Starling Bank Review: The Adult Challenge Card

Starling is also well ahead of its rivals when it comes to loans. You need a little extra cash, and Starling has an overdraft like everyone else, but he also has a longer-term built-in line of credit. Tap on that tab and it will show you exactly how much you can borrow and at what rate, with the custom interest charge based on your credit rating and always at a lower rate than your overdraft. It can be repaid within a period of up to two years, clearly indicating the date and amount of the first repayment. It is almost too easy, which of course could be a risk with loans; some of us are already living full-time in the open, and this might turn out to be a nifty version of that.

Not everything is high tech; part of it is directed to a more analog medium. Starling’s association with the post office means that you can deposit physical cash into your account, rather than simply moving money from one digital account to another. Do you have a check? Starling (like some rivals, including Monzo) can manage that too, just put it in an envelope and mail it in with your account number, and it will be deposited. For anyone who has had to wait in line at a traditional bank to collect a piece of paper, this is an eye opener and a huge time saver.

Starling doesn’t have all the features that some former employee headlines grab, but it does have what you want from a bank: cash deposits, easy loans, and savings tools – but with its third-party market, Starling shows what the future of the bank is. Banking could be, while allowing you to deposit cash as well.

Business account services

Starling offers a full merchant account, as well as an individual merchant account, both of which have no monthly fees (at the moment) and do not charge for withdrawals, transfers, or electronic payments; the cash deposit costs £ 3.

Starling is compatible with FreeAgent and Xero accounting software, allowing companies to export their transactions to accounting software suites. That third-party marketplace means Flux is easy to use to track some receipts, and those in-app loan apps make it easy to borrow cash when you’re in a tight spot. Do customers pay in cash? Starling is also set to launch a web portal to access accounts, but initially only for business users.

To get a business account, you must be a corporation. And to get an individual merchant account, you will first need to have a personal account with the bank. Right now, Starling says that all business accounts are free for a limited time; going forward, they will only be free for micro-businesses with fewer than ten employees and less than £ 1.7 million in annual revenue.

Starling FAQ

Starling Fees Explanation: Checking and business accounts are free, with no premium paid account options. ATM transfers and withdrawals in the UK and abroad are free, although there is a fee for switching to foreign cash. In addition, Starling pays interest rates of 0.5 per cent on up to £ 2,000, although it falls to 0.25 per cent on higher amounts.


Open the Starling app, and with blank text on a dark screen, you’ll be shown the key figure you’re probably looking for – how much money you actually have. A slide-out menu houses navigation to find Expenses, Spaces, Payments, and more. Payments are easily sent, with regularly scheduled transactions, such as direct debits or subscriptions, kept in one place for easy access. The Third Party Services Marketplace is conveniently located in the app, making it easy to discover which ones are supported.

An FAQ and help section is built into the app, so you don’t need to head to the website if you have any questions. There is also a chat tool to ask specific questions to a real human.

Perhaps one of the best features of the app is the lack of nagging. Starling doesn’t constantly try to update you, there are no payment accounts. So using the Starling app feels like a legacy bank, but in a good way, with the confidence that you don’t have to push account updates and can offer great service instead.


Starling I had to check their data policy after a customer complained that anyone with the URL in the image could see their passport details and that the startup bank was too slow to acknowledge and resolve the concern. The bank must ensure that it is reacting to such disclosures quickly to keep its users and their cash safe. That said, Starling is backed by the FSCS, so deposits are protected up to £ 85,000.

In the app, Starling has a few key features to keep your card safe. Under “Card Controls,” you can allow or prohibit ATM withdrawals, online or mobile payments, magnetic stripe payments, or gambling transactions. The app suggests that if you are not going to use Starling for mobile or online payments, you should disable them. Starling also offers location-based fraud protection, using your smartphone’s location for fraud analysis, so if someone attacks your card and uses it abroad, it will be easier to detect. Missing cards can be frozen and new ones can be easily reordered.


Starling offers all the positives of traditional legacy banks (interest rates on checking accounts, the ability to deposit cash and checks) with the handy features of challenging banks such as raid savings pots, easy payments to friends, and instant notifications. . That would be impressive enough, but add in those third-party services that are actually built into the app, and we have the future of banking in our hands. It’s clear which way personal banking is going, and Starling is at the forefront of that bunch, making Anne Boden’s startup a good fit for anyone looking to ditch the headlines and try a challenging bank.

Looking for other challenging banks? See our Monzo review, Revolut Review, and N26 review to see how the service compares

This article was first published on September 9, 2019. It has since been updated

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