Watch Monito's Video Review of Starling Bank
A Youtube Creator at Monito, Jonny helps you understand all you need to know about hidden fees, exchange rates and the best services to move your money across borders.
Byron has a BA Honours in Journalism and has spent over four years writing extensively about financial topics. He has a keen interest in the intersection of personal finance and technology and strives to bring these subjects to life insightfully and enjoyably.
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This video is a money transfer review of Starling Bank. In it, we take a good look at its money transfer service by delving into its fees, how it works, the benefits of using it to transfer money, and much more.
Starling Bank Review Video Transcript
With over 2 million accounts, Starling Bank is quickly becoming one of the most prominent online banks available in the UK.
So today, we’re going to review Starling and look closely at their various accounts, detailing features, fees and customer feedback, as well as share what we at Monito like and dislike about the bank.
Also make sure to stick around to the end, because I’ll share with you how much PayPal and Barclays charge compared to Starling when sending money abroad, it’s actually pretty shocking.
Starling Bank at a Glance
Founded in 2014 and available to residents in the UK, Starling is an award-winning company with more than 1000 employees, and to-date have opened over 2.5 million customer accounts.
Their name derives from the Starling bird and it’s intended to represent the birds sociable, adaptable, friendly and supportive nature.
FSCS Protection or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme basically means that if Starling went bust you would be protected up to £85,000, and reimbursed within 20 days.
With all of this in mind, we scored Starling a 9.2 for trust and credibility, we’re confident that you can trust them with your money and that it would be safe in their hands.
Starling Bank’s Accounts & Benefits
In 2016 Starling Bank received their UK banking license and in 2017 they launched the UK’s first mobile-only current account. Since then, they’ve really expanded their services and when it comes to the accounts available, Starling is a bit of an all-rounder.
As well as their personal and joint accounts for adults, customers can also choose from a euro bank account, a debit card for younger children and an account for teens.
Businesses are also catered for, with Starling offering a business account for limited companies, as well as sole traders and other registered companies. They also have a multi-currency account for businesses trading internationally.
Starling Bank Personal Accounts
You can open a starling personal account for free, and there are no monthly fees. However, if you wish to open another account it will cost you £2 a month for each additional one. This fee also applies to the Starling Kite card, which is for children aged between six and 16.
For teenagers aged 16 to 17, Starling has a teen account that works in a similar way to the adult account. Money can be deposited into these accounts in a number of ways, including bank transfer, or via cheque which you can do in-app by taking a photo, or you can deposit cash into your account.
Account holders can deposit a maximum of £5,000 per year in cash at any Post Office branch, and that’s currently free of charge. However, from March this year, that’s changing to £1,000 fee-free, after you exceed that, you’ll be charged a fee of .7%, and still be limited to depositing a maximum of £5,000 per calendar year.
Now, as a keen traveler, something I love about the Starling Personal Account is that when you’re abroad there are no fees for spending money or for withdrawing cash at an ATM. That’s actually pretty cool, and something high-streets banks, such as Barclays and HSBC, don’t typically offer.
Additionally , the personal account includes a Mastercard debit card, an overdraft facility that has varying interest rates, in-app features such as categorized spending insights, card blocking tools, the ability to easily send money to nearby Starling customers or split bills through a simple payment link, as well as a money saving feature called Saving Spaces. These are basically virtual piggy banks that are attached to your current account, but kept separate from your main balance so you can avoid dipping into them.
You’ll also be able to use Starling’s Round Up feature, which can help you save money by rounding up anything you spend to the nearest pound, and assigning the rounded up amount to a Saving Space. These spaces along with your current account earn an interest of .05% AER on balances up to £85,000.
To put that into perspective, if you had, say £10,000 in your account, you would earn £5. And if you need to exchange pounds to another currency with this account, you’ll receive Mastercard’s exchange rate and no additional fees.. I’ll go into more detail about this shortly.
Starling Bank Business Accounts
There are 3 types of accounts available to businesses, this includes the Business Account, which is available to limited companies and other registered businesses, the Sole Trader Account that’s available to the self-employed, and a Multi-Currency Account that provides UK businesses with US dollar and Euro bank accounts.
Although there are no monthly fees for the standard non-international Business accounts, if you wish to make use of the Business Toolkit feature that helps with bookkeeping, invoicing and managing bills, this will set you back £7 per month.
Many of the business bank account features are similar to the personal account, such as the fee-free international spending and ATM withdrawal. The account also gives you the ability to schedule payments, as well as to add digital receipts to any payments, and if the Business Toolkit feature isn’t enough you can integrate with business services such as Xero and QuickBooks.
There’s also an overdraft of up to £150,000, but interest will be charged, which for business accounts will be confirmed in-app when you apply for the overdraft. While sole trader accounts can apply for an overdraft valued from £250 up to £10,000 at the rate of 15%.
One final thing that may be an issue for businesses when choosing this account, is that cash deposits can only be made at the Post Office. Currently each deposit will incur a charge of .3% and a minimum of £3. However, like the Personal account that’s changing. From the 1st of March this year, businesses and sole trader accounts will be charged .7% for each deposit. There’s also a limit on the amount you can deposit and this can vary across Post Office branches. Starling says that it’s best to check with the branch first if you’re depositing more than £2,000.
So if your business is relatively cash orientated this account might not be for you. You would potentially be limited by how much you can deposit in total, and for example, from March this year, a deposit of £2,000 will incur a fee of £14.
Multi-Currency, Euro and Dollar Accounts
Starling offers multi-currency accounts for businesses, including a Euro account at £2 per month and a US dollar account for £5 per month, they also have a free Euro account for personal users.
The personal free Euro account is available to account holders through the app, and is a great way to send and receive euros for free.
From the app you can also convert the euros that you’ve received into pounds at the real, mid-market exchange rate. This is great because a lot of banks offer poor exchange rates as a means of profiting from currency transfers. Although Starling doesn't do this, they do apply a .4% conversion fee to cover their cost. This fee, as far as currency conversion goes, is actually on the low side.
You can also use a single debit card to manage your EUR and GBP accounts, meaning you can spend in either currency with the same debit card and also don’t end up with a wallet full of plastic.
The personal Euro account is great for anyone that’s moved from Europe to the UK and wishes to send money home, or perhaps someone that owns and leases a property in Europe and receives payment in Euros.
For businesses, both the Euro and US dollar accounts have very similar benefits to the personal Euro account. You can use a single debit card to manage your finances in multiple currencies, you can exchange money at the real, mid-market exchange rate, and there’s also 24/7 customer support. Not only that, but the business account includes management features such as instant payment notifications and saving spaces for separating tax from your overheads, all of this is easily accessible via the Starling Bank app.
Which by the way, is very highly rated by its users. On the Apple store they have a 4.9 out of 5 stars from 287 thousand reviews. On Google Play they have a 4.7 out of 5 stars from over 50 thousands reviews. Most of these reviews reference how brilliantly designed the app is, and how much it has helped people take control of their finances through Starling’s spending analytics.
What do Starling Bank customers have to say?
Like the app store, Starling Bank has also accumulated thousands of reviews on TrustPilot. They have a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars and have received over 20,000 four and five star reviews.
Customers tend to praise Starling for their simplistic approach to banking, their intuitive app and the easy application process, which I must say is pretty neat. It took me around 5 minutes to submit my application, around 2 hours to receive approval and 5 days to get my card. All you need to apply is a smartphone and identification. I used my passport but you could also use a drivers license. You just take a snap of your ID and record a selfie-video, through the app while reciting a couple of numbers.
(Change location - Taking video) Once that’s submitted it’s just a matter of waiting, Starling says it takes on average one day, and 99% of customers up to 5 days.. Like I said, it took me 2 hours so it’s obviously very dependent on the volume of applications they’re receiving, which was actually a complaint on TrustPilot.
(Back to main shot) Customers complained that it took a long-time to get their account approved and there were also complaints centered around customer service and slow response times to support queries.
Generally though, the feedback is pretty good, and one thing that customers frequently praised was Starling’s great exchange rates when sending money abroad.
Starling Bank’s International Fees & Exchange Rates
As I mentioned earlier, a great benefit for using Starling Bank internationally is that there are no fees for foreign transactions or for withdrawing cash at an ATM.
Starling also uses Mastercard’s exchange rates, which is the real, market rate, although they do add a .4% fee to the currency conversion and also charge a small delivery fee. Regardless of these fees, Starling Bank is still a good choice for anyone that wants to send money abroad. Especially compared to other providers who in some cases can charge up to 5% when converting and sending currency.
For example, if you were to send and exchange £1,000 into Euros, with Starling, you would pay a fee of roughly £4.30 and that would be your total costs. With Wise it would be similar, around £3.69, BUT with PayPal and Barclays your costs would be a lot greater. It’s actually quite shocking, with PayPal you would pay around £34 in fees, and Barclays around £50. This is not only due to the fees they make visible but also because of the poor exchange rate they offer.
If you are considering sending money abroad with Starling, I definitely recommend that you check Monito.com before-hand. All you have to do is enter your transfer details and our comparison engine will tell you who the cheapest, fastest and best provider will be for you.
Is Starling Bank Right for you?
In our opinion, if you’re looking for a stress-free approach to banking that can be carried out online or in-app, then Starling Bank is well worth considering. Starling offers free accounts for both individuals and businesses that include a number of innovative banking features, that’s why we ranked Starling Bank as the Best Free Bank Account in the UK.
However, they do lose points for charging £2 for an additional account, as well as charging as much as 15% for using their overdraft feature.
They win points though for their great Euro and Dollar accounts that would definitely be ideal for expats, or anyone who has property or business suppliers overseas. Their international transfers as I mentioned are also competitive, both for fees and exchange rates. That being said, if you’re looking to make cross-border payments on a more frequent basis, it’s worth considering banking services such as Wise and Revolut, who we’ve reviewed previously on this channel so do check those out by clicking here and here.
Hope you found today’s video useful, if you did make sure to subscribe and I’ll see you on the next video. Good-bye.
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