Managing money in difficult times

15th November 2018

by:

Kier Davis, our Vulnerable Customer Specialist, shares how we support our account holders in managing their money during difficult times.


The unexpected can happen to any of us and from time to time we may find that we need to talk to our bank about a difficult situation.

I joined Starling because I believe that banking needs to change. One of the main ways I think we can make a difference is in the way we communicate with our customers. The last thing anyone wants during a difficult time is a challenging encounter with their bank.

Here at Starling, we understand you may not want to talk to your bank when times are hard, but we want you to know that we’re here to help.

Today, we’re publishing information on the key ways we support our current account customers. We now have a dedicated page on our website to highlight exactly how we can help our customers in a number of difficult situations.

Financial difficulties

Money troubles are widespread and are the cause of stress for a lot of people every day. You may be struggling to repay a loan or a credit card bill. You might have lost your job or be unable to work because you are sick or are caring for someone else. Maybe there's a stack of unopened envelopes sitting by your front door. Or perhaps you are looking despondently at social media posts of friends who seem to have the perfect life, while you are barely scraping by and living in dread of the next gas bill.

It can all feel so overwhelming. It's perfectly natural to want to clam up in such situations. But this can often make things worse. That's why we want you to know that we are here to help you find a better path. Our dedicated Customer Service team - they are 100% human, no bots here - can talk to you about your individual financial situation and establish how we can help. Our specialist team is available between 09:00 and 17:00 Monday to Friday and if you contact us outside of these hours we’ll make sure that we arrange for the team to get in touch.

We understand that you might not feel like talking about your financial difficulties. So, we've added some information that will hopefully point you in the direction of a service that can provide the help or support you need. Read our money worries support information.

Gambling

I’m particularly proud of Starling being able to offer a gambling block feature to our customers - you can block all transactions made at gambling and betting institutions in the security screen of the app.

This feature has been designed to help those who wish to improve or control their financial situation following conversations with charities such as GambleAware and GamCare, who run the National Gambling Helpline. Read more about our gambling block feature.

Bereavement

Losing a loved one is always hard and we don’t want to make what is already a difficult and stressful time any worse. Our Customer Service team are available 24 hours a day to help you access funds for funeral payments or paying bills.

We know that managing requests for paperwork is often the last thing on your mind, which is why we want to make it is as easy as possible for you to communicate with us. You can do this via the app, on the phone or by email.

You can find more information on what we’ll need from you if the person who has died was a Starling customer, and other ways we could help on our bereavement support page.

Mental health

Statistically, every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. We understand it’s not always easy to talk about these things, but nobody should have to face a mental health problem alone. We’re always here to help, and there are support charities and networks out there that can also provide advice during this difficult time.

A charity close to my heart is Mind, which I have proudly completed fundraising for to ensure they’re able to continue the good work that they do.

Kier Davis completed the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for Mind
Kier Davis raised £1000 for Mind by completing the Three Peaks Challenge

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mind, it’s a mental health charity offering information and support when you need it most. Their work impacts millions of lives each year.

If you’d like to find out more about Mind, you can visit their website. You may also find support and practical help at Money and Mental Health, an independent charity, committed to breaking the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems.

These are just a few examples of the types of situation we can help you with. I strongly believe that we can work with our customers to support them in taking control of their finances. So, whatever the issue, you can talk to us.

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