Starling Bank is a fintech start-up based in the United Kingdom. The bank is digital-only, meaning there are no physical banking centers that the company operates. A customer keeps updated of their account balances and activity strictly through the app, currently out for iOS and soon to be released for Android. By not having to build physical banks, the company plans to put that savings into customer focused endeavors. Starling Bank is a “challenger” bank of sorts, challenging the traditional banking model. As of now, they are simply offering banking services, but have plans to expand and incorporate additional financial services into their model. Customers of the bank receive a card after they have applied for and have been accepted for an account.
Security with the app is stressed by Starling. They have implemented a 6-10 character passcode, and have gone so far as to include a voice biometric identification within the security services. Customers are able to set-up regular payments for certain items, and can easily track spending through push-notifications for the “Starling-Pulse” feed. This new-age kind of app experience is exactly what younger consumers are looking for. Being able to easily track spending, and receive notifications of purchases gives customers a sense of security in knowing they will spot when fraud is happening with their account.
Starling has many plans to expand. Right now they have their sights on integration with other platforms, and have started the process with partnering with TransferWise, a mobile currency exchange app. This is the new wave of technology that is going to disrupt the banking system. Having to go to the bank and physically deposit a pay check is going to be something of yester-year. It seems as if checks are even a bygone form of payment with the prevalence of direct deposit and venom. There exists so much potential for a start-up like this. I like the fact that the company also realizes their potential, and are keeping their platform very open to expansion. They do not want to be closed-minded and do one simple thing, albeit very well.
The card they are distributing to their customers is not only able to make purchases in the U.K., but also throughout Europe. For business travelers and travelers in general, this is a major breakthrough. Corporations will be able to keep separate spending accounts for their employees who must travel, and will be easily able to track spending, and won’t have to worry about exchanging currency or large fees. It truly excites me to read of a technology like this. It is evident that Starling Bank is not trying to take over the banking sector through their openness to collaboration and integration with other services. Fintech start-ups with regards to investing, taxes, and saving for retirement would be perfect candidates for integration with this platform. I believe that a start-up like this has exponential potential, and I hope that something similar is in the works in the United States.