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Starling Bank: One million accounts

11th November 2019

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Today, we want to thank each and every person who said yes to better banking with Starling. We have now reached one million accounts and it’s all thanks to you.

From FinTech enthusiasts to busy parents, eighty-year-olds to eighteen-year-olds, every Starling customer is part of our murmuration. That’s the term for when starlings fly in formation. Together, we make up a movement, one that overturns outdated, exclusive and expensive banking and ushers in fast, collaborative technology designed to make you feel good about money.

Our bank began as a start-up. But today, we’re an established disruptor that other businesses seek to emulate. From the design of our card to the features of our app, we’re leading a new dawn in banking. And we’re bringing a new business model to the banking landscape, one where costs are not inflated by legacy infrastructure or technology.

Starling as a hatchling

Five years ago, Anne Boden had a radical idea: what if customers didn’t have to settle for jargon, fees and clunky technology? What if there was a new kind of bank that gave customers the digital tools they needed to manage their money?

She quit her job and set about gathering a team who shared her vision. They met in coffee shops, talked about big ideas and took the small steps that moved them closer to the goal of creating a new app-based bank.

A grown-up bank

By July 2016 Starling had been awarded its banking licence several months after its first funding round. To date, it has raised £263 million.

On 9th May 2017, Team Starling, now 89 people, launched the app it had worked so hard on. Customers could apply for and open the current account all from the app. If your Mastercard debit card was lost or stolen, you could lock it in a tap. Instant notifications pinged into your phone each time money went in or out of your Starling account. And you could make payments and top up your account with the peace of mind that deposits would be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to £85,000.

Starling was the first UK bank to launch an app-based current account for personal customers. Since then, it has also become the first UK bank to launch app-based business accounts and joint accounts. We’ve also launched euro accounts - both personal and business. Starling customers with a euro account can use their existing debit card for euro spending. All you have to do is change the currency spend in the app.

Spreading our wings

Team Starling is almost eight times the size it was when we launched in app stores. At our last count, we had 700 people working across our offices in London, Southampton, Dublin, Cardiff or remotely in other parts of the UK.

Next year, we’ll continue to grow our UK teams and we’ll also be taking steps to bring Starling to countries across Europe. That’s what our latest £30 million funding round is going to help us achieve.

This autumn, we launched a nationwide advertising campaign to tell more people about what Starling believes in and offers: better banking for everyone. Our TV advertisement featured a murmuration of starlings that catches the eye of business owners and personal customers up and down the country.

Values of a murmuration

When a group of starlings fly together, they create something beautiful, safe and strong. Starling birds are fast, adaptable, sociable and friendly. These values are what we strive for, inspired by the bird we’re named after.

From day one, we’ve seen the importance of being open and fair. That’s why we talk about what’s coming up for Starling on our social media channels and blog. Future launches include: cheque imaging, budgeting tools for business customers and more.

We want to work together to make things simpler. So we pass on tips from our business customers for getting a venture off the ground. We also explain how credit scores work and how to start investing with just £1.

You can sign up to an online investment platform and other financial services through the Starling Marketplace, the space in the app where you can access third-party products and services. Online investment providers include WealthSimple or Wealthify, two of our 16 partners. Through the Marketplace, you can also access insurance, mortgages, cashback offers and a way to link your rent payments that could help boost your credit score. We promise that when you sign up to a product or service through the Starling Marketplace, we won’t charge you extra.

We won’t charge you for using your card abroad either. And if you go into your overdraft unexpectedly, we’ll only charge you our standard interest rate of 15% EAR and we’ll cap the charge at £2. There are no monthly fees for our business accounts, available for freelancers, sole traders, contractors and limited companies.

Everyone deserves better banking. Thank you for being part of it.

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