  • Set spending limits
  • Limit where the card can be used
  • Monthly spending breakdowns and spending goals

Starling Bank teen account

Starling Bank offers a teen account for those ages 16 - 17. You only need a passport as ID, and you can set it up from your sofa in minutes. You’ll have access to your full account through the app, and you’ll get a Mastercard debit card for making payments.

Features of the teen account include:

  • Earn 0.05% EAR interest on balances up to £85,000
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Instant notifications of payments made and received
  • Spending insights
  • Savings goals

How to open a Starling Bank account

To open a Starling Bank account, you’ll need to download the Starling Bank app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Once you’ve got the app, you can open your account and manage your money, all from your mobile phone.

Once you have the app on your phone, you can start setting up your account. You’ll be asked for your phone number, and Starling Bank will send you a verification code. Once you’ve confirmed it, you’ll be asked to fill in various personal details, and then you’ll need to provide a form of ID, such as a passport or driving license. You’ll then need to record a short video selfie confirming you want to open the account. Starling will check this against your ID to confirm your identity, and carry out a soft-credit check to verify your account.

Once your account has been activated, you can order a Starling Bank card in the app. The card will be sent out to you, and in the meantime you can pay with your account by setting up Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Starling Bank borrowing

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Starling Bank offers an overdraft facility as a way of borrowing money on a short term basis. They have previously offered loans for customers who already have a Starling Bank overdraft, but this service is currently not available for personal accounts.

Starling Bank overdraft

Starling Bank offers an overdraft facility with their personal current account, to act as a short term financial safety net. 

You’ll be charged interest daily for using your arranged overdraft, and this could be up to 35% EAR (variable), depending on your circumstances. Starling Bank will determine your interest rate and eligibility for an overdraft based on your credit history. You can use their overdraft calculator to get an estimate of how much a Starling Bank overdraft will cost.

Once your overdraft is approved, you can manage it in the Starling Bank app. You can control the limit amount you’ll need, but it must remain more than your bank balance. Other than the daily interest rate, you won’t be charged any other fees on this overdraft. If you go over your planned overdraft limit, you won’t incur any charges, however your transactions may be cancelled and not go through. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: It’s important to remember that an overdraft is a credit facility that can affect your credit score. Starling Bank will carry out a hard-credit check before approving you for an overdraft.

Additional Starling Bank features

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Digital banks offer various features that are not available with traditional banking. 

Starling Bank abroad

With a Starling Bank card, you can transfer, withdraw and spend money abroad, with no additional fees or charges. You’ll continue to get real-time notifications of any transactions, and they’ll include the cost in both pounds and the local currency, so it’s easy to stay on top of things. 

You can use your card, and withdraw money from an ATM with no additional charges, and Starling Bank uses Mastercard’s exchange rate, without adding anything else on top.

Starling Bank cheque

If you have a cheque to deposit into your account that has a value of £500 or less, you can do so via the app. All you need to do is take a clear photo of it, and Starling Bank will do the rest.

You won’t need to make the journey to a post office or bank branch, and once accepted, the money will take two working days to appear in your account. You’ll get an alert when the funds are in your account, and the app will keep a record of your cheque deposits.

Starling Bank connected cards

If you have someone who needs to spend money on your behalf, Starling Bank offers connected cards. This is an additional debit card that comes from a designated space in your account. You can top it up whenever you’re running low, and there’s a spending cap of £200. You can give the card to whoever you want, whether it’s a childminder, neighbour, friend, or anyone else you trust.

To get a connected card, you’ll need to have a personal current account with Starling Bank. To set this up, go to the ‘Goals’ section in the app, and click ‘New Space’, followed by ‘Connected Card Space’. You can then select a reason for the connected card, such as shopping or childcare, along with a PIN number. 

Your card will then be sent out, and should arrive within seven working days. Once it has arrived, you need to activate it in the app by adding the CVV (on the back of the card) to the ‘Connected Space’.

If at any point you want the person you’ve given the connected card to to stop spending, you can simply transfer the funds out of the ‘Connected Space’.

IMPORTANT NOTE: With a connected card, the additional card will withdraw funds from a ‘Space’, not from your current account balance. The other person won’t have access to your account, and they won’t be able to access the app, or withdraw cash from an ATM, or shop online.

Starling Bank business account

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Starling Bank offers a few different business accounts, including their business current account, sole trader account, and multi-currency account. 

Starling Bank business current account

You can apply for a free digital business account through the Starling Bank app. The account is suitable for sole traders, Limited companies, Limited Liability Partnerships, startups and companies with multiple directors. 

This account is free and some of its key business related features include:

  • Integration with Xero, QuickBooks and FreeAgent
  • Receipt capture
  • Automated business spending categorisation
  • Free access to multiple directors

You’ll also get lots of the benefits of a Starling personal account, including:

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • No fees abroad
  • Apple, Google, Garmin and Samsung Pay
  • Instant payments notifications
  • Saving Spaces

The digital business bank account is free, with no monthly charges. However, you can customise your account by buying add-ons. 

  1. The Business Tool Kit

This option costs £7 per month, with the first month free, and aims to simplify your bookkeeping. You’ll be able to send, create and match invoices with a few clicks, calculate HMRC taxes, tax reports and automated savings, record VAT and submit MTD VAT returns. Starling Bank recommends this option for sole traders and freelancers.

  1. Euro business account

This offers a euro bank account for UK businesses, for £2 per month. You’ll be able to hold and exchange euros, you’ll have local account details so you can make and receive local payments free of charge, and use your card for free as with a regular business card.

  1. US dollar business account

With this option, you’ll get a US dollar business account in the UK, for £5 per month. With it, you can send, hold and receive dollars, use your regular business card, and get local account details, making payments free, and easier.

Starling Bank sole trader account

If you’re self-employed or earn money from a side business, you can open a sole trader account for free, with Starling Bank. You can apply within the app, and connect your accounting software, making it easier to keep track of your finances.

You’ll need to go through some eligibility checks to be accepted for an account. You will have to provide proof of trading, and Starling Bank will look at your credit data. 

A sole trader account offers features including:

  • Instant payment alerts
  • Capture receipts
  • Connect to business tools, such as Xero, QuickBooks and FreeAgent
  • Space to separate different overheads
  • Automate your payments
  • Cash and cheque deposits

You can customise your account with the Business Toolkit add-on. This costs £7 per month and streamlines your bookkeeping.

Compare Starling Bank business accounts:

Business accountSole trader account
Account costFreeFree
Overdraft interest rate5%, 10%, 15%15% EAR
Overdraft fee1.5% of limit, or £50Free
Unarranged overdraftNo chargeNo charge
Receiving money from in and out of the UKFree if in GBP (£)Free if in GBP (£)
Depositing money£3 charge for up to £1,0000.3% of the amount for £1,000+£3 charge for up to £1,0000.3% of the amount for £1,000+
Cash withdrawal (£)Free from ATM£0.50 from Post OfficeFree from ATM£0.50 from Post Office
Cash withdrawal (foreign currency)FreeFree
Debit card payment (£)FreeFree
Debit card payment (foreign currency)FreeFree
Business Tool Kit add-on£7 per month (first month free)£7 per month (first month free)

Is Starling Bank safe to use?

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Starling Bank is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that they are required to follow rules to protect their customers' money, and treat them fairly.

If you have an account with Starling Bank, your money is protected by the FSCS up to £85,000, if the bank goes bust. You also have the right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman if you’re unhappy with the bank’s service, and their customer service doesn't reach a reasonable resolution to your complaint. 

Starling Bank also has various security measures in place to protect your personal information and money. To apply for an account, you’ll need to provide ID and a video identification, you’ll be given a PIN code per device to keep your app safe, and you’ll be asked to set up a password which you will need to use to authorise payments, set up new payees, or update any personal information in the app. 

How to contact Starling Bank

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Starling Bank has a 24/7 customer service live chat service located in their app, so you can get help with any issues whenever you need to. If you’d rather speak to someone, your problem has not been solved by the live chat, or you’ve lost your phone and can’t access their in-app support, you can contact their UK customer service number and email.

Starling Bank contact number: 020 7930 4450

Starling Bank customer service email: help@starlingbank.com

Starling Bank address UK: 3rd Floor, 2 Finsbury Ave, London, EC2M 2PP

Starling Bank reviews

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Starling Bank was named the Best British Bank in the British Banking Awards in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. They have amassed more than 2 million members, and are rated ‘Excellent’ on TrustPilot, with a 4.3 rating and more than 23,800 reviews.

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