International Transfers Feedback


Hi there, at the moment the app will default to the national currency of the receiving bank. We will be looking to expand the possible pathways but unfortunately this is a limitation of the feature for the time being. Hope this helps.


Coming from mainland Europe, I am shocked how difficult (and expensive) it still is to transfer and manage money abroad as a customer of a UK bank, even with a “modern” bank like Starling.
Some examples:

  • I recently wanted to transfer money to Croatia. Croatia is not in the list of countries supported by Starling yet. Wow…
  • I often need to transfer money in other currencies than the “default” currency of the receiving country. For example, many people in “country X in Europe”, let’s say Germany, have a German account at a German bank with a German IBAN (i.e. starting with “DE…”), but in another currency than €, for example, they would have US$ accounts. So I want to (and have to) transfer US$ into a German bank account.
  • Why are there no SEPA transactions, and why do SWIFT transactions cost £5.50? A SEPA transaction costs around €0.20 (depends on the bank a bit), independent of the amount transferred (so no percentage-based fee!). Starling’s “Via Local Partner” is still cheaper than any other UK bank but compared to mainland Europe banks, it still feels like being in the dark age.
    Also note that € is not the only currency supported by SEPA - for example Switzerland is part of the SEPA too, so money can be moved in CHF too. No UK bank is able to do it while any bank in mainland Europe can…

While Starling is better and cheaper than any other UK bank (well, except Transferwise), it still really feels like being in the dark age compared to how banking is done in mainland Europe (edit: maybe I should rather say DE/AT/CH area - see my post below). I understand there might be difficulties involved but how hard can this be in 2018 when mainland Europe has been doing this for decades.


While i agree with you on most aspects of what you say, I nearly did a comedy coffee spray as to how much more advanced mainland Europe is. Anyone who’s ever had o attempt the most basic interactions with a French bank for example will instantly tell you they’re still in somewhere between 1950 and 1975, depending on the bank, the day of the week, and the mood of the staff on that day. The nation still functions on cheques for gawd sakes…


Italian banks are very slow unless you know someone working in the bank branch, they even refused to let my mum in the branch once because she wasn’t known by anyone.

Trying to do an international transfer in branch took me over an hour once in Italy. The banks apps was completely useless.


Okay, my experience is mainly from the DE/AT/CH area. So maybe I should rather say “DE/AT/CH area” instead of “mainland Europe” in my feedback above. I would’ve expected for example France to be equally advanced as Germany w.r.t. banking. Maybe I’m spoiled (and rightly so!) by DE/AT/CH then. They have been showing how it’s done for decades and there is just no excuses for not doing what they do too.


Another piece of feedback for Starling: I was just transferring Euros to a German account. Wanted to compare the fees on Transferwise and Starling, here’s my experience with both:

  • Transferwise: Add new payee, enter recipient first & last name, enter IBAN => Done - it didn’t need any address or anything and it auto-filled the BIC. Costs: £1. It took literally 10 seconds to try this and get to the “Pay” button.

  • Starling: Add new payee, enter first & last name, enter full address, postcode, county (“Bundesland”; why the hell do you need that…?), enter IBAN & BIC. Costs: £0.53. It took me at least 3 minutes of tediously entering all that data on the phone and it was a long and seemingly unnecessary process.

3 minutes vs 10 seconds.
Why does TW only need the first & last name & IBAN and Starling needs everything down to the Bundesland?
(And no I didn’t have this payee pre-saved or anything like that in either account).


If the payment is going by SEPA rather than SWIFT the IBAN should not be required since the SEPAIO project was completed and banks sending SCT or SCTinst should only be asking for IBAN now and not BIC.


@MIROW I am just giving feedback to the Starling team here what my experience was and is - I don’t know about SEPAIO and SCT and I also shouldn’t have to know as customer (I know about SEPA, SWIFT, IBAN and BIC, and that’s probably already more than 80% of British banking customers). I am not complaining or anything I am just giving feedback to the Starling team what my experience with the app was since this is a feedback thread.


Personally I don’t think it’s relevant how its being sent, as a customer I want to click on a button enter the details and click pay. I might know the difference between ways payments are sent, but I bet the majority of people don’t know and actually don’t care.

It should be quick and simple, I can even sent a payment via a couple of high street banks quicker than with Starling at the moment. I still don’t understand the need for an address.


As a tightwad that 47p saving from 3 minutes of tedious entering is everything. That’s about 5 penny chews worth… :yum::candy:


The requirement for an address in iOS is a bug, I’m sure of it. @Kris is aware.


If as a customer when sending a SEPA Credit Transfer you have to enter a BIC as well as IBAN it is one extra step for the account holder, hence mentioning it to Starling. Particularly as other banks no longer require customers to have to enter it, it will compare less favourably for new customers than their experience with other banks.


considering the “IBAN only” rule deprecated the BIC for SEPA transfer in 2016 it’s pretty odd that a bank younger than that, and wrote all the related code from scratches, is asking for it.


To explain the terminology:

SEPA provide various services such as Direct Debits and Credit Transfers.

SEPA Direct Debits or SDD are the Euro (€) equivalent of the UK’s BACS Direct Debit (DD).

SEPA Credit Transfers (or SCT) are the transfers that some people call SEPA payments.

SCTinst is a new faster version of SCT.


I also fail to understand why did they model international transfers assuming destination country implies currency… it’s almost as stupid odd as modeling the accounts to be 1:1 to a user.

surely it’s iterative and blah blah, but I totally fail to see why would they have put those fake constraints around their necks voluntarily.


@Joe_Merriman I’m on the Android app though and it was a required field.


@mike2 Same here


Have to say, I am actually impressed with international transfers. Sent some money to a friend in the US at a tiny little credit union in the middle of nowhere… boom, arrived first thing the next day :slight_smile:

Oh, and for a lot less than the Hell’s Satan Banking Corporation would charge




Would that be HSBC :wink: