Our Connected card acts as an extra debit card for Starling personal customers. We launched it back in April 2020, less than three weeks into the first lockdown, when we knew that people who were sheltering for health reasons would need to find a safe way of paying trusted friends, neighbours and community volunteers, who were doing the shopping for them. In 2021, the Connected card is as useful and helpful as ever.

The card can be topped up by the account holder up to £200 and can’t be used for online shopping or cash withdrawals, making it a secure and simple solution for people in self-isolation or living with disabilities. So far, it’s been recommended by NHS Volunteer Responders, an organisation set up to support the NHS and help people stay safe during the coronavirus crisis, and by the disability charity Scope.

A card for support workers

Toby Mildon, a Diversity and Inclusion expert and author of Inclusive Growth, a business book, ordered a Connected card to help his support workers pay for everyday supermarket shops. He was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a neuromuscular condition that affects his mobility. Most of his shopping can be done online but he needs assistance for local supermarket shopping. “I was really pleased to see Starling had created the Connected card - it gets around a problem a lot of disabled customers face,” he says.

When it comes to buying groceries or household items, people with disabilities often have to lend their debit card to their support worker. Some set up a separate bank account for this purpose and keep the balance relatively low and no overdraft facility. But many have to trust support workers with their main personal debit card and tell them their PIN. “It’s not safe or secure in any way,” Toby says.

“The solution that Starling has come up with is such an inclusive product for disabled consumers and older people who rely on support workers, relatives or neighbours. It’s the first time I’ve seen something like the Connected card and it’s great that Starling has designed something so innovative.”

Remember that the card is designed for people you trust and that by handing over the card and its PIN, you’re allowing them to spend the money you’ve added to the card through the app.

Tech for Good

Toby, 39, is based in London and uses Starling for both his personal and business banking. He found out about the Connected card from our newsletter, The Murmur. “My background is in technology,” he says. “And now I run an inclusion consultancy for tech businesses, which is why I was particularly attracted to Starling - a modern FinTech organisation. The app is so easy to use and has been designed as a mobile-first experience - the way that modern banking should be.”

Toby Mildon, Diversity and Inclusion expert and author of Inclusive Growth

The Connected card is set up and managed through the Spaces section of the Starling app. The purpose that you choose for the card - Carer, Shopping or Childcare - can be listed on the back of the debit card. When it arrives, the account holder needs to tap ‘Activate’ in the app and create a separate PIN. So far, around 55,000 Starling personal customers have applied for a Connected card, a product that enables the people you trust to lend a helping hand.

This blog was updated on 8 January 2021

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