We’re building a bank that doesn’t really look like a bank at all. Mobile beyond anything you’ve ever experienced, we’ll make managing your finances effortless and empowering.

Starling

We believe it’s time for people to enter into a more open relationship with their money. One where managing finances isn’t a limited, solitary experience.

Starling Bank will not just be a digital bank, but a bank truly fit for how we live our lives today. Our purpose is to bring our financial lives out of the darkness of the past and into the digital open.

We’re building a bank that will champion the power of modern technology to open up possibilities and create a whole new way of banking. All through transparency, collaboration and connectivity. A truly mobile experience, delivering much more than an app and a debit card, to make managing your finances effortless and empowering.

Real-time intelligence

Understand your money in the here and now, with meaningful insight that’s socially in-tune with your day to day life. Whether that’s how much you spent last week or if you can afford that holiday.

Complete personalisation

Enjoy the freedom to make your finances your own, shaping it around the life you lead and the people that matter most. Send money to friends, save together for trips and have total control at your fingertips.

Smart simplicity

Let your everyday spending, saving and safekeeping take care of itself with easy, intuitive money management on the go. We’ll let you know well before you run into any trouble, giving you options, not charges.

Starling

A smarter bank for an ever-changing world

17th of February 2016 by Terry McParlane

Conversations about technology

As Director of Marketing & Communications at Starling, I’m often the one being asked the questions – by journalists curious about our proposition, by the regulators about our launch plans, by future customers about when they will be able to open an account, and by Anne about anything and everything!

For once I decided to do the questioning, and give Mark Hipperson, our CTO a good grilling. See how he did…

What is the toughest decision that you had to make in 2015? 

Taking the decision to join Starling.  It is not for the faint hearted, Starling has an audacious plan to transform banking. I had been following the story since early 2014 and knew the vision to create to a bank that would not just challenge a business model but change banking forever. I was previously a technology executive at Barclays and had exited my own start-up Internet banking company and then ran one of the largest software businesses in the UK. But I couldn’t resist it – this is a once in a life time opportunity.

What was the biggest success?

Putting the final piece of the jigsaw in place. We didn’t know whether we could pull this off the way we planned. Was it possible to build a bank that looked more like a Netflix than NatWest? Would there be lots of obstacles to stop us using cloud technologies and open source products? Would we really be able to deliver the open source technology that would allow us to deliver systems that were resilient, reliable and redundant?

We are now building this out and hiring some of the most talented people in the industry to help us. Take a look at our careers page.

What do you look for in people you hire?

Being ultra smart is a given but our people also need a combination of creativity, passion and rigour. There is no truth in the rumour that I only hire Chelsea supporters… (but it helps!).

But seriously, what sort of people make a success of it here at Starling?

Well we are going to be a bank, but are at our heart, a technology company and we move quickly.  This is not for everyone. This energy and pace is not for all and, unlike, most start-ups we need very high standards of performance and resilience from our architecture and solution set as we are safeguarding people’s money.

The rumour around the office is that you would spent all the money we had on technology if you have your way? 

Is that a dig about the size of the marketing budget? Well we raised a funding round of $70m earlier in the year and yes we are a technology company with a banking licence (to be). A fair bit of that will be spent on building the best current account in the world.  What is more relevant is that we have an investor who really appreciates technology and the opportunity to use data to empower our customers.

So what sort of people are you hiring?

We are all ambitious at Starling.  We know that we have the opportunity to change banking for ever building a bank how it should be built, therefore, we attract the very best.  In return, we are offering the opportunity to work on some of the most interesting problems facing people today.

If you would like to apply for a role at Starling  please take a look at our careers page and apply. We look forward to meeting you.  

9th of February 2016 by Anne Boden

Why Starling, why now?

Earlier in the year we announced our latest funding round of $70m and over the following days, we had a flurry of enquiries from journalists. A lot of the questions centred around a core theme – what turned someone who had spent 30 years in technology and banking at some of the largest financial institutions in the world into an entrepreneur? Why had I spent every waking hour of the last 26 months working on the launch of a consumer bank? Why did I believe that building the world’s best current account was a worthy cause? What problem was I trying to solve and what would the world look like when we have solved it?

First, I need to say that it is not just me. There are more than twenty of us at Starling now and we will grow to more than seventy by the end of the year. So if you like what we are doing and would like to be part of it, please look at our careers page. We are a diverse group of very talented engineers, bankers, accountants and customer-centric marketeers. We are united by our values and beliefs that technology and innovation can improve your financial health and relief from financial anxiety is a human need that the banking industry has exploited for its own benefit for too long.

I often say that Starling will tell you whether you have enough money to the end of the week, month, year or to the end your life. As a child growing up in industrial South Wales during the 70’s, it was very evident that for many people financial hardship was just around the corner. Then and now, people deal with this in many different ways, from the “over-thinking mental accounting” types on one hand, to the “don’t open the envelope” types at the other extreme. I must admit that I have always worried about money and would have taken the “entrepreneurial” leap much earlier in my career if I could have been a bit more “carefree” about my own personal cash flow.

So back to the question, why Starling, why now, why us. We believe that technology has transformed our lives in so many different ways, whether it is about how you enjoy music or how you shop. However, many of us are still stressed by the everyday management of money. I have written a lot about the opportunities of technology, changes in regulation (PSD2) and how the incumbents banks can’t change.

So what’s next at Starling? Well we are now gearing up for the next stage of our development. We are interested in hearing from you if you have a passion for the psychology of money, artificial intelligence (AI) and data science. If you put these things together you probably guess where we are heading. We are on a mission to change our relationship with money. If you want to join us then take a look at our careers page.

9th of October 2015 by Anne Boden

Explaining PSD2 without TLAs is tough!

Yesterday the European Parliament voted to pass the Payment Services 2 Directive. In a rather timely fashion, we had just published a paper on this subject, so we have reproduced it here. If you would like a copy of the original, please email terry@starlingbank.com. I would like to thank all of the Starling team, as it was genuinely a group effort on tackling this content, but particular thanks to Mark Hipperson, Julian Sawyer, Sarah Williams-Gardener and Terry McParlane.

 

For those who experienced the roller coaster that was Europe’s implementation of the Payment Services Directive (PSD1) – here comes Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2). And before the initiatives outlined in PSD1 have been fully dealt with.

We won’t lower ourselves to jokes about bad movie sequels, so moving on. The driving force behind both directives is the harmonisation of the payments landscape to level the playing field between countries and between payments providers, with the end goal of increasing competitiveness and thereby giving the consumer better value.

Let’s pause there. Financial services is sometimes, understandably, accused of being a dark art, with complex terms and an impenetrable language all of its own. At Starling we always strive to explain what it means for a customer when technology or regulation evolves – the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly. So bear with us through this paper.

This subject, of all that we have covered recently, probably needs the most explanation. Even those in the industry are still trying to wrap their heads around all of the implications. In this paper, we want to focus on two, out of the many, changes in the new directive and what they mean for all impacted – the banks and other financial institutions, merchants i.e retailers and other payments beneficiaries, and most importantly, customers. We have tried to define terms as we go, but have also included a glossary below, with some examples of what companies might fall into which bucket to help bring it to life.

The common themes of both directives are about opening up the market to new types of organisation and defining common standards that encourage inter-operability. For example, PSD1 introduced the concept of a Payment Institution, which is a firm in the payment industry that is regulated but not to the higher banking standard. Examples most will have heard of are large payments bodies like PayPal or WorldPay, but it also allowed hundreds of smaller players to compete.

It also introduced the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA), which is the set of standards for low value Euro Payments in the Euro zone. The idea was that if there was one standard for payment transactions and more players in the mix then those poor consumers in Spain where payments are expensive would benefit from increased competition from The Netherlands which would drive prices down. It has been a long road and SEPA has still not been fully deployed, with many deferred end dates along the way.

However, here we are talking about PSD2, which probably has much more relevance for consumers. The directive has a wide scope, but we would like to focus on how PSD2 capitalises on the accessibility of APIs, and explain why there is so much nervousness and excitement in the market. PSD2 is a great example of TLA (Three Letter Acronym) speak at its very best. So here goes:

Today, maybe you’re shopping on Amazon, you decide what to buy, and complete your purchase using your debit card. The merchant (Amazon) will have an acquirer e.g First Data or WorldPay, who will then contact the customer’s card scheme e.g. MasterCard or Visa, who will then pull the payment, debiting the customer’s bank account, e.g Lloyds Bank. (See Diagram 1)

PSD2 Diagram 1Diagram 1 – Paying online today with debit/credit card

 

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9th of September 2015 by Sarah Williams-Gardener

Government policy and the financial services sector: there’s a catch

A busy and promising start

As MPs make their way back to Westminster this week, and get ready for the flurry of party conferences, we gaze into the curious world of public policy and remember it’s been anything but a quiet summer. The first majority Conservative Government since 1996 hasn’t been idle. We’ve had a second Budget of the year (a ‘summer budget’ as opposed to the ‘emergency’ budget of 2010) and a ‘Productivity Plan’ rich with ambition.

For those of us with a zeal for innovation in financial services, there’s been much to welcome in this frantic activity to date. We’ve seen the appointment of Eileen Burbidge as a special envoy for UK FinTech. Also, the Prime Minister gave his support to the ‘Innovate Finance Manifesto UK 2020’ in Indonesia while trumpeting the UK’s emerging attractiveness as a FinTech Hub.

 

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27th of August 2015 by Anne Boden

Full-stack banking

Last month, we published a view on the changing shape of the UK retail banking market, including a useful infographic, describing the existing and new competitors coming into the banking landscape. In the commentary that followed, quite a few people, subsequently described Starling as a full-stack bank and those less familiar with the phrase have asked me to explain.

So here goes – first a bit of technology education for the uninitiated. The technology stack is the set of technology products that can be visualised as sitting on top of each other, each dealing with a different set of functions for the bank. Typically the lower levels of the stack deal with messaging and the higher levels would include more of the functions that a customer would recognise. I often describe the Starling stack as the layers of a cake, with the icing being the mobile app that sits the top. (I do have to admit here that I last baked a cake in 1984 and wrote production code for a bank in 1989!)

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1st of July 2015 by Anne Boden

A new market segmentation for retail banking

We all know the context. Despite billions of pounds of investment in new propositions, brand “refreshes” and other marketing, trust in the UK banking sector is still at an all time low. There is very little actual differentiation between the main retail banking players, and almost no perceived distinction when you ask customers.

If people bother to move at all, they are pushed out by bad service, unexpected fees or lack of product competitiveness, and are pulled to an alternative by little more than convenience of alternate branch or until recently joining cash incentive.

But we believe the market is on the tipping point of major change.

There is a new generation of players that have or are about to launch. Many will play in the traditional retail banking space, but differentiate by channel or customer experience. Some are taking one element of the services traditionally delivered by the banks, and either offering a best in class experience or serving previously under-served audiences. This is the sort of market disaggregation that has happened in the US, and we believe is inevitable in the UK as well.

This article attempts to take this moment in time, and capture who’s doing what, in order to help the uninitiated navigate this increasingly complex, brave new world of how the UK population can manage their money.

BankingSegmentationv14-page-001

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19th of June 2015 by Terry McParlane

Have I got news for you…

Might just be me, but it feels like we’ve seen the tipping point in recent weeks of mainstream media picking up on what many of us in the FinTech space have been getting so excited about for the last two years – that there is about to be a step change in new entrants and increased competition in UK retail banking.

Key in driving news coverage this week was the 2nd year of the British Banking Association’s (BBA) The Way We Bank Now report. What the underlying data highlights, is not just the rate of transformation taking place, but the acceleration in that pace of change.

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5th of June 2015 by Anne Boden

Power Women in FinTech

This week Innotribe released their report, Power Women in FinTech Index: Bridging the Gender Gap.

I’m very honoured to be included in such a prestigious group of ladies, however I also feel the weight of responsibility to be a role model for women in the FinTech space.

Interestingly you can see in the report the positive shifts in diversity seen in this, the convergence of two historically male dominated sectors, finance and technology. That said, it also highlights how much opportunity there is for improvement in bridging the gender gap.

Click the link above to see the interviews with me, and other key industry leaders, as well as the full index.

 

1st of June 2015 by John Humpish

After political manifestos, a banking manifesto

The General Election last month was widely regarded as the most interesting for a generation, but not nearly as interesting it appears as the aftermath.

For only a matter of days after the results were made public, politicians aplenty are having epiphanies on a scale perhaps never previously seen. Not surprisingly, these are principally on the ‘losing’ side, with the Labour Party leadership candidates quick to distance themselves from what proved to be unpopular policies.

‘Maybe we should now trust the electorate with a referendum on Europe’, we’re told, ‘maybe the wealth creators shouldn’t be as demonised as they have been’, and ‘maybe we did overspend when we were last in Government after all’.

At this point, let me (very quickly!) establish my political neutrality. I’m not making anti-Labour points, I’m simply observing the reaction to what is a very real crisis. A similar observation could easily be made about the Conservatives addressing the issue of being seen as the ‘nasty’ party some years before.

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21st of May 2015 by Anne Boden

A founder’s view

Today, I am on a panel at the Retail Banking: London 2015 Conference with two other founders in the financial services category. As an executive who has spent over 30 years in some of the biggest financial institutions in the world, I am more comfortable with the title CEO than founder.

To me, personally, founder conjures images of the original patriarch of a shipping empire or some such, more than a professional executive leading an organisation. In a start-up world, however, the title founder has gained almost a mystical significance.  Literally thousands of hopefuls driving hard to become the next Mark Zuckerberg.

Today, I am honoured to sit on the conference stage along two very successful founders, Anthony Thompson founder & chairman of Atom and, previously Metro Bank and Alex Letts, CEO of Ffrees.

As I was preparing for the panel, and thinking about my esteemed peers, and their respective businesses, it brought to mind lots of questions we at Starling have asked, and are still asking, ourselves about where the UK banking market is headed and how we carve out a clear, distinctive proposition that will drive greater levels of switching. Timely that today the CMA released the next stage issues statement report in their “Retail Banking Market Investigation”.

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