Are business accounts still in beta?

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#1

As a freelancer, I’ve been eagerly awaiting business accounts on Starling. When it launched for sole traders I signed up immediately. Only recently have I started using it for some business transactions (as I’m awaiting support for the Current Account Switch Service in order to fully switch).

However, the more I use it, the more disappointing I find it. It really does seem as if the absolute bare minimum has been done to the app to enable business account support. By bare minimum, I mean that you can switch between a personal and business account, and that’s it.

My main disappointments include:

I understand the plan may have been to launch with basic features and then add more over time, but while this makes sense for whole features such as Overdrafts and the Current Account Switch Service, issues such as notification differentiation and different card designs really should have been ready on day 1 to give users the initial experience they expect.

If business accounts were still in “beta” then I probably wouldn’t be writing this post, but it worries me there are these niggles with what is apparently a fully launched service.

Even more worrying is the fact that business accounts have been available for 11 weeks now, and with 7 app updates being launched within that time, I don’t see any improvements for any of the above areas. Not even the notifications issue, which should be one of the easier ones to fix.

Some users are complaining that development of personal account features has been neglected due to work on business accounts, but the truth is business accounts are just as neglected. The above are all obvious improvements. I’ve not even mentioned changes to categories that need to be made to make them suitable for business users (like why do business users still get presented with categories such as “Home”, “Holidays”, “Family”, “Pets” etc??, that’s not very professional).

I know many are wanting new features like “Round Up”, “Direct Debits from Goals” etc, but can we perhaps focus on refining the UX issues that we have with the existing features for the time being?


#2

you can get a sole trader account now, but I totally agree with your concerns but young banks grow iteratively… getting a bit better every week instead of big full blown releases.


#3

Yeh, see above, I’ve got one. My point is that business accounts seem rough around the edges, as if they are a beta product.


#4

that’s part of the nature of startups, isn’t it?


#5

@jcwacky For some of us, the business accounts don’t work at all, and cause the app to stop working completely!

I do remember seeing something on here about plans for the business card to have a different design eventually: I would hope that means that we would get replacement cards once the design is finalised. You’re right though, it feels a little ‘half-baked’ and my feeling is that it would have been better to delay the launch to get some of these features differentiated first.


#6

On a more positive note, the business account is completely free. It’s also much easier to open than going to a branch and providing whatever paperwork they require.

I think there are some good suggestions for improvement above and I expect Starling will take the feedback on board as they develop both the business and personal current accounts further.


#7

I don’t think that can really be used as an excuse. Starling is advertising the account as a fully launched business account, with one of its main features being instant notifications, but not even that’s been optimised yet. As I mentioned, if they were labelling business accounts as “beta” I’d understand. But they are giving the impression that this is the (low) level of attention to detail to expect from them.


#8

Agreed. There are certainly many parts of the overall Starling experince which are great.

I suppose part of the disappointment is that as Starling aren’t churning out new features as fast as some other challenger banks, I’d expect them to be taking their time to do things properly instead. Ensuring everything is polished before launching it. But there’s so many little annoyances that it feels like we’re not getting either at the moment.


#9

Starling uses the term “beta” in terms of availability instead of maturity.

is it publicly available? then it’s not beta anymore.

in terms of maturity almost everything in Starling or Monzo qualifies as beta as the whole bank is merely 2 years old and they have to catch up with the minimum expected functionality and innovate at the same time.


#10

An example of this is Notes, we’ve waited ages to be able to add notes to transactions, they finally launch it, but autocorrect is disabled when typing a note (on iOS at least), a silly bug that you’d only expect if a feature was rushed out without testing. (There are many more similar issues like this).

The fact that Starling is a young bank shouldn’t come into minor issues like this. As an excuse for lacking larger features, fine, but not for lacking polish in existing features.


#11

I signed up for a sole trader account, but chose not to move a limited company account over, purely because it’s really not in my mind suitable for anything more than just a small business, especially as there is no cash deposit facility and the app itself is just basic as far as a business account goes.

However for a sole trader account it offers everything I need really, direct debits and standing orders, incoming payments, statements etc. The fact I get instant notifications of direct debits etc helps with keeping track of finances. I’ve not actually actively used the business side yet, but have moved 5 direct debits over and plan to move more as time goes on.

Has a long way to go but for a small sole trader account it works for me.

The little annoyances are on personal accounts as well, so I don’t particular class them as a business problem.

They do need to make some changes, for those that have both a business and personal account though.


#12

Adding an emoji to each notification to indiate which account it’s assocatied with could be a great way to solve this. Then it wouldn’t clutter up the notification with more text e.g. “from your business account”, and it would be easier to see at a glance.

Maybe the briefcase emoji :briefcase: for business accounts? And a simple :bust_in_silhouette: for personal accounts?


#13

until they start supporting more than one of each. custom account aliases, with these emoji as default value, is slightly more escalable.


#14

Thanks for your feedback everyone, it’s really good to hear and we are working hard to make business and personal account better all the time. I’ve just posted a new thread as we’re looking to get some feedback from the community about notifications when you have several accounts at Starling. I know you’ve already talked about your thoughts here but would be keen to hear what you think of the ideas we’re looking at. The new thread is at https://community.starlingbank.com/t/business-account-notifications