What is Starling?

Starling is a digital bank established in 2014. It is currently focusing on the UK with a full banking license. It has both Personal and Business accounts available in GBP and EUR.

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 2020
Starling pros and cons

Pros

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

  • Great third-party services like Overdrafts and Teen Accounts

Cons

  • Only available to UK residents

  • Has a limit on foreign and national transactions (£300 per day). Also, local ATM charges may apply.

Starling Review 2020
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

When abroad, Starling bank does not charge you for card payments or for any ATM withdrawal, however local charges may apply. 

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, when converting EUR to GBP and vice versa. 

Top-up fee

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

Starling Review 2020
Starling vs. Monzo

  Starling Monzo
Multicurrency account Yes No
ATM withdrawal fees (standard account) Free* £300/day limit Free in the UK< £200/month free abroad 3% after
International transfer fee (delivery fee) £0.3-5.5 €0.5-3.0
International transfer exchange fee 0.4% 0.35-2.00%

*Local charges from foreign ATMs may be applied

Compare other digital banks

Starling Review 2020
Starling account opening

Applying for 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 for UK residents.

Starling currencies

Starling is available in GBP and EUR too for both current and business account holders.

Currencies in the app

Within the app, you have GBP and EUR available.

Top-up currencies

At Starling, you can top your account with both GBP and EUR.

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

Cheque and cash deposits can be deposited at any Post Office in the UK.

Starling Review 2020
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 with the "Nearby Payments" feature. You can also send a money request to another user, this feature is called "Settle Up".

  • "Goals" are smart savings features that are also available. 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 on your savings. Account balances up to £2,000 receive 0.5% interest, balances between £2,000 and £85,000 would receive 0.25%.

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

  • Flexible overdrafts are possible.

  • Joint accounts are available for Starling Bank current account holders.

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

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

  • You cannot set monthly budgets.

  • 3D Secure online payments have been rolled out as a standard feature.

Starling Review 2020
Starling additional features

Starling is available both on mobile and on a desktop platform. The latter is only available for Business Account holders. 

Also, you can use several other additional features:

  • Personal loans

  • Additional third-party products like Sole Trader Accounts, Overdrafts, Teen Account (for 16 and 17 year olds), and sending money abroad

Starling Review 2020
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.

Tamás Deme

Tamás Deme

Content Editor

Author of this review

Tamás believes in clear and simple writing that is accessible to everyone. He has almost 20 years of experience as a financial journalist, as well as an editor and proofreader. He previously worked at Interfax news agency and wrote about M&A deals for EMIS DealWatch.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

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