In today’s financial world, banks compete for your business, making it possible to score some impressive perks as an account holder. One of the biggest names in business banking is Starling Bank, even though it’s a relatively new brand.
We did a little research into Starling’s history, account features, and fee structures. Our Starling business account review explores the perks and drawbacks of doing business with them.
About Starling Bank
- 1 About Starling Bank
- 2 The Perks of a Starling Business Account
- 3 How to Open a Starling Business Account
- 4 Is a Starling Business Account Worthwhile?
Anne Boden launched the UK-based Starling in 2014. The digital, mobile-only bank rapidly expanded and announced a partnership with TransferWise in 2017.
Starling had another huge year in 2018. March marked the launch of Starling business accounts, followed by another partnership (with Post Office Ltd.) in November. By February 2019, the bank offered personal Euro accounts in the United Kingdom.
To date, Starling Bank raised more than £363 million in backing, earned an Excellent rating on Trustpilot, and was voted the Best British Bank three times. The bank boasts more than one million customer accounts and remains an independent, privately-owned company.
The Perks of a Starling Business Account
Starling Bank exists on the premise that they offer security and heart. They list four things that set them apart as a banking institution.
- Ethical practices means listening to customers and cutting out unnecessary Starling business account fees.
- Diversity extends to every aspect of their team and their client base.
- Making money equal entails transparency and easy to understand language for their customers.
- Innovation first is Starling’s commitment to modern, convenient design for all of their banking features.
It may sound like lip service, but it turns out that Starling Bank does its part to deliver on every level. Starling business accounts cater to every level of business owner, including freelancers and contractors. You don’t have to be a massive corporation to take advantage of these perks.
Business Accounts are Free and Easy to Start
It takes just a few minutes to get started, and you skip those annoying, lengthy forms. Just answer the in-app questions and get started with no monthly fees attached.
If there are no monthly fees, inevitably, they charge you somewhere else, right? As long as your business has fewer than ten employees and does less than £1.7 million annually, your account is free.
Larger businesses receive free banking for a period of time. We could not find a fee structure for larger businesses.
Do you have more than one director? Starling offers multi-director accounts, so everyone who needs to know is in the know.
24/7 Customer Support
Is there anything more frustrating than having a burning question (like an unknown charge) with no way to contact your bank until morning? With Starling, business owners can contact them 24 hours per day, seven days per week by phone, or through the app.
Streamline Your Finances
Are you worried about matching information from your money management platform (like Quickbooks) with your bank account? Starling solved that issue so you can streamline your finances by linking your accounting software.
You can also set up instant payment alerts so you know when money goes in or out. Starling also automatically categorizes your expenses to make reporting easier.
Every business that banks with Starling has the opportunity to use the Business Marketplace. The series of smart products and services available to Starling customers allows you to integrate many aspects of your business using one app.
Easy Deposit Options
Sometimes clients pay with cash or cheque, and that’s alright. Remember, banking with Starling means no branches, so they established alternatives. Deposit cash at a local Post Office (there are thousands to choose from). You can deposit cheques under £500 via the app.
It’s difficult to highlight everything that sets Starling apart, but there are many reasons they remain a favorite among business owners. Business accounts function much like personal accounts and share some neat features that round out the customer experience and put Starling Bank over the top.
- If your card is lost or stolen, you can freeze it immediately via the app.
- Disable, restrict, or block payments and spending limits.
- Set savings goals.
- Split payments via the “settle up” option.
- Free cash withdrawals when you’re abroad (though individual machines may charge you).
Starling Bank also plans to offer a Business Toolkit for a monthly fee. The toolkit includes a part-time bookkeeper feature, ability to manage and send invoices, record VAT, and submit VAT. The toolkit should enhance your business banking experience and is set to launch in 2020.
The Downside of Starling Business Accounts
No banking experience is perfect, but Starling does their best to appease its customers. There are a few things to understand clearly before jumping into a Starling Business Account.
- No physical branches means you have to be comfortable handling everything online.
- You won’t earn any interest on positive balances.
- There is a charge to deposit money, £3 for deposits up to £1000 and 0.3% of the amount for deposits over £1000.
How to Open a Starling Business Account
To open a Starling Business Account, you need to be a sole trader or limited company. You do not have to be an existing customer, but if you are, it’s that much easier to get started.
New customers need to verify their identity with a passport, EU/EEA ID card, UK residence card, or UK photo driving license. You also have to confirm your business type and may need to furnish supporting documents, like invoices, bank statements, or signed contracts.
Though it takes longer to open a business account than a personal account, you can expect the process to take less time than in person at a physical bank. Plus, everything is handled in-app.
Is a Starling Business Account Worthwhile?
At the end of the day, Starling Business Accounts seem to work for most users. They routinely score high on customer satisfaction and provide a lot of free services for clients. The app is secure and easy to navigate.