Deferred Settlement - Completely Hopeless


I have tried to contribute on this forum, I have also been a big supporter of Starling on Twitter, and have recommended it to lots of people (feeling slightly foolish now), having also shifted ALL my own (not insignificant) banking and balance across to Starling too.

I hate to put the kool aid down, but overnight I got a vague push notification declining a transaction to Apple. It just so happened this was the 4 week wait for my new iPhone X, for which I placed a website transaction, that Apple rightly submitted now at shipment.

It is extremely common (and correct practice) for any Ecommerce retailer to process a payment only when they are sending goods. This deferred settlement is standard practice and yet Starling today declined my transaction just as Apple is about to ship.

The Starling notification took me to precisely nothing when clicked on (i.e. I couldn’t find out what it was about) and the notification disappeared. I spoke to support who didn’t seem to understand deferred settlement and asked me to re-submit with Chip & PIN.

This is completely at odds with the user experience expected of an Ecommerce purchase like this and frankly very naive and amateurishly thought out and implemented. This was even an ApplePay transaction for which I was authenticated via a biometric match.

Having been a vocal supporter of Starling, I’m actually embarrassed to have taken the bank so seriously as a credible alternative when I can’t even spend my own money (debit card transaction - low risk) on an Apple transaction that needed a several week wait.

And of course thanks to Starling I will probably be waiting another four weeks now too. I will add that the 24/7 customer support was responsive but didn’t understand that this is a flawed Ecommerce experience and just fobbed me off with throwaway statements.

The whole thing has been an appalling fall back from moving everything to Starling and recommending it to others. More fool me.


Not that this will help your situation but take a read of this thread

The last 10 or so. Starling decline Apple Pay over £500 for “security” reasons and then you need to pay by chip Andy pin to remove the limit. As you say that’s not possible with an online transaction

Starling are reviewing according to that thread


I have had similar problems with Microsoft, both with Nationwide and Starling - when making preorders. When trying to take the payment, it is just blocked.


I had the same with my iPhone X order. The Apple site allowed me to change my payment details to my Amex card and it went through and didn’t delay shipment.


Thanks to you (and @r1biker) for helpfully showing that I’m not going mad and this is a known issue. Apologies that I hadn’t searched the forum, as I honestly didn’t imagine it could already have been discussed on here, without it generating a massive outcry.

From my perspective this is completely embarrassing and I feel very let down to have recommended Starling so vocally. It is such a straightforward use case and declines halfway as over zealous was the exact reason I moved my banking (from First Direct).

What really angers and irritates me is Starling have committed a triple whammy here in terms of everything I have come to expect from them on service and experience. I can’t forgive the terrible service, much less that it is backed up with absolutely horrific UX:

  1. Deliver an extremely poor service, declining perfectly valid and expected payments
  2. Provide a spurious app push notification that takes you to absolutely nowhere
  3. Back it up with customer support that makes utterly ridiculous impossible requests to perform Chip & PIN on a deferred remote transaction processed at time of shipment

On 3. I was actually told several times the issue was that I had only just realised after 4 weeks that my card had been declined. As if it was my fault for not noticing. They simply didn’t get the concept of having placed an order which was only processed at shipment.

This is all monumentally stupid and I’m grateful to @r1biker for at least having had the experience that it is a recoverable situation with Apple. But Starling have gone down massively in my estimation and it warrants revising recommendations to others.


Hi Rob,

I am very sorry for this poor experience you have had. As I mentioned on the other thread, I have passed your feedback (and others) onto our card ops team and I will review our limits with them.

We are currently working on deeplinking from our push notifications into our application so this will be available in the not too distant future.

We are also already reviewing the threshold for our security check on higher value Apple Pay transactions. This is in progress.

In regards to our customer service team’s advice, your transaction with Apple and the delayed authorisation until shipment might have been the first interaction the customer service agent had handled of this kind. I’ll connect with @patrick who leads the team and make sure this scenario is communicated across the team.

Again we’re very sorry you have had a bad experience this time, we value your feedback so that we understand the impact of our decisions on our customers and I hope we can turn this around and regain your advocacy. I will update you.



My experience made me feel that Starling were still thinking like a legacy bank and not wanting to be honest and open to customers. My thread about my issue was deleted, and no one has made any effort to get back to me on it.


My experience, unfortunately, is similar to this. A quick response from customer service but it felt to me like they were looking for reasons not to help me so that they didn’t have to address the actual query.

It got to the point where they told me my wife had to contact them but, when she did, they refused to discuss with her either.

It was only once if pointed out the silliness and nonsense of their requirements that they addressed the issue and took some four or five days to respond to what was originally a straightforward enquiry.

I’m sorry to hear that your Apple purchase has been scuppered. This is very frustrating and is not something I’d expect to happen with a legacy Bank.

This is not good at all. I’ve also sensed this to be the case.


Hi all,

Following your feedback we have a few changes already in progress today :slight_smile:

We have made adjustments to our card not present transaction limits so your experience when paying online is less likely to be impacted by these limits we have in place. This went in this morning. We will be retaining these limits as we scale, but in future we will look at ways to ensure your transactions are not declined in the case where your transaction meets on of our thresholds. We know this isn’t perfect yet.

We have also agreed to adjust our threshold at which Apple Pay transactions require additional authentication. This means that whilst we are required to have this step up, you will be less likely to be impacted by it in store and the it won’t apply when paying online with Apple Pay. These changes will be applied in the next week or so.

These two things, along with our improvements to notifications over time will we hope improve your experience going forward. It is definitely not our desire to act or be like a legacy bank, we have implemented a lot of our technology and operations very quickly … this means that across the bank in operations as well as technology we are still iterating on our processes and some times a decision made for when we we onboarding hundreds of customers needs to change as we scale. Please continue to tell us if you run into any problems so we can continue to address them.


Do Starling allow Apple Pay payments above £30?

What are the new limits?



Limits are applied to restrict fraudulent behaviour and so I am keen to not post those publicly here :zipper_mouth_face: but if you have a query about a declined transaction on your account we can address those via the app.


Apple Pay Fail

Thanks for responding, then addressing so promptly @sarah.guha. Very impressive.

From an industry perspective this particular issue made literally no sense and struck me as a very naive (or completely un-tested) user experience, but I take your point that you have introduced significant functionality and processes in a relatively short time and are sometimes discovering in practice what simply doesn’t work.

I’m surprised “decline Ecommerce transactions over £500” survived even a discussion or write up of user stories, let alone implementation, without anyone thinking it was a bad idea, but it’s clear from this forum that the complexity and breadth of the product is a huge undertaking and I’m hugely impressed you were able to investigate, propose a fix and deliver in such a short space of time. Now that DEFINITELY isn’t legacy.

Thank you!


Superb response @rob2775


Did you get your phone?


Not yet, but the situation was recoverable. Apple don’t allow you to change card via the website on an open order, so I had to ring up and do it with an agent in Ireland. He did advise it would cause a delay, they seem to queue their payments and shipping requests so once a payment fails or you change your card, you have to wait in a payments queue again. It seemed to add about 2 days to completing a payment and scheduling shipping.


Thanks @rob2775 . We certainly appreciate your understanding. 'Decline ecommerce transactions over £500" was never actually discussed and naturally that value is far too low. What we have is a higher ecommerce limit that we apply at the moment, and a lower step up requirement for Apple Pay for in store (hence the chip and pin step up). What your experience revealed (and we’re very sorry for the inconvenience to you) was that the Apple Pay step up requirements shouldn’t be applied for remote AP purchases. I’m pleased we’ve been able to adjust things so quickly with further adjustments in progress. And… I hope you get your iPhone X soon :crossed_fingers:


This is a really good example of Team working with a customer to the benefit of all.

It’s also a reminder that we’re all on a journey - and the pace is picking up :grinning:


While every company can make mistakes or an oversight. The response is what separates an ok company to a superb one. This is an example of Starling taken feedback and applying a very quick fix and resolving an issue with clear communication.


Yep, it sure is :grinning:


Just saw this on twitter…reminded me of the above and my own thoughts of planning to by a laptop after Xmas…