The months between April, when we did our last round-up, and August have flown. Even though we haven’t seen each other face to face in our offices, due to the coronavirus emergency, we’ve kept up our speedy pace of product launches and updates to the Starling app. And in July, we passed the 1.5 million accounts mark. That includes more than 200,000 small business accounts.
Since April, we’ve:
And our CEO Anne Boden has joined the Board of UK Finance.
Our Bounce Back Loans
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, we knew we had to support our small business customers, so we worked round the clock to be accredited as a lender under the British Business Bank’s, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS). BBLS has offered a lifeline to many customers and so far we’ve approved more than £675 million of BBLS lending to 25,000 customers in need of a helping hand.
Every business owner has their own story of how the pandemic has impacted them and how they pivoted and adapted to lockdown restrictions. We’ve shared some of these stories on our blog, from the science teacher making homemade soap, to the driving instructor waiting to welcome pupils back and guide them through their test. As ever, we are in awe of the resilience of business owners and we’ll strive to keep supporting them however we can.
Our Business Toolkit
Our toolkit has been designed to help sole traders and limited companies run their business all in one place. After beta testing earlier in the year, the Business Toolkit is now fully available. Tools include:
- Invoice creation and auto-matching
- Bill management
- Automatic categorisation of expenses
- Sole trader tax estimation
- VAT recording and submission
- Bookkeeping to-do list
According to our Make Business Simple report, business owners spend an average of ten weeks a year trying to sort their finances. Starling’s toolkit has been designed to cut that time to a minimum so that business owners can spend less time banking and more of their day speaking to customers or making products. For £7 per month, you can subscribe to our toolkit and manage everything from invoices to upcoming tax bills all from our online portal.
The other new product we’ve launched to make business payments easier is our US dollar account for limited companies. The account costs £5 per month and allows business owners to send and receive USD directly from their Starling app.
In June, FS Forum named us their winner for Raising the Standard of Banking for Small Businesses, as part of their Product & Service Innovation Awards. We’re also looking forward to the results of the Women in Finance awards - we’ve been shortlisted for Finance Team of the Year.
The Starling Marketplace enables customers to browse and connect to third-party products and services. We now have 27 integrations in total, with many more in the pipeline.
The latest additions include energy comparison and switching service Bionic, health insurance provider Equipsme, pensions provider Penfold and communications platform Slack. Businesses who set up our integration with Slack will be able to share their real-time Starling notifications for their business account in a private Slack channel, meaning that their financial director or other members of their finance team can also be kept in the loop.
Our personal accounts
In the last few updates to the app, we’ve completed some design tweaks to make your banking experience even slicker. We’ve updated the way Starling bank statements look, to deliver greater transparency: you can now see three types of statements: transaction history, interest earned from Starling and fees paid to Starling.
We’ve also made changes to Spaces, the feature in the Starling app that enables you to ring-fence money for specific objectives, such as a holiday or bills, or even as savings to build a financial buffer against economic uncertainty. You can visualise each objective by adding an image you choose. We’ve now added the ability to organise the list of Spaces you create, in any order you like.
As always, we’re working on a host of further updates and product launches - we can’t wait to share them with you. Stay tuned.