Starling & Amex partnership?


Hey Starling,

Wondering if we could think outside the box here. In general, i dont put transactions through my bank card as my amex takes hold especially with airline tickets & concierge requests etc… due to their insurance coverage and points, plus their amex offers are great! So essentially any bank would need to entice me to get away from that. Probably highly unlikely in a free account. But! Could there be a way to have a partnership with amex to integrate transaction details into the one or integrate other ways? Starling could introduce an Amex debit card, which would mean if i used my starling amex, then i’d still be covered by my insurance and get all the benefits.

Random thought that popped into my head but see if it goes anywhere :slight_smile:


Amex and high street bank partnerships are fairly common, so no reason that Starling couldn’t work with Amex to provide such.

Amex won’t do debit cards, they do prepaid cards, but they use the American Express system to process them, so UK terminals will see them as Credit Cards, unless Amex reach agreement with the providers.

Starling would need Amex to launch a debit system in the UK for it to launch a Amex Debit card, the costs involved obviously are not worth it, as Amex haven’t even launched their complete prepaid range in the UK, and haven’t done for the years they have been offering them.


I use my Amex wherever possible due to the cashback - I’m due £200 this month for the last year!

I love how when you use your physical Amex card, you get a Google Pay notification!

I wonder if there’s a way of Starling and Amex linking up to at least display info, perhaps a Marketplace partnership? Show transactions and outstanding balance from my Amex account in Starling’s app?


yea amex dont have that type of system, but maybe theres an area of development or partnership that means you can use amex branding without developing a new system. using an altered version of amex and seen as a credit card could be a bonus with consumer protection? Do you get more consumer protection if a business goes bust. under credit card policies compared to debit card? (obviously gets complicated as credit scores are affected if you have a credit card, but starling could link this through their overdraft system maybe?

again just random thinking on ways starling could develop that benefits me. :slight_smile:


Starling is a small bank with over 100k customers, even the big banks with millions don’t have the sort of relationship with Amex as you are suggesting.

Not saying it can’t happen, but the actual financial cost of what you are suggesting, is probably not something any bank would consider, the general public don’t use Amex, so to suddenly get them using Amex to make it cost effective isn’t something I can ever see happening.

Amex policies are different to those of Visa and American express.

So you are asking for Amex to change their policies, for a small bank to take on a major financial commitment, for card processers to adapt the systems they use.

It’s a very big ask, maybe when Starling get a few million customers, Amex may take suggestions like this, but there are bigger prepaid companies that offer Amex cards that don’t have the flexibility you are thinking about.

But who knows down the road what will happen.


Out of interest, what makes you say that?

A quick google shows Amex is pretty damn popular in the UK, although I can’t find a split between business and personal.


I could walk up to 20 of my friends and ask them and only I have an Amex.

But I’ll hunt out the figures for you shortly.


It wasn’t a dig, but you said it with such certainty that I was curious (as an amex user).

I’d say probably 30% of my friends use Amex, but in all honestly, I don’t often ask them!


I was certain lol I didn’t take it as a dig. I just don’t have the figures to hand. The Nilson report did a comparison in 2017.

Spend wise in the world 147.9 billion was spent on Visa, 75.8 billion on Mastercard, 58.6 billion on UnionPay and 7.5 billion on American Express. The statistics are slightly misleading as around the world Mastercard has the dominance but in the USA Visa has over half of its spend from there alone.

A full breakdown is in the 2017 report which I can’t link to as you have to subscribe, there is other reports that breakdown even more.

I totally forgot though when I first replied to this thread. American Express announced they won’t be participating in any new licensing agreements in Europe early this year.


I thought amex and turkish airlines just announced a partnership? or is this a case where companies get to decide if they think turkey is asia or europe lol.


I didn’t mean the continent Europe, I meant the European Union, but I didn’t make that clear so my fault.


ah! that’ll be interesting to read! cheers didn’t see that.


Would be interesting to see, but I cant see Amex going for it.

They have recently changed strategy in the UK it seems and have stopped going for joint cards with banks, the last of them, the Lloyds Bank Avios Card, has now stopped taking new applications.

Amex seems to be going through a period of change in the UK (Gold preffered Charge Card has now been closed to new applications and replaced with a Gold Preffered CREDIT Card) so will be interesting to see what happens at the end of all that, but I doubt a bank link up would be high on their list, if it is even on their list at all.


They lost a court case early this year, and announced no new partnerships in the European Union, and it would be considering changes to its current ones. It is going to concentrate on it’s core market which has never been Europe, apart from the UK in which it did fairly well compared to the rest of Europe.


They seem to be upping their presence in the UK, more advertising for them than I have seen in a long time.


Yep however its for their own cards, which they charge a fee for which covers some of the loss in interchange fees. Not for their branded partnership cards.

The issue was the fees and the fee cap. They can’t operate other cards as a profit, but can offer their own cards at a profit.


I don’t pay a fee for my Amex Platinum Cashback card, so it isn’t all cards they charge for. Granted, they do have some hefty annual fees on some of the others.


No, but they reduced the cashback rate instead of charging a fee in 2016 in advance of knowing they would be forced to make the changes.


Did they? I only got mine in 2017 - 5% cashback in the first three months (up to £100 cashback), followed by 0.5% up to £5,000 spend, then 1% on all spend for the rest of the year.

For anyone who’s interested, £10 free cashback if you apply for the card using my link:

(Full disclosure… I also receive cashback if anyone signs up.)


Yep used to be 1.5% then then moved it down to 1.25% and in 2016 it went to 1%