Built by young people, for young people

31st August 2018

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We’re opening up our mobile-only personal account for 16 and 17-year-olds. Lucas Johnston, our 17-year-old Junior Engineer, shares the story of extending the Starling experience to young people.


We launched Starling Bank in 2014 with a clear vision in mind: to build a bank that would help you manage your money, all from one app. Technology has transformed the way we live and work, and brought virtually every industry along for the ride - apart from finance. Nothing was more than a few taps away, except for your bank balance.

Starling was built to solve this problem by making an intuitive mobile banking experience that allows you to bank anywhere with ease. We weren’t the only ones to do this either - in fact, a whole generation of fintech companies emerged to solve this very issue, each in their own way. However, there’s been a gap in the market that’s not yet been filled.

The mobile generation has grown up with an app for everything - from booking a taxi to tracking the stars above them. But banking for young people hasn’t changed in decades. To get an account, you have to convince a parent, drag them down to a bank branch and fill out endless paperwork. When you eventually get your card, you’re probably stuck with an archaic chip and PIN card without contactless, Google Pay, or Apple Pay. To check your balance, you either to go down to the branch, enter a bazillion passwords over the phone or on your computer, or have to use a clunky, unintuitive and limited version of a bank’s mobile banking app.

Some fintech companies have emerged to try and solve some of these issues, but often have a monthly cost attached, enforce parental oversight, block merchants, and cause more problems than they’re trying to solve.

We’re shaking up the industry, yet again

For young people, taking your first steps into the world of finance is already confusing enough, without having to navigate an unintuitive banking experience.

When I joined Starling as a 17-year-old junior engineer last year, I hoped it would give me a chance to do my bit to change the industry. My mum and dad had contactless cards, but my bank card hadn't changed in decades. So I walked up to the office of our CEO, Anne Boden, knocked on the door, and laid out my proposal for a young person’s account.

This week, I’m excited to announce the launch of Starling for young people, starting with accounts for 16 and 17-year-olds.

Your account, your eyes

We’re strong believers in young people managing their finances themselves. Our 16 and 17-year-old Starling customers will be able to use features such as Spending Insights and Goals that can help them track their spending and save for what they really want. We are also rolling out resources, hints and tricks to help them learn how to stay in control of their finances.

Say goodbye to the piggy bank

Instead of storing your birthday coins and pocket money in an empty jam-jar (which a sibling will inevitably “borrow”), with Starling you can keep that money safe in a Savings Goal inside your bank account. And if you need to ask for that “borrowed” money back, simply hit the ‘Request Money’ button in the app to share a payment link with friends and family in seconds.

Split the bill with mates

Nearby Payments makes it quick and easy to share money with friends. Just open the app and click the ‘Pay Nearby’ button. It’s secure, simple, and fast.

Notifications on phone and starling card in teal background

A bank as mobile as you are

Starling’s account gets all of the basics right, and then some:

✓ Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, FitBit Pay and Garmin Pay
✓ A contactless debit card
✓ Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection
✓ Instant payment notifications
✓ Savings Goals to save up for what you really want
✓ Spending Insights to help you understand your money
✓ Get paid in seconds with your own payments link
✓ Quick card locking (for when you inevitably lose it or leave it at a friend’s house)

We’re just getting started

We believe we’re building the best current account in the world, and we’re committed to bringing that experience to all young people. Accounts for 16 and 17-year-olds are our first step in what will undoubtedly be a long journey, and we’re in for the long haul.

We’re building Starling with you, and we’d love to hear what you think of these ideas: accounts for under 16s, a bespoke Marketplace for young people and financial education resources for young people. Join us on our community page, or get stuck in with our socials on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. If you have any questions our Customer Service team are available to chat 24/7.

Next

Introducing: Starling personal loans