Happy birthday Starling - 3 years old today

While it’s not really their birthday, the 10th May 2017 is when the Starling app went public in the App Store. And I opened my account with them that very same day.

They’ve certainly developed (and in my view refined) their product since back then with lots of new features being added, while it still looking professional and easy to navigate. There’s still more I hope they implement (bills from spaces for example), but I guess there’s plenty of time yet.

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I still like Starling. Joined, left after the forum shutdown when Monzo seemed to be adding more features, rejoined last year and quite happy.

(Although not enough to go full in: just had my first repeat decline, Microsoft Xbox game store won’t play nice and Starling CS advised me to use a different card. Inauspicious, but hopefully temporary!)

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:partying_face: My first purchase :slight_smile:

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Remember what it was? :slightly_smiling_face:

My first purchases.
Not opened my account on first day of accounts but not long after.

It’s really sad that they did that. I get that they are trying to create a more ‘professional’ neobank alternative, and perhaps they decided that a forum was just too unorthodox for a bank, but I think the community element is one of the most attractive features of fintechs - just look at how much the Monzo community is thriving.

I think it was the right decision for Starling, though I didn’t at the time. Different demographic, but that’s a whole different thread… :roll_eyes:

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Don’t mean to take this thread off course, but I’m genuinely interested in your opinion on this. Don’t you think the community aspect of Monzo (and lack thereof from Starling) contributed to the acceleration of Monzo’s growth ahead of Starling in recent times, by degrading Starling’s ‘friendly fintech bank’ status and by default increasing Monzo’s? It was simply a step closer to being a bog-standard legacy bank?

I’m sure it did. The Monzo forum has always been a busy place and is important to many and will have stimulated new customers.

But I don’t see the cause & effect with Starling. In the past year or so, Starling has become embedded in a very different way, developing service links in the finance sector whilst growing a customer base which looks (I think) very different to Monzo’s.

But don’t judge the two banks by the forums. Starling took the decision long ago to discontinue its dedicated forum. In my book, once the dust settled, they hit their stride and under astute management, ploughed their furrow.

The apps speak for themselves. I’ve had both and found the Starling to be preferable - focused, professional and, at its own pace, innovative.

Monzo’s app has lost its way and looks messy. But it’s community continues to thrive despite that - I’m not sure the state of the app really matters to it. That may be something to do with how a bulk of the customers use it - as a pre-paid card equivalent, perhaps?

Judging by the forum threads, it’s become a valuable resource for a young fan-base where money management is a whole new ball game. That makes it important for some. That, I suggest, has little to do with the account.

Horses for courses…:grinning:

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Personally, couldn’t be happier with Starling. I’ve now been with them for 2 years and they are way over and above some of the bog standard High Street offerings. I admit, there’s always room for improvement and I’m sure Starling will continue to add features that genuinely have purpose and make for a great banking experience.

But to add a bit of fire regarding the Monzo Forum. Well if the forum was entirely about Monzo, I guess it wouldn’t be too bad. The problem is it has become infected with inane subjects that have little to do with Monzo at all. The often peurile bickering that goes on over there is embarrassing, as evidenced by the frequent use of ‘flags’ and subsequent lockdowns of threads. Basically, it needs to grow up, well certainly some of its contributors need to grow up. Starling in my opinion, did absolutely 100 percent the right thing dumping their forum.

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I’m not sure if it was so much the community forum but Monzo was a lot more visible… and as I have a Monzo account I don’t really see the need to also get Starling as it wouldn’t be my main account.

However, I do think Starling has the better product, so if I was going to use one as a primary account it would be that. I think that’s kind of what the average deposit at each bank hints at too.

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This. I really didn’t like the decision at the time but with hindsight it doesn’t seem so bad. Particularly as the Monzo forum seems to have become an unhelpful echo chamber at times.

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Interesting. I agree with this (although Monzo does have a few features that I am very impressed by); what makes me curious is Monzo’s cult following (which is especially apparent on and probably perpetuated by its forum). I guess, maybe, once the high street banks have caught up technology wise (who knows when that would be, but Barclays and Lloyds seem to be heading in the right direction) then Monzo might have lost its purpose, while Starling’s status will, by then, be cemented as a ‘proper’ bank. In fact, I remember Anne Boden saying that she was hoping for floatation on the LSE as early as 2022?!

Absolutely. I use them as my main spending account over Monzo :slight_smile:

I don’t know if there are any up-to-date figures regarding this, but I read an article a while back which explained that although Monzo has considerably more customers, the average deposit was dwarfed by Starling’s - which I think speaks volumes about public perceptions around the trustworthiness and purposes of the two banks: one is seen as a bank, and one is seen as a budgeting tool. The problem is, budgeting tools don’t make the money required to run a bank! I assume Monzo (and maybe even Starling) is not profit-making yet?

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Good post @Lonford, I reckon you’ve made some really pertinent points here. :grinning:

(I’d be interested to see the reaction from the Monzo forum. :roll_eyes:)

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I think I’d be crucified if I said it on the Monzo forum :sweat_smile:

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Absolutely, you’d be flagged multiple times by easily offended contributors and undoubtedly subsequently locked out of any threads for at least an hour. It’s all go over there! :rofl:

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Wonder what Starling will have coming in their fourth year?

Third year shows they’re not done innovating. Cheque imaging (OK, they’re not the first, but the implementation is great) and connected cards.

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I’ve been happy to be with Starling since the very first day too.

My sole disappointment over the tree years has been the sudden removal of an overdraft facility that was always responsibly, if seldom, used.

My continuing impatience is for the long-promised credit card.

To have a proper worthwhile Starling credit card linked to my Starling account, would indeed be a worthy addition to the portfolio. However any credit card would have to be of a similar offering to that of which I have just obtained from Lloyds Bank, i.e. a long introductory interest free period. I realise that’s probably an unrealistic proposition for Starling to offer customers, but there’s no harm in dreaming!

Oh, and I just discovered what my first debit card purchase was with Starling, £12.50 at Maccy D’s. :man_facepalming:

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I forget exactly when I signed up, maybe early 2018, loved it at first but quickly fell out of love, numerous things, the Forum, the ‘coming soon’ that never really came. Their sole USP (v’s the average high street bank) was instant notifications but I didn’t use my account like that, found the market place bottom percentile for products so ultimately closed it as it had no use to me.

That said it’s been brilliant for my daughter at uni. When she gets her allowance splits it into pots for food, travel, entertainment etc so really helps her budget. And it does work for her with the instant notifications.

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