Exams are over, summer is here and for many of you, student life is on the horizon. Applying for loans, opening a student bank account and thinking about weekly budgets are not the most exciting things to check off the to-do list before September, but they are important. And they don’t have to be difficult.

The National Student Money Survey 2017 found that 84% of students worry about making ends meet, something that can affect diet, relationships, grades and mental health. At Starling, we want everyone to feel in control of their money and have the tools to budget and save, all from one app.

In this blog post, we run through some of the features of our mobile personal current account and hear from our new summer paid interns about their experiences with Starling.

Totally mobile

We’ve built all our tech from scratch so that managing your money fits into your life without interruptions or delays. Apps have transformed the way we communicate with friends, order food and taxis, listen to music – we’re making money smart.

“The best thing about Starling is the visibility and simplicity, being able to see my money in a way that’s fit for 2018 and not guessing about timings and locations of transactions. Using the app is more like using Uber than a big bank.” – Luke Furnell, 22, Economics graduate, Marketplace Intern

Starling is free everywhere – no fees to apply for an account or to use your card abroad, plus the freedom to manage your money from one app. We even pay you interest on your balance (3.25% AER* / 3.19% Gross* (variable) interest on current account balances up to £5,000). One extra tip to save you even more money travelling abroad with Starling is to always pay in the local currency. We give you Mastercard’s competitive exchange rate which will be better than the exchange rate from the merchant. We’ll also send you a notification so you know how much you’ve spent in GBP and in the local currency. Make your money work for you, not for someone else’s pocket.

Savings goals

Student life on a budget can be hard. But we want to give you the tools to help you save money. That’s why we’ve linked to discount and cashback apps such as Tail and Yoyo Wallet and round-up savings with MoneyBox.

Our Goals feature allows you to ring-fence money from your balance to help you save and organise your money without having to open and transfer across to separate savings accounts. (This can also be used as a easy way to curtail that late night student union spending as you can only spend what’s in your everyday balance, not your Goals.)

We’ve also created an online Budget Planner that can help you to manage your money better.

“As a student, using Starling is great for saving money. What I found particularly helpful is the Goals feature. I can easily limit the amount I spend by being able to separate the money I can access. It’s really helped with budgeting and doesn’t involve the hassle of setting up separate accounts.” – Conor Knight, 21, English graduate, Marketing Intern

Safety net

The card control section of our app is designed to give you instant peace of mind. Lost your card in the pub or wondering if it’s wedged behind the sofa? Simply lock it from the app (and unlock it again if it turns up without enduring any hold music to call and cancel your card).

You have complete control over whether it can be used for ATM withdrawals, card transactions, online spending or mobile wallet payments. This also means that you can lock your card for everything except Apple Pay or Google Pay and keep using your mobile wallet while you look for your physical card.

We’re also the only UK bank to offer Apple Pay and Google Pay from the second you sign up so you can start using your Starling account before your card even arrives in the post!

Money insights

For those of you applying for a student loan, your tuition fees loan (for course cost) will be paid directly to your university and your maintenance loan (for living costs) will be paid into a UK bank account. Three things to note about student loans are…

  1. You only start paying it back the April after graduating and you’re earning over a certain amount.
  2. Debt is wiped 30 years after graduating for students from England and Wales, 35 years for Scotland or Northern Ireland (and for students who took out their loan before 2012).
  3. They don’t affect your credit score (the number that determines how much lenders will be willing to give you).

You can find out all about types of student loans and repayments on Save the Student.

If you choose to make Starling your main bank account through the Current Account Switch Service, your loan could be paid directly into your Starling account (and we’ll ping you a lovely notification each time money comes in).

We also send you notifications each time money goes out of your account or if a direct debit is due later that day and you don’t have enough in your account. This way you can avoid the late fees that some phone companies charge, for example. We’ll always keep you in the loop so that you can keep track of your money.

“I’ve used Starling with my house this year to manage all our bills, the instant notifications make it so easy to keep track of who’s paid their share and when the bills come out of the account. We even used it to pay when we went on a house holiday – with no fees abroad we didn’t have to worry about extra charges.” – Max Morroni, 20, Business Management student, Operations Intern

One of our features that makes budgeting easier is Spending Insights. We work out the percentage being spent at different places (watch out Starbucks) and categorise your spending. Knowing exactly what you spend on groceries, bills, eating out, travel etc. can make creating a budget a lot easier. It can also help you to work out where you could save money whether that’s bringing lunch to the library, investing in a Student railcard to save a third on travel or switching to a better energy deal (which saves consumers an average of £300 a year according to Money Saving Expert). Small savings here and there can make a big difference – you could end up saving enough to buy festival tickets or a new laptop.

“I decided to try Starling when I went on holiday this year, to keep better track of (and limit) how much I was spending every day. Connecting my Starling card to Apple Pay made my spending convenient and transparent, from eating out to Uber payments. At the end of each day I was able to track exactly where my money had been spent. As a result, I’ve switched to using Starling as my main account.” – Nicole Pilsworth, 22, Computer Science and Maths graduate, Developer Intern

No more spreadsheets or calculators – we help you make sense of your money.

Split the bill

Whether it’s going out for a birthday dinner, paying the electricity bill, or loading up on pasta with your flatmates, splitting the cost couldn’t be easier with Starling. Skip the awkward texts and extra apps, simply click on the transaction, select Split the Bill, chose the number of people to split it with and send a Settle Up request. Non-Starling customers will receive a link to a secure webpage to quickly enter their card details and transfer the money, while Starling customers can pay you back straight from the app.

The 5 minute bank account

Forget snaking queues, black biros and your mother’s maiden name, all you need to apply for an account with Starling is a smartphone, an ID, a few details such as your name, address and date of birth, and 5 minutes of your time. Once you’ve been verified by our team, you’ll have access to a fully functioning bank account with all sorts of handy features to help you save money as a student. (One thing to note is that as a UK bank, we require customers to have lived in the UK for at least 6 months before they can open an account with us).

“Just opened a Starling bank account – super impressed by how easy it was to set up. The app did all the work from processing my passport picture to setting up a robust video identification tool. It was easy and so convenient – I didn’t have to get up…or spend an 1 hr at a bank branch.” – Amina Omar, 21, Anthropology graduate, Operations Intern

As a fully regulated and licensed bank, deposits up to £85,000 are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme – the same protection that covers the high street banks.

*AER stands for Annual Equivalent Rate and illustrates what the interest rate would be if interest was paid and compounded once each year. Gross is the contractual rate of interest payable before the deduction of income tax at the rate specified by law. See illustrative example.

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