The Starling Bank roadmap: what’s happening in the next 12 months

22nd June 2017
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What does it mean to have a healthy financial life?

Well, at Starling, we believe a healthy financial life is one that supports and enables you to enjoy the things that matter most to you.

We’ve heard our customers speak about a wide range of passions – from rock climbing to jewellery making, and from saving for a new driveway to planning a wedding.

That’s why we’ve been so focused on launching our current account. After all, this is where we look after our everyday money, it’s the epicentre of our financial lives. And we’ve tried to make it as easy, smart, and mindful of everyday money needs as possible.

White Android with Pulse screenshot

So far in our journey, we’ve launched an app (available in the iOS and Android App Stores) that enables you to:

  • Do your day-to-day banking entirely from your smartphone.
  • Keep on top of your balance and spending real time through the Starling Pulse (along with instant spending notifications and merchant logos and maps to help recognise transactions more easily).
  • Adjust your own overdraft in app (within an agreed limit), and get a daily view of how long you’ve been in your overdraft, and the interest being charged.
  • Pay zero fees abroad.
  • Lock your card if you misplace it; unlock it if you find it.

And, last week we launched Spending Insights, which enables you to see how much you spend month to month in different categories or at different merchants.

 

Starling Bank Spending Insights

We’ve had some great feedback from you so far, even if a lot of you have been scared by your Nando’s spending! We hope these features go a long way to helping you understand where your money goes, give you ideas about where you can save money, or simply help spend it on the things you enjoy most.

However, we have a few more features up our sleeve – and we’re ready to share our roadmap with you now. So if you want to know whether we’re going to be doing joint accounts or Apple Pay anytime soon, this is the blog to answer your questions.

Our goal is to build an account that’s synonymous with our daily lives – connected to our friends and family, the apps and services we use, and to our work and our passions.

Starling Bank: The roadmap to a healthy financial life

Community

It’s here! Launching today, your very own Starling Community is now open. You can join, follow our progress and roadmap, share your feedback, ideas and any suggestions, over at community.starlingbank.com. We’d love for you to join us. 

Focusing on your passions

We will soon be releasing ‘Goals’, allowing you to put money aside for the things and experiences that matter most to you.

You’ll be able to create and manage your Goals from within the Starling app (without having to shift it into another account so you’ll still have instant access to your money if you need it). Goals aim to help you reach your targets and use your spending data to give you ideas about how to get there faster too — whether that’s a holiday, a festival or that new bike you’ve had your eye on.

Gone are the days of transferring £500 to your savings on the 1st, only to slowly transfer it back throughout the month, never making progress. Keep a look out for a blog from Ben in July about the details of how Goals will work.

Saving-Goals

No card yet? No problem

We know people are excited to be joining Starling and so we want to make it as easy and quick as possible for new customers to start using the account. In coming months, you will have virtual cards ready and waiting for you to use right away — so no more waiting for your card to arrive in the post before you add your card to JustEat, update it on Netflix, and shop on Amazon.

Did someone say digital wallet?

Coinciding with the virtual card feature, we’re also excited to announce Starling will soon support digital wallets — meaning if you’re an iOS user, you can add your card to your wallet with one-click from the Starling app and start spending in a matter seconds.

Extra card control

You’ll also see more card security features added soon!  

These will offer greater control to lock and unlock your cards for different types of card transactions. So if you’ve mislaid your physical card you can lock it for contactless and online transactions to protect your account, while keeping it active in your digital wallet. And, if you’re travelling, you’ll be able to restrict your card usage by country making sure your money is always protected.

Spending at a glance

The Starling Pulse lets you see your daily spend at a glance, and a simple tap reveals your transactions or payments that have gone out that day. In coming months you’ll see the Starling Pulse evolve, helping you see your daily spend history and how it fluctuates throughout the month. Fingers crossed, this will make it easier for you to work towards finding  balance with your in-and-out-goings and forecast your monthly spend.

Connecting Starling to your favourite apps and services

We will be launching the Starling Marketplace, giving Starling customers access to a number of finance-related product providers. These can be linked with your Starling account so you can see all of these finances in one place as the customer will only be able to see the finances that they have arranged through the marketplace. We’re excited to also be announcing a bunch of new partnerships in conjunction with this and are also looking to involve products to help with lifestyle, travel, and fitness in the future.

Moneybox iOS screenshot

And here are some other ideas we’re looking into...

Since we launched, we’ve been asked a lot of questions such as are you going to be doing a joint account? and are you going to be doing a savings account? or ‘can I get an account for my children?’. Our goal is to build an account that is as connected to our daily lives as our friends and family, the apps and services we use, and to our working life.

Joint accounts for a connected world

We believe there is a need for customers to manage some finances jointly, but we don’t think that the traditional joint account, separated from your personal finances, meets those needs anymore.

We want to make it possible for customers to connect their accounts to one another and create a virtual account that will allow them to better manage and contribute to their shared finances — whether that’s two partners, friends sharing a rented flat after moving to a new city, a family running their household or a circle of friends away travelling.

We’ll be looking to launch our ‘connected accounts’ towards the end of the year, so please get in touch if you would like to give us some feedback about how you effectively manage your shared finances.

Under-18s and money management

Now that we’ve made banking easy on mobile and features designed to build awareness of how you spend your money and manage it more effectively, it’s hardly surprising that we’ve had a lot of demand to make it available for under-18s.

It’s a no brainer for us. We want to provide a starter account with a set of features designed for young people to learn about managing their money with Starling, and with useful controls for parents to monitor it.

And, unlike prepaid card products that a young audience might grow out of, our account will transition to a full current account as soon as our customers turn 18, retaining all historic transaction data and insights, but shedding the parental controls.

Wrapping Up

So, that’s what we plan to work on this year.

Keep a look out for updates over the coming months on this and the interesting challenges we find ourselves tackling in the day to day running of the bank. We’ll be publishing some more blog posts, and you may even see our in-house investigative journalist doing some live interviews with the Starling team.

However, if you have more ideas or questions, why not throw them our way? It would be great to have you join us over at the Starling Community where we look forward to some inspiring conversations, feedback, and idea sharing.

Sign up at community.starlingbank.com — we’ll see you there!

Anyone who has ever travelled with me through Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 will tell you how my excitement for an impending trip quickly changes when I join the security queue. I can’t help but identify the inefficiencies and breakdowns in the process, and I muse... how if they just assigned that person over there, and changed the process here, the experience would be much better and the holiday goers and commuters would get to their gates in the half the time.

Sarah Guha headshot photo

Sarah Guha, Product Director

It’s this approach I bring to Starling.  The knowledge that banking can be better if only we take a positive, experience led approach to solving people’s everyday problems with money.

There are two experiences that stand out as having shaped my drive to challenge how banks provide services to their customers.

Living in Hong Kong, I found out that I couldn’t get a bank account without a regular salary but couldn’t get paid without a bank account either. Later my husband and I moved to California, where – in a rudimentary Transferwise-like arrangement – we walked through customs at SFO clutching cheques to pay his university fees. It turned out the most cost-effective way to get USD was for him to transfer his colleagues HKD whilst they wrote him USD cheques to cash stateside.

So, in a time where we are more globally transient than ever before, it was clear to me that the finance industry was on the cusp of change. We’ve only just dipped in our toes. We have a pretty good idea of the problems we want to solve next (see above), but it’s your feedback that ultimately shapes the future roadmap at Starling, so we look forward to hearing what you think.

Ben Chisell headshot photo

Ben Chisell, Product Director

One of the main reasons I joined Starling was because I wanted to solve problems that were an important part of people’s everyday lives. Obviously I’ve now switched to using Starling Bank as my main current account (yes, you can switch your account using our mobile-only Current Account Switch Service), but before that I had been with my bank ever since they came to my school and offered me a free football when I was 13.

To be fair, their customer service has always been pretty good, but I haven’t been without my fair share of issues. For example, once I had my card cloned when making a purchase online, letting someone buy £5000 worth of trainers in the Adidas store in Sao Paulo. So while I tend to be pretty good with managing my money, I haven’t always had a great set of tools to use, and I always hoped my bank would build these for me — they didn’t so now I’m building them with our team at Starling instead!

Also, having spent a couple of years at Amazon prior to joining Starling, I have seen first hand how a company should obsess over delivering the best customer experience, and I wanted to bring the same level of Customer Obsession to the banking industry. The first time I met Anne Boden (our CEO) I was happy to see that she had started Starling because she also thought customers deserved better, and wanted to build everything from scratch so ‘legacy technology’ couldn’t be an excuse either. Personally, I’m really excited by the challenge ahead of us to change an industry like banking, and excited to share with you some of our plans for the rest of the year and beyond.

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