“It’s like a breath of fresh air when you deal with Starling,” says Major John Huggins (pictured above). John, 75, is based in Lincolnshire. He opened his personal account with Starling in January 2022.

“I was getting progressively more and more cheesed off with my high street bank. When you try to talk to them, you go onto an automatic machine and if it can’t answer your question, you can’t get out and talk to a real person. I went to look for an alternative and found Starling.”

He’s recently decided to switch to Starling. This means that we’ve transferred his balance, direct debits and payees away from his old bank account, which can then be closed. You can start your switch, which is guaranteed within seven days through the Current Account Switching Service (CASS), straight from the app.

Human customer service

One of the reasons John decided to switch to Starling is our 24/7 Customer Service. He contacted us to find out his IBAN number, which is needed to arrange an international transfer into his Starling account.

“The guy I spoke to was very pleasant, one of the best Customer Service guys I’ve come across in 20 years,” he says. The Starling Customer Service team member told John his IBAN number, which is needed for incoming international payments, and explained where to find it in the Starling app, under ‘Account details’.

“He also spoke about adding a note to my account about my Parkinson’s - it can take me a long time to put numbers or letters into the small face of a phone. No one had ever bothered to do that before.” Starling customers can contact us through live chat, by email or on the phone.

“The most important thing in someone’s life is their name and being recognised as individuals, which is what I like about Starling.”

Art and aeroplanes

Since developing Parkinson’s in 2016, John has returned to his passion for painting. “If I hadn’t become a pilot, I would have become an art teacher,” he says.

John joined the Royal Airforce (RAF) in 1965 and left in 1973. He then worked for a transport company and became part of the Territorial Army, the part-time volunteer force of the British Army, in 1977. He retired twenty years later with the rank of Major. He now has a part-time job in data collection.

“I was talking to my daughter one day and she asked me to do a painting of what I was doing when she was born. I looked back through my logbook and found I was doing a test flight over the North Sea, so I painted a picture of it and put it on Facebook,” he says.

“People started asking me for copies. Sometimes, the Parkinson’s is too bad for me to paint - it takes me a while and I can’t say that I’ll do one next week because I don’t know what next week will be like.”

He’s completed dozens of paintings, some of which have been commissioned from overseas. “One of the people who wanted a painting was in Croatia and in order to get the money, we needed to arrange a bank transfer, which is why I phoned Starling.”

John’s paintings often feature planes he has flown

Taking flight with Starling

John manages all his everyday money with the Starling app. “I like the fact that I can go onto my phone, push one button and see my balance. I also like that there’s no nonsense logging in. Particularly for older people or people with a disability, it needs to be easy.”

He uses his fingerprint to login to the app on his iPhone. “You’ve got to treat everyone with equal concern - that’s what I’m impressed by with Starling.”

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