As banks close their high street doors, we’re opening up online banking. Our summer intern Charlotte Lorimer explores how Starling, as a mobile-only bank, can save time and make managing money easier, helping you to live a healthier financial life.
Technology has given us the ability to organise our everyday lives with a tap of a screen and a click of a button: a new recipe, a new outfit, a new bank. As a result, companies are opening digital doors and closing high street doors. According to the British Bankers’ Association, the use of mobile banking apps in the UK has increased by 354% over the last five years and 159 people login to their online banking app every second. In contrast, Which? reported that 1,046 bank branches have closed between December 2015 and January 2017. The number of Post Office branches now outnumbers the total number of all UK bank branches. Earlier this year, Which? mapped the record number of 482 bank branches set to close in 2017.
So what does this tell us?
We understand that mobile-only banking may not be not for everyone, and that some people prefer being able to visit a physical building to resolve problems. But we also know that more and more, people look to technology to make their everyday lives easier. This is what Starling aims to do for your current account, fully connecting banking and technology.
As our CEO Anne Boden says:
“We’re a bank for anyone who lives their life through their mobile – who listens to their music through their phone, does their shopping through apps, who wants their bank to be as simple and accessible as their social media.”
One of the best things about being a mobile-only bank is that you can reach out to our customer service team in seconds. This is the end of out-of-the-way middle-of-the-day bank branch visits and frustrating phone calls punctuated with messages such as “your call is important to us” after you have been waiting for 10 minutes. Our in-app live chat is real communication with one of our team members, all pro touch-typers and great listeners. On average, calls are answered in 33 seconds and live-chat messages are responded to in 45 seconds.
Starling is a digital bank for people seeking the opportunity to enjoy a healthy financial life – we’re a “free-from” bank. We are allergic to a number of things: jangling hold music, opening and closing times (particularly locked doors on Saturdays and Sundays), mother’s maiden names, back-to-back forms, and black biros (especially the ones imprisoned by a chain which is too short to scribble your signature).
Part of having a healthy financial life means being aware of your money and asking questions: How much did I spend on groceries this week? Can I afford to go away next weekend? Do I need to cancel any direct debits? The Starling banking app can help you to find answers quickly and with just a few in-app taps.
In turn, we pose the question: When was the last time you really needed to visit a bank branch?
To open a bank account?
With Starling, you can download our app and set up your sparkling new current account within three minutes (no forms, no faff, and all complete in the time it takes to make your next cup of tea).
To deposit cash or a cheque?
We increasingly live in a cashless society, but for the times that you do need to pay cash into your account, our partnership with NatWest facilitates cash deposits (soon to be available through the Post Office). Contact our in-app customer support team, and they’ll give you all the details you need to deposit your money.
And what to do with that annual birthday cheque from nanna? These can be posted to Starling Bank and will be be lodged to your account within five working days.
To withdraw money in a foreign currency?
Starling is not only mobile-only, we are mobile in the way that we travel with you. We believe in open culture, open APIs, open currency – we don't charge foreign transaction fees. There's also no need to drain your minutes letting us know where you're travelling to, or worrying about your card being cancelled for using it in a foreign country.
In fact, the Starling mobile app puts you in control of your card. If it’s lost or stolen, there’s no need to wait in a phone call queue (and further increase your stress levels) to cancel your card — you can report it lost in-app. And then there’s the very useful lock toggle for those times you may (or may not) have lost your card. If you then find your card, you no longer have to kick yourself for cancelling it — simply unlock it again from the app. If you are worried about unauthorised payments, you can lock all payments, or choose to only lock ATM withdrawals or online payments, before contacting our 24/7/365 customer services team online or through the Starling app.
To make a payment?
With Starling, arranging payments couldn’t be easier – all you need is the name, account number and sort code of the recipient and the payment can be made instantly from your app. No card readers, no stress, just straight-forward, real-time payments.
To learn about your account?
You should have clarity and control over your money, that's why the app has features such as real-time mobile notifications for income and outgoings, and a Spending Insights tool, including automatic categorisation into Travel, Groceries, etc. You can see exactly where your money's going, which we hope will increase your financial awareness and independence. Having said that, help is always on hand from our round-the-clock customer service team.
Starling is challenging static, outdated, rigid systems – we’re creating a dynamic digital bank which keeps up with our customers’ fast paced lives. We are not only on the high street, as you do your weekly shop, as you post a letter, as you order from your favourite café – we connect with you wherever you go, whenever you go. We’re online banking at your fingertips. We are branchless. We are boundless.
* Although there are no winding queues at Starling, at times there may be a bit of a wait when you open an account as sometimes our team needs go through a few checks. The good news is that your life isn’t interrupted by standing in line or waiting on the phone — simply exit the app and come back when we let you know that you’re good to go.