We have an audacious goal here at Starling to transform banking, and in the process to create a Marketplace Platform that enables us to partner with a range of providers to offer a wide set of products and services. Today, we’re excited to share with you that we’ve taken a major step towards making that vision a reality: we’ve just received a letter from the regulator granting us a set of permissions which will enable us to create our Marketplace of financial services within the Starling app!
Over the past year and a half, we’ve built our developer platform and Starling API, making us the first licensed bank in the UK to have the technology to enable customers to securely connect to other financial services apps (you may have heard of this being referred to as “a PSD2-ready API”). Then, to celebrate the launch, we held the UK’s inaugural Open Banking hackathon last April where we invited over 100 people to join us for a weekend hackathon at Google Campus to build on our public API. Since then, we’ve been making cool integrations available for our customers, like the Tail integration (which started at the hackathon!), as well as integrations with Moneybox, Yoyo Wallet and Yolt.
This was just the beginning though. Last June, we unveiled our Marketplace for the first time and then launched an initial version in the Starling app with our first partner, Flux. We launched this as we did not need any permissions for this, and we wanted to get early customer feedback and test the flow with a non-financial product. However, while we were testing the experience with Flux, we simultaneously applied to the PRA and FCA for approval to add financial services products to the Marketplace, so that we could introduce customers to other financial products and services, like an ISA or a mortgage, from within the Starling app.
Now, we have been granted the additional permissions which will enable us to give customers direct access to a wide range of financial products, including ISAs, insurances, loans, mortgages, and other investment products, all from within the Starling app. Rather than offering these products ourselves, we’ll be connecting customers with other awesome fintech companies from across the market who offer these products and services.
Our mission is to create a marketplace of best-in-class products, so that we can focus on creating the world’s best current account, while also giving Starling customers choice and transparency among their options for other financial products, to help them easily access these other providers by securely connecting them via API, and to view and manage their status with these providers from within Starling, so that Starling is the gateway to your whole financial life. You’ll no longer need to use 5 different apps to check your account balance, check your ISA and add funds to it, check the status of your mortgage or take out travel insurance – you’ll be able to do all of that from within the Starling app.
As we get to scale and integrate in a large number of providers per category, we’ll build on this marketplace model to additionally offer robo-advice, intelligently using customer’s Starling bank data to help them make sense of their options and find the best product for them.
These permissions are key for us to be able to launch the Marketplace, and are a huge differentiator for us. There are others in the market who have similar permissions, such as price comparison sites, but because we are a bank with APIs we have additional abilities to help connect customers with these products by sharing across customer data (with customer authorisation, of course) to help users connect and access these additional products from within the Starling Bank app. No more duplicate form filling, with your consent we can securely share your data from Starling across to help set up these additional products, and make it so you can access additional products with just a few taps. For example, imagine being able to move money from your Starling Savings Goals into an ISA with just a tap of a button, or being able to get travel insurance in a tap via the Starling Marketplace as you wait to board a plane.
Further, the Starling Marketplace will serve as a gateway to view and manage each of these financial products, as users will be able to see a dashboard of each of their integrations, so they can keep track everything in one place.
We’ll be working to start making this a reality over the coming months, so stay tuned for more updates, and to start seeing the Marketplace come to life!