In this latest milestone post, we look back on how far we’ve come since the beginning of the year and what we’ve been working on for our customers.

So far in 2021, we have:

  • Introduced debit cards made from recycled plastic for a greener way to pay
  • Become a founding member of the Tech Zero taskforce to help tackle the climate crisis
  • Joined Funding Options’ panel of lenders
  • Brought our total of government-backed small business lending to more than £2 billion
  • Improved app navigation, including a new account switcher
  • Updated our iPad app to support multitasking, meaning you can split screen
  • Updated our Business Toolkit to reflect the Chancellor’s Budget changes
  • Added PensionBee to our Marketplace for personal customers

We’ve also raised £322 million in a Series D funding round, bringing on board new high quality investment institutions, including Fidelity and Goldman Sachs. Since launching in 2017, we’ve opened more than two million accounts, including more than 350,000 small business accounts.

Updating our Business Toolkit

Our Business Toolkit enables Starling business customers to create and track invoices, schedule and pay bills, and do bookkeeping in their bank account. Toolkit users can submit Making Tax Digital VAT returns to HMRC, and pay their VAT without leaving their Starling account. Sole traders can also get a P&L and income tax estimation. Anyone who signs up to the Toolkit this April will get it free for the first three months. After that, it costs £7 per month.

We’ve now made things even easier, by adding the ability to export multiple invoices, receipts and attachments in one go, so you can share them with your accountant. If you use credit cards, you can bulk upload those transactions, so that your bookkeeping is complete. We’ve updated the Toolkit to support the construction industry’s domestic reverse charge and Brexit VAT changes, as well as the latest updates to tax rate thresholds and student loans.

Helping British businesses run and grow

Last May, Starling opened applications for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) to help small businesses that had been hit by the first lockdown. Since then, we’ve delivered 54,500 Bounce Back loans worth more than £1.6 billion. We also participated in the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and did some more government-backed lending through Funding Circle, taking our total to more than £2 billion. Applications for BBLS and CBILS closed on 31st March 2021 and we are now working hard to develop tools and resources to support our customers when they start repaying their loans.

Funding Options, a platform that helps business owners get the right finance in place, has added Starling to its panel of lenders. As a result, we’ll be able to support even more small business owners sustain and grow their enterprise.

Improving our app navigation

We’ve rolled out improvements in app navigation, making it easier and faster to find what you’re looking for as you bank on the move.

For Android, there’s now a new bottom navigation bar where you can navigate between Payments, Spending, Home, Card and Spaces. On both Android and iOS, there’s a refreshed menu in the top right corner, where you can access things like Statements, Help and Account information. If you hold multiple accounts, this menu allows you to instantly switch between them.

Reducing our carbon footprint

Last month, we started issuing debit cards made from recycled plastic to reduce the amount of plastic we produce. Whenever a customer joins Starling or needs a replacement card, we send out a debit card partly made from recycled plastic. Our new and replacement cards are made from 75% recycled rPVC plastic with 25%, the chip and laminated surface, made from non-recycled materials. The design and functionality of the card is exactly the same as the old one.

The change to our debit cards is one of many steps we’ve taken to become more environmentally friendly. All four of our offices run on renewable energy and we’re planting thousands of trees through our partnership with Trillion Trees.

We’ve also joined forces with a number of other technology companies to accelerate the UK’s progress as a whole to reduce carbon emissions. The Tech Zero taskforce, formally launching in June, is backed by the entrepreneur network Tech Nation and designed to tackle the climate crisis. Stay tuned for more updates in this space.

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