Debit cards, handbags, shopping – oh my! There’s nothing like a good shop, and we just made our own piece of history with a game changing purchase.

Anne and Starling team with the first debit cards

Earlier this week we marked a significant milestone in Starling history.

We received our first batch of Starling Bank debit cards. So we marched with our new cards in hand to Regent Street.

Our small party was made up of Julian Sawyer, our COO, Megan Caywood, our Head of Marketplace and yours truly. Our mission – to test our new cards. And to our delight, they worked a treat.

Our first stop was a small coffee shop, where after some nail-biting and a few butterflies, we bought the best-tasting brownies ever – for the enormous amount of £1.80.

Confident we’d succeeded with a small purchase, we wanted to try something bigger. And that was when the Osprey London store caught my eye. Crossing the road, it was like fate. There in the storefront was the most beautiful (Starling) purple handbag to match my Starling purple debit card.

Megan and I shared a look. There was no better choice for our first real spend.

We waited anxiously and celebrated loudly (much to the Osprey London store manager, Rafael Rodrigues’, confusion) as the transaction processed.

The first purchase with a Starling card

But then came the hardest part. Julian, though thrilled that months of hard work were paying off (pun intended), he explained that before we could truly celebrate we needed make the card fail.

That may sound strange – who wants a card that doesn’t work? – but given that Starling is all about ensuring our customers can shop with confidence, one vital part is stopping payments that are bigger than our bank balance.

So we turned to Rafael and asked for his help. We needed to try to pay for something way above our price range. We also needed him to refund us if the payment went through.

Worrying, however, proved needless. After Rafael helped us gather enough Osprey London stock to make other customer’s stare, the card successfully failed.

Finally, we could really celebrate.

We have the licence, we have the technology, now we have the card.

It’s a huge landmark for us.

Starling’s journey started almost two years ago, when we set out to build a bank that would help customers make better financial decisions so they can manage their money with confidence.

As Rafael said, “When Anne and her team approached me with their requests and showed me the Starling card, I was excited. Osprey London sits on one of the busiest corners of London but to become a world-first in helping Starling to test their cards – it’s not something that happens everyday. I was thrilled to help and look forward to seeing many more purple cards here in the future.”

Since we received our banking licence two months ago, we’ve been working around the clock to build our bank’s infrastructure and finally that part of the work is in place.

Now it’s just up to our talented team to finish crafting the app with the invaluable input of our enthusiastic wait list community.

The Starling team with their first debit cards

We’ll be releasing previews of features over the coming weeks.

If you’d like to be part of our community, sign-up to find out how you can get involved, and be one of the first to have a Starling account.

Want your own beautiful Osprey London Bag?

The purple bag bought with the first Starling card

The Regent Mini Grab in (Starling) purple Polished Croc leather is the newest addition to the <a href="" target="blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">OSPREY LONDON AW Collection and is named after their lovely flagship store. This structured shape works brilliantly with the tailoring that’s around this AW while the on-trend purple colour can also be found on The Regent Matinee Purse, The Regent Clutch and a fab new collection of boxed gifts – lots more reasons to visit in the coming weeks!_


  • We were founded by British entrepreneur/designer Graeme Ellisdon in 1980. Then just 25 years old, he had a pocket full of dreams and £500 to invest in his new business.
  • The business remains wholly owned by Graeme and his family and now has 12 UK stores: more details can be found at
  • From the original handstitched leather belts from 1980, we moved into bags and small leather goods for men and women, before diversifying into silks, gifts, home fragrance, art, furniture – and the Saddlery Cafés that everyone seems to love too.
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