Is Starling strictly for people with 'good' credit?


A soft check is still a credit check, the only difference is, it does not show to other lenders. You only get a hard credit check if you apply for an overdraft with Starling.


Yes - I’m aware of this.

I don’t think MSE is incorrect, although I’m certainly not defending them as I think it could be clearer. The soft check is just an ID check, which they mention. But I agree it could be confusing.


This is what i thought. I understand what people are saying because it’s a check at a CRA, but i don’t see someone accessing the record a CRA has to see that you are who you claim as being the same as what i consider a credit check to be; looking at the financial information in the records to decide if you’re too much of a risk to have an account. I understand that many people may consider them the same thing, but i don’t know that they actually are.

When companies want to trace someone they can access the person’s CRA file to find the last known address they have on record. It doesn’t mean they’ve looked at, or have permission or access to look at, anything about their financial position, just that Experian/Equifax/Call Credit have Mr ABC last at 99 Highstreet, Anytown. Is that a “credit check”? Well, they’re not checking their credit.

Edit: But maybe i’m incorrect and it’s more than address check, that was just how i interpreted it, but perhaps i’ve misunderstood


I don’t know why people are thinking a soft check is not a credit check, it is, it always has been, it’s a silly myth that it is not a credit check. All the credit reference agencies state a soft check is a credit check. None of them have ever stated its not one. The only difference is it does not show to other companies. Starling as a bank has to record a credit check, it does the initial soft checks because that will show it whether you are bankrupt, have an IVA and so on, it then will proceed with account opening, do a further check or reject. The fact it checks for things like bankruptcy and IVA’s which it legally has to, means it is a credit check not an ID check.

A purely ID check only, shows as one on a Credit Report.

This is how an ID check shows, taken from my report, to show the difference.


This is how Starling check records without a hard search, again taken from my report. As you can see, totally different to an ID check.



Yes, it’s definitely a credit check as many companies now let you check your eligibility for their products, e.g. credit cards. Fill the form in, they do a soft check and then tell you how likely you are to get a particular card/rate/offer. MBNA will give you an actual decision based on the soft check.


You could always do a subject data record demand under GDPR. It is free and they have to give you all their records relating to you and your account request. Be sure to request all internal emails and other information from all systems.


This is affiliate marketing under which MSE receives payment from Starling. As such Starling could be reported to the Advertising Standards Authority for materially misleading content.


So we’ve been in touch with MSE multiple times regarding the errors in the wording and today we had another call with them. They’ve taken onboard the comments from our side.

Their explanation on why they have worded the email this way is that they feel the majority of their customer base might not know what a soft credit check is or not know the difference between a soft and hard check; because it leaves no footprint on the credit file visible to lenders, in their view, it’s the same as not doing a check at all.

We’d just like to put it out there that we haven’t paid MSE for any of the publicity


@LoganAllan, I’m sure MSE have an asterisk next to Starling links, meaning it’s an affiliate link where they receive a fee of someone clicks through and signs up. Is that not the case? If not, you’ll want then to correct that too.


Unlike many sites that use affiliate links, from the very first time we used them we were always deliberate about including an * after every one (and we’re pleased to see a few other sites starting to adopt this).

That is taken directly from MSE. Although the link is just a tracking link to Starling, so no idea why they would put the * there.


Because it uses the MSESTAR sign up code, which is linked to MSE.

I’m still gutted I can’t get an account, but will be waiting 12 months before reapplying!