There isn’t much Head of Partnerships Wiliam Boocock doesn’t know about Starling Business Services (SBS). He’s been involved since 2017 and has supported growth both in SBS and across Starling as a whole. Here, he answers the questions you might have about what we offer.
How Starling provides you with access to real-time payments
Could you give me a quick overview of what SBS does?
“Primarily, we provide access to UK payments schemes for regulated PSPs (payment service providers), so that covers Faster Payments and Bacs. We also offer an embedded banking service that covers an FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme) protected account, which we can open for partially regulated businesses.”
What happens in-house and what do you outsource?
“Everything is done in-house. We’re direct participants of the Faster Payments Scheme (FPS) and Bacs and we connect to those schemes through our own proprietary software. This means there’s no gateway between us and the schemes; the tech is managed and built by Starling for best in class reliability and flexibility. This gives us complete ownership of the payment stack and means we have total visibility. As a result, we have industry leading uptime and service levels for our scheme connections.”
“This also applies to the Starling platform itself, which exists completely in the cloud. We don’t have any third parties involved in the tech stack, which means we are in complete control of functionality, reliability, and performance. It means we can also work on our own timeframes.”
“Maintaining our own payment rails has always been and will always be a top priority, especially as these rails are used for Starling’s own retail and business customers.”
So the tech you offer SBS clients is the same tech that runs Starling Bank?
“Yes that’s right, so it’s been proven at scale. Starling has more than three million retail customers and more than 600,000 business customers. We have a hugely experienced team running the bank who have successfully overcome all sorts of challenges to make our payment rails as strong as they can be.
“In SBS, we work closely with teams across the bank such as our payment operations, platform engineering and infrastructure engineering teams, so there is lots of expertise you can draw upon as an SBS client.”
Tell me about Starling’s APIs.
“Starling is API-first. APIs are at the core of everything we do, not an afterthought. From a performance perspective, there’s almost no downtime, so once connected, your customers will be able to make payments 24/7.”
“This gives you the flexibility to build real-time products. Nothing shuts down at weekends, we’re always on.”
“Our APIs are also very flexible and can be fully integrated with your payment flow. For example, we have clients that have been able to provide their customers with real-time funding top-ups for their card and savings products. This means that as soon as the funds are received by the SBS client from the sender, the payment is processed by us at such speed that the funds would be almost instantly available for the client’s customer to use.”
And can we try before we buy?
“Yes, before going live clients have access to a 24/7 sandbox and FPS simulator that’s a replica of the Faster Payment Scheme. This means you’ll be able to test every scenario that could occur in a real-time environment. Our aim is for you to be able to fully experience what the technology is like before anything goes live.”
“As part of this, you’ll have Slack channels set up for direct communication with technical teams to assist with integration and testing. We don’t put restrictions on how much you can use the sandbox and it’s safe to try out all sorts of processes and responses.”
I’ve got some more questions. How can I contact Starling?
“You can reach our team at email@example.com. Your message will be picked up by one of our payments and tech experts, who’ll be happy to help.”