At Starling, the help provided by our specialist support team covers, but is not limited to, people with mental health conditions, people with physical disabilities and people who experience a sudden change in their lives, such as a bereavement or redundancy.
“Supporting vulnerable customers is very much something we embed at all levels of the bank,” says Alexandra Smith, Customer Relations Manager at Starling. “It starts with product design, all the way through to supporting customers when they contact us and ask for help.”
Specialist support at Starling
Life changes can happen to all of us and the Specialist Support team is here to help. The changed circumstances might include:
- Panic or anxiety over paying your rent, mortgage or essential bills
- Worry over going outside to buy essential groceries
- Job loss or redundancy
- Addiction, such as gambling or shopping
- Domestic violence or abuse
Starling is here to listen and do everything we can to help our customers. “We can signpost to organisations offering mental health support and often, we can help fix the problem,” says Kier Davis, Customer Support Specialist at Starling.
For debt issues, Starling recommends contacting organisations such as StepChange and Money Advice Service. For mental health, we suggest Mind and Samaritans. For bereavement, we guide customers to Cruse Bereavement Care.
Alexandra adds: “Our Specialist Support team has a very high level of knowledge when it comes to supporting customers who are experiencing vulnerability. We have a very tailored approach and look at everything on a case by case basis.”
Here to help
Depending on the customer’s need or request, the Specialist Support team will look for the best solution. This may involve recommending features of the Starling app, such as our gambling block or the ability to turn off online payments.
“We’ve spoken to lots of people who are housebound and can’t go out, which is where we’re able to suggest the Connected card,” says Kier. The Connected card is an additional debit card designed to help trusted friends, neighbours or volunteers do grocery shopping on someone’s behalf. The card is capped at £200 and secured by a separate unique PIN.
The Starling team has designed the app to make it as accessible as possible, both when applying and when using our app-based bank accounts. You can apply for a Starling personal account simply by downloading the app - all you need is a smartphone, a form of ID and a UK address for us to send your debit card to. You don’t need to go to a bank branch or speak to anyone on the phone.
Once verified, you can start using your account straight away using your Digital Wallet - you don’t even need to wait for your card to arrive in the post (usually 3-5 working days). Starling customers also benefit from a number of smart money management features. These include:
- Accurate bank balance with no delays
- Notifications for income, outgoings and upcoming bills
- One simple screen to see direct debits and standing orders
- Ability to lock your debit card or block online payments straight from the app
- Tool to set savings aside from your main balance
Starling customers also have a choice of how to contact our 24/7 Customer Service team: in-app live chat, phone call or email. Day or night, we’re here for our customers.