And breathe. 2017 has been our biggest year yet here at Starling – and we couldn’t have done it without you! We’ve doubled our team, achieved many firsts and welcomed thousands of people like you on board.
At the start of the year we had the banking licence, our customers could deposit money, order a card and spend money as well as earn interest. But our first account holder couldn’t yet make a payment to another bank, borrow from us using an overdraft, contact us via the app or request a statement amongst other things. So 2017 was about developing our prototype into a full mobile bank experience – as quickly as we could.
We joined Faster Payments, supported Direct Debits, automated the Current Account Switch Service and launched a flexible Overdraft (which we think may well be the best on the market!) and of course we mustered up an Android app, with feature parity, from scratch too.
By May we became the first mobile only bank to launch in the UK App Store and on Google Play.
Eight months and 18 releases later, we are closer to our mission than ever before – to build the best current account and banking app in the world! We’ve been bowled over by what you’ve said:
Your reviews on our app store listing help anyone considering using Starling, so if you haven’t already we’d value you time to share your experience and leave a review on the App Store or Google Play.
Live more, spend less
But it’s our Spending Insights and Goals tools where we think we’ve really achieved something pretty special this year. We designed and built these tools so you can make the most of your money without going overboard. So if your new year’s resolution is to live more but spend less – these are the tools for you.
With Spending Insights you can find out how much you’ve spent as you spend it – from buying gifts, to eating out and doing your big Christmas grocery shop – and get help managing your spend until payday and beyond.
And why not start the year on a positive by visualising your new year Goals in the app – set a target, add an image that motivates you and set up regular contributions. Whether it’s to buy your first home or book a holiday, we’ll send you notifications to help you keep on track.
We’ve partnered with Moneybox, Flux, Tail and Yoyo Wallet this year to bring you rewards and help you save more. Keep watching this space, because we will be growing our Marketplace of financial products in 2018– bringing you access to ISAs, insurance, loans, mortgages and investments. We will start by extending our Loyalty & Rewards partners and truly make open-banking a reality by introducing Investment & Savings products too. You can get the full details on the next phase of the Starling Marketplace in this blog post from our Chief Platform Officer, Megan.
Your wishlist. Our Goals.
Speaking of next steps; we’re currently working on Starling Pay Me, which will give you the chance to skip the sort codes and send friends who owe you money an instant payment link and pay anyone who also has a Starling account more easily. Plus, you’ll soon be able to make international transfers with Starling, too.
Our focus in the New Year will be to continue to use your feedback about using Starling to make the app experience even better, more seamless and easier to use. This includes allowing time to iron out issues we know are still outstanding such as making improvement to our app login, improving our communication channels with you (email and push notifications), and iterating existing features like the Pulse, Goals and Spending Insights to make them more useful and valuable to you.
For those following our blog, you’ll know we recently joined SEPA (the Single Euro Payments Area) allowing us to make Euro transfers, direct credits and card payments in Euros. This is a big step towards our goal of expansion into Europe. In the next 3 months we will be building our capability for customers to create Euro accounts via the app, deposit funds and manage multi-currencies with Starling.
We have also announced our intention to extend our offering to the SME market, an audience traditionally underserved by business accounts which overcharge them and don’t meet their needs. This week we have started on that journey towards that by inviting our first sole trader customers to create an account and engage with us to help tailor our product for their business needs. In the first half of 2018 we will hope to bring Starling for Business to you.
Intrigued? Join the community
If you’re interested in getting involved and supporting our product development in 2018 make sure you check our online community and join the conversation. We hosted our first Connect with Starling customer event last week to wrap up the year and communicate our plans for 2018 – keep an eye out for our next one.
What do we want to achieve running customer or community events? We hope it provides you with an opportunity to see behind the curtain, to meet the teams who have been working hard in the last two years to build Starling and to chat and network with each other.
We hope it also creates an opportunity to extend the conversation about how you manage money, understand your needs and drive our ongoing development of our product and/or products in 2018. Eight months on from launching in the App Store and Play Store we want to also hear from you first hand about your experiences using our product, what’s useful or what are we missing – so we can make a ‘great’ current account, the ‘best’ current account in the world.
We’re so excited to see where 2018 takes us. Thanks for coming along for the ride – none of it could have happened without you.