You may well have seen in-app that the Starling Marketplace is steadily filling up with a range of partners, but what does it actually mean for you? Today our Marketplace Product Manager, Cecilia, gives you the lowdown on our integrated partners and explains just how easy it is to get started.

What if everything just worked together?

Let me start this off with a question (or three). How many accounts do you have to manage your finances? No – I’m not just talking about the current account you hold with your bank, but also your savings, investments, insurance and your mortgage (if you have one)? What about your credit score and your bills – do you have to use a separate app or website to stay on top of these? Wouldn’t it be nice if all that information was in one place and everything just worked together?

We’re big believers in doing things as a team. We think that great things can come from working together. That’s no different for our finances, which is why we’re working hard with our friends from across the industry to bring everything into a single place and give you a holistic view of your financial life from every angle – without needing to visit a mass of websites or use up storage space downloading a horde of apps.

We’ve been building out our Marketplace over the last few months with initial partners such as PensionBee, which lets you combine your pensions, then track your investment right from our app. Now we’re excited to announce and launch some new partners.

This week we’ve added Wealthify, an online investment management company, to the Marketplace. This allows you to set up a savings account or ISA with as little as £1 saving. When you sign up and authorise Starling to share your details with Wealthify, we’ll save you time by providing these automatically – so there’s no need to enter in all of your information again, and no chance of typos either.

Next week we’ll also be adding our first mortgage broker, Habito, who are facilitating the traditionally very frustrating and time-consuming mortgage process. The partnership will allow you to initiate a mortgage application and follow it through the entire procedure – right from our app.

You’ve got the power

The Starling Marketplace is all about giving you choice and putting you in control – whether that’s discovering an investment company that suits your needs, finding an insurance quote that fits the bill or choosing cheaper deals on your utilities and other expenses.

Whatever it is that you’re looking for, it’s important that you make the right choice and Marketplace can help that decision by displaying products from all sorts of companies – over the coming months we will add older established brands as well as up and coming startups.

In fact, we’re looking to have around 25 partners in the Marketplace before the end of the year and we’re talking to a number of potential partners every single week. We believe this is a much better prospect than trying to build out our own savings and insurance products, which we would then upsell to our own customers, as has traditionally been the case in banking for a long time. Just like you, we’re fed up of getting those pesky sales letters in the post too.

Getting technical, briefly

We’re going to get technical for a brief moment here to explain how it works. Information is shared between us and each third-party service via APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). These are a set of functions which allow services to talk to each other. Once that’s set up, wonderful things can happen!

It’s good to be aware that there are a few different levels of partnership. Some services, such as money management apps Emma and Yolt, use our API to see data from your Starling account but don’t provide any information back into the Starling app. With other partners, such as Wealthify, we use each other’s APIs and your data is therefore travelling both ways. In this case, Wealthify use our API to help speed up your account opening process by pre-populating a number of fields with data we have, and we use their API to show your Savings and ISA balances within the Marketplace. A few partners, such as Habito, are starting out sharing data back to Starling but not yet using our APIs; this is something they will be integrating in future though to ensure user get the best possible experience.

Each partner will need different levels of information too: for example a mortgage broker may need to see your transactions (instead of you having to send bank statements), whilst an insurance partner may need access to your personal detail such as name, address, phone number and email.

Regardless of how the integration is set up, you will always be brought into the Starling Bank app, told what information you will need to share and be asked to agree before any connection is made. Plus, with our open API, all this information can be shared quickly and securely, with the option to revoke access anytime from the Marketplace section of our app.

Here’s to a more connected future

Currently for apps such as Wealthify and PensionBee we show high level information within the Marketplace. In the future we’d like to take integrations like these even further and allow you to trigger various actions, such as donating to charity or topping up your investments without leaving our app. Wealthify is the first truly integrated partner in our Marketplace, with data being shared both ways, in future all partners will use this flow as standard. There’s also much more we want to start working on with our Marketplace partners, such as pulling in more complex data so you can view and manage your integrations via the Starling app. For example, one of the key features we want to add to the Wealthify integration is the ability to easily add money (from your Starling account and even from a particular Goal you may have set up) to your ISA without even having to leave the Starling app.

We’re also planning to bring the Marketplace to our Starling for business customers later this year, with integrations to products such as Xero and FreeAgent, two of the major accounting software providers. There will also be other categories specifically for business, such as loans, business insurance and expenses offerings.

As mentioned above, we’re aiming for 25 partners by the end of 2018 including charities, bill management services, credit scores and more insurance products to cover everything that’s important to you and your business.

As the Marketplace grows we’ll look to make it into a great place for discovery, with the ability to filter the options down to reflect your individual requirements. Think of it as the App Store for your finances. We’re looking to create a rich environment that’s personal to you and, where appropriate, link partners deeply into the app. For instance, being able to see your savings and investments from other providers right from the Goals screen. The Marketplace should work with your finances and reflect what is meaningful to you – at the right time and in the right space.

The above is intended as general information and does not constitute advice in any way. You should take independent advice if you have any questions about your specific circumstances. Remember that with investments, your capital is at risk. Investments and pensions can go down in value as well as up, so you could get back less than you invest.

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