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It’s no easy feat bringing together busy Londoners on a school night – at least if you want to discuss banking. Because let’s be real, banking, like politics, is one of those topics we’ve all been taught to avoid at the dinner table.

But that’s exactly what we decided to try to do recently — gathering together 24 busy Londoners to sit down with us over a roast dinner seasoned with plenty of sass and discuss money.

Specifically: their money.

The money that drives their passions. That they use for their side-hustles, trips abroad, gigs and festivals. The money that turns their ‘every day’ into the stuff of dreams. Or at least a well curated Instagram feed.

Fabienne and Savanna at King’s Head Members Club
Fabienne and Savanna at King’s Head Members Club

Ok — maybe we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. For some background, here at Starling Bank, we believe that passion is what rules us all. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning, drives us through the day and long into the night.

That’s why we’ve been busy talking to and supporting the grassroots communities and small businesses that inspire us because they’re so truly into what they do. Recently, we partnered with vintage vendors such as Dukes Cupboard in support of their vintage pop-up market at Number Six just off Brick Lane. We even hosted our first event with them (check out the video at the end of this blog!), but it was ahead of this that we decided to bring a few of that community over for dinner for a chat about the money things that get in the way of their passions and what they’d love to solve about banking.

Placename at table

So with that rambling disclaimer, here are a few features you might also like to check out from Starling and how they can help you too.

Card control

We all have that story and if you’re anything like me, you tend to misplace your card daily. The process of cancelling and ordering a new card is an ordeal in itself, even worse if it’s stolen and a stranger has gone to the trouble of spending all your hard earned cash. Guests recounted horrible memories of stolen cards and unsympathetic banks ‘investigating’ shopping sprees and waiting weeks, even months, for the money to be replaced.

With the in app lock and unlock feature, these troubles are gone.

“It’s madness that a bank hasn’t done the lock card feature before!” — Sandeep, vintage trader

Screenshot of Twitter post
Screenshot of Twitter post

No fees overseas

Another key feature that impressed was that Starling has no fees overseas. Let’s face it, we’ve all got a serious case of the travel bug, and if you ask me, or any millennial for that matter, travel is a necessary part of life. With no fees overseas, Starling Bank definitely agrees. Forget about those pesky ATM withdrawal fees, with Starling they don’t exist. Starling don’t charge you any fees for accessing your money abroad and for the majority of our guests who are frequent travellers, this was a game changer.

Helping to manage your money

One guest shared her experience of always struggling to make ends meet, a familiar story. Life can be expensive, so being punished for going beyond your approved overdraft can just add to the stress — we get that sometimes you can trip up. Guests were astounded that we’d rather help empower them to manage their money instead of letting them go further beyond their means and then charge extra harsh fees. The fact you can adjust your overdraft limit in app, and get a daily view of how long you’ve been in overdraft and the interest being charged — tools that encourage you to be in control of and behave better with your money — also went down a treat.

Full transparency

Hey, remember that time you needed to write in perfect cursive in order to live? No? Me neither. There was a recurring conversation amongst our guests about the lack of practical money skills we’re taught at school. Why are we all experts on fractions and how to play the recorder, yet when it comes to transparency and managing our money, very few of us know where to start? Our guests saw the real-time notifications coupled with the in app Pulse, which breaks down your daily spending, as a breath of fresh air. Finally, a bank that isn’t hiding your spending but allows you to control your money in a transparent way! As Boya Demarko, one of our very special guests put it, the Starling app is “Your very own financial PT”.

Screenshot of Starling Pulse homescreen

The pop up

It all came full circle at the final event: our first pop-up. After evenings spent chatting banks, our 24 guests signed up for Starling accounts to give them the full Starling experience. And then we left them to go out and enjoy the night, supporting our vintage trade partners and finding out just how different spending with Starling can be.

Our special guests also helped spread the word – bringing in over 200 friends who proceeded to shop, drink and dance the night away – all to the solid tunes of DJ Oneman and Audio Bullys.

DJ Oneman at Number 6
DJ Oneman at Number 6

Free tunes, booze and food courtesy of Captain Morgan and Mother Clucker, and an amazing space to dance, mingle and shop classic vintage, made for one very cool event.

Our goal is to spread the Starling word and what better way to do that than to encourage and help support people’s passions in life with a party.

Because after all, it’s passion that makes the world go round.

People eating street food

Stay tuned for our next event in July where we focus on the passions of musicians!

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Once again, massive props to all our partners on the night for making it a special occasion!

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