Team Starling is hard at work to keep making money management easier, especially in such difficult times. The coronavirus outbreak is a huge challenge for everyone but we are taking it in our stride.
In response to the current crisis, we’ve launched:
✓ In-app cheque deposits up to £500
✓ Connected card for Starling personal account
✓ Ability to request a 3 month holiday on overdraft charges for personal customers
✓ A new section of the blog that collects our advice relating to the coronavirus, both for personal and business customers
✓ A website tool for business customers wanting to know about available government support
This year, we’ve also released:
✓ Business banking toolkit (beta)
✓ New spending categories for business customers
✓ Preview function before exporting PDFs of bank statements
✓ Statement downloads organised by tax year
✓ 48-hour delay for switching off the gambling block
✓ Three new Marketplace services
✓ National TV commercial for our business accounts
✓ #MakeMoneyEqual booklet
Banking from anywhere
From the beginning, Starling has been designed to enable you to manage your money anywhere, at any time with no monthly fees. We want Starling to become the digital hub for your financial life, whether you’re making high value payments or switching to a new home insurance provider through our Marketplace.
In our most recent updates, we’ve brought 21st century technology to a traditional form of making payments: cheques. If you need to deposit a cheque of £500 or less, tap the green plus button next to where your balance is displayed. This will take you to our ’Add Money’ tab, where you’ll be able to take a photo of your cheque to be processed by our team.
Our free postal service for cheque is still available for those who prefer it, or if the cheque is for a value greater than £500. Remember to write your name and account number on the back of the cheque, then pop it in an envelope and write Freepost Starling in capitals on the front.
We’ve also added an option for personal customers to order a separate debit card linked to your personal account. This Connected card can be given to a trusted neighbour or friend to buy groceries or household essentials for you if you’re self-isolating.
The other change we’ve made is to give personal customers in financial difficulty an option to pause overdraft fees for three months. If you use Starling as your main account and have seen a drop in income as a result of Coronavirus, you can apply for an overdraft interest holiday by contacting Customer Service. Once accepted, all overdraft fees for a balance up to £500 will be waived for the following three months.
Providing more tools for our business customers
Starling has recently been accredited as a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) lender. That means we’ll be one of the banks who can provide financial support for business customers who are struggling financially as a result of coronavirus.
Since launching our business toolkit in beta, our team has been developing and improving it based on the feedback you’ve been providing. The toolkit enables sole traders and limited companies to create invoices and match amounts to incoming payments, upload bills and set money aside for tax or VAT. The toolkit will cost £7 per month for sole traders and £12 per month for limited companies and is coming soon, enabling you to do even more banking from home.
Also for business customers, we’ve launched three new Marketplace services, the space in the app for third-party products and services. New additions include buy-to-let mortgage provider Molo and project management app UnderPinned, who have recently released a free resource for freelancers on dealing with the impact of coronavirus on your business. UnderPinned is also offering free essential membership, which includes a contract and portfolio builder and access to their network, until September while freelancers weather the storm.
Spreading our message
Back in February, we launched a second national TV campaign, focusing on business customers. The video featured a business customer launching her business into the world, quite literally, while working from her garden shed. As part of this, we did some research and found that there are more than 100,000 UK micro-businesses and sole traders that run their firms from a garden shed.
Earlier in the year, we also looked into the number of hours that businesses spend on financial admin, which equates to ten weeks a year, on average. We published our full list of findings in our Make Business Simple report.
And speaking of reports, we’ve also expanded our #MakeMoneyEqual campaign to include a booklet, written by Anne T. Donaghue with illustrations from Erin Aniker. We want to fuel the conversation we started in 2018 about how the media speaks to women and men differently when it comes to money. It’s still happening and we want to keep working to change that.
We’ve also kicked off series number five of the Starling Developer podcast. Our first episode was about building a virtual team. Stay tuned for more episodes on ethics and technology and the philosophy that underpins Starling.