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Starling Review 2019

Apr 2019 4.2 4 stars ·

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What is Starling?

Starling logo

Starling is a digital bank established in 2014. It is currently focusing on the UK with a full banking license. EUR accounts are in beta.

Starling is a great option if you live in the UK. It could easily replace your old bank. Also ideal for UK-based travelers.

Starling-review-bank-card

Starling Review 2019
Starling pros and cons

Pros

  • Has a banking license (deposit guarantee, direct debits and standing orders)

  • No limit on foreign ATM withdrawals

Cons

  • Only available to UK residents

  • Took 4 interactions with customer support until they could solve a non-standard problem

Starling Review 2019
Starling fees

Account opening and maintenance fee

At Starling, account opening is free and maintaining your account is also free, with no monthly cost.

Card fees

Getting a Starling bank card, including delivery, is also free.

ATM fees

Withdrawing money with Starling from any ATM is free.

Transfer fee

Transferring money in the same currency as your Starling account is free. International transfers have a £0.3-5.5 fee.

Currency exchange fee

Starling also applies a 0.4% currency exchange fee for international transfers. 

Top-up fee

Starling does not charge a fee when you top up your account using another bank card.

Starling Review 2019
Starling vs. Monzo

  Starling

Monzo

Multicurrency account

No

No

ATM withdrawal fees (standard account)

Free

Free in the UK

£200/month free abroad

3% after

International transfer fee £0.3-5.5 €0.5-3.0

International transfer exchange fee

0.4%

0.35-2.00%

Compare other digital banks

Starling Review 2019
Starling account opening

Opening an account at Starling is super easy: it takes only a couple of minutes via your phone, and receiving your physical card also takes only a few days.

Starling countries

Starling is available only in the UK.

Starling currencies

Starling is available only in GBP, but it has also started rolling out EUR accounts in beta mode.

Currencies in the app

Within the app you have only GBP as well, but EUR is in beta.

Top-up currencies

At Starling, you can top up only in GBP, but EUR is also being rolled out.

Starling cards overview

Starling cards are available from Mastercard.

Starling Premium account benefits

Starling has no premium accounts.

Starling top-up methods

At Starling, you can use a lot of top-up methods:

  • Bank transfer

  • Credit/debit cards

  • Cheques

  • Cash

Starling Review 2019
Starling banking features

Starling offers a wide range of features, just like your high street bank:

  • You can see your spending categorized by the type of transaction (e.g. shopping, restaurants).

  • You can send money to other Starling users instantly and for free. You can also send a money request to another user.

  • Smart savings are also available, where Starling will round up the amounts you actually spend and store the difference as savings.

  • These savings can also be stored separately for easier overview and management.

  • You can earn interest after your savings.

  • Setting up or cancelling direct debits is quick and easy with Starling.

  • Overdrafts are possible.

  • Joint accounts are available.

  • You can set up Apple Pay or Google Pay, as well as Samsung Pay.

In other aspects, however, Starling lacks some features that are common at its competitors:

  • You cannot set monthly budgets.

  • 3D Secure online payments are being rolled out but have not been announced as a standard feature yet.

Starling Review 2019
Starling additional features

While you can only use Starling through your mobile app and it is not available on a desktop computer as a website, you can use several other additional features:

  • Personal loans

  • Travel insurance

Starling Review 2019
Starling customer service

You can contact Starling via:

  • Live chat: Available on the web. We experienced 5-15 min wait time. The agents were helpful but couldn't solve our problem. 

  • Phone: When we tested, we experienced 5-10 min wait time. The system hung up three out of five times, as no agents picked up.

Customer service is available 24/7.

AUTHOR

Gergely Korpos
Gergely Korpos
Co-founder, CPO
Gergely's aim is to bring more clarity into personal investing. He has 10 years of experience in financial markets with GE Money, KPMG and MOL. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and financial portfolio manager
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