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John Hibbs: Banking for all occasions

30th September 2019

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Is there such a thing as too many Starling accounts? John Hibbs, who has five Starling accounts, certainly doesn’t think so. John, 41, is a stay-at-home dad, software engineer and runs a charity with his family. Here, we run through how he manages his money with Starling.

Everyday banking

In 2013, John left his job in IT to become a full-time dad. Until recently, he managed the family finances using traditional banks but found himself growing increasingly frustrated at the time and effort it took to make simple payments or set up savings accounts for his children.

As someone with a background in tech raising two daughters, it was Starling’s story that appealed to him most: Starling is the UK’s first female founded bank. “Starling’s story really hits home. Promoting tech for girls and the idea that they can do anything they want to in the future is really important to me,” he says.

John’s personal account with Starling makes organising family finances simple. “I just love the app, it’s so easy.” He’s set up several savings Goals, including pots of money for each of his daughters, a holiday fund and a cushion of savings for unexpected bills. Remember that Starling Goals isn’t a specified savings account for children, it’s a tool within your account to separate money from your main balance.

A teal Starling card at a fruit stand
John uses Starling Goals to set aside money

While Starling Goals help him keep on top of saving, the real-time notifications for outgoings keep him in the loop with spending. “If something unexpected comes out of the account, you can be on it straight away,” he says. Starling customers who receive a notification of a payment that they don’t recognise can go into the app and lock their card instantly before contacting Starling’s customer service, available 24/7.

He also uses Starling for everyday spending through his joint account. Both he and his wife can see all the transactions in the account in real time and each is notified when the other spends money.

No fees overseas

Starling doesn’t charge customers for using their card abroad or withdrawing cash - the first feature to catch John’s eye. The family have just got back from a two week trip to Jávea in Spain. “It’s very quiet and there are no English breakfasts every five yards,” he says. “We didn’t take any cash, we just used our joint Starling account for everything - hopping on the bus, going to the port to buy ice-cream, it just works.”

A teal Starling card in front of a waterfront scene
John uses his Starling personal account to manage everyday family finances both home and away

He also set up a Starling euro account to pay the deposit for the apartment they stayed in. “It was so straightforward to set up the account and payment details - it was done and dusted in minutes.”

He’s been recommending Starling to friends and family. “My mum and dad are retired and have a motorhome. They use Starling for travelling so that they don’t have to worry about keeping cash on them,” he says.

Smart business banking

John taught himself how to code while working for a local electricity supplier, having left school at 16 to pursue a career as a footballer. His football days are behind him but coding is a skill that he continues to build and has turned into a flexible, fulfilling business.

He has two business accounts with Starling. The first is for his website design business, HIBBSCO. He switched to Starling from a high street bank. For the first year, his high street banking was free but once that year was up, he had to pay £8 a month for a business account. With Starling, he saves on monthly fees and also has access to real-time integrations with online accounting software providers such as Xero.

Banking on a family-run charity

John’s second Starling business account is for the Hibbs Lupus Trust, a charity dedicated to raising awareness about Lupus, a chronic and currently incurable illness of the immune system. His sister Viki was diagnosed with Lupus in 2008 and like many others had never heard of the disease.

“She received fantastic support from the local hospital but there were no local support groups in the Midlands,” he explains. “I ran two London marathons for her and raised £20,000 but we didn’t see any difference being made locally.”

In 2011, the Hibbs family decided to set up their own charity. An estimated 10,000 people have Lupus in the UK but the average diagnosis time is seven years, something which could be improved with a more widespread awareness of Lupus symptoms. “The charity work is all done in our spare time, we don’t pay ourselves any wages and we raise between £20,000 and £25,000 a year,” he says. The Hibbs family use a multi-owner Starling business account to manage the charity finances. “I like everyone to have full visibility of the money,” he says.

John and Viki Hibbs, co-founders of the Hibbs Lupus Trust
John and Viki Hibbs, co-founders of the Hibbs Lupus Trust

Find out more about Lupus through the Hibbs Lupus Trust website or have a look at John’s website design work through HIBBSCO.

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