Starling for Business First Impressions


I’m evaluating Starling at the moment for business (just opened an account), and would like to give you my first impressions - which were mostly really favourable - this is a really impressive first effort at a new business account. I’d encourage anyone else who’s unsure to try the account, most problems I found would be easily solved by Starling in future.

First here is a quick comparison with Tide as I’ve been using them most recently, and they’re probably one of your closest competitors:

  • Charges - Tide charges a few £ a month (20p per transaction), Starling is free for SMB. Both are reasonable (Starling more than reasonable!)
  • Setup - Not bad on Tide, wonderful experience on Starlng - congratulations
  • Apple Pay - Starling has it, Tide doesn’t - starling setup for this is lovely, well done.
  • Scheduled transactions - Starling has it, Tide doesn’t
  • International payments - Starling has it, Tide doesn’t
  • Custom categories - Tide has it, Starling doesn’t
  • Multiple accounts - Tide has it, Starling doesn’t, though goals might be a fudge
  • Multiple cards - Tide is working on this, Starling not yet?
  • Transaction search - Tide has it, Starling doesn’t
  • Transaction export - Tide lets you export all transactions quickly, Starling exports per month (!?)
  • UI - Tide is clearer IMO, not as flashy, but clearer - see notes below.
  • Integrations - Tide has started Xero, but I haven’t used it so can’t comment.

So on balance I think Starling is winning here with things like scheduled transactions (for wages say), with some caveats - it is clearly not tailored for business use at present, but I’d hope that would change. Transaction classification and export is way behind Tide though, you need to put some serious thought and work into that.

On a more personal level, some first impressions and dashed expectations:

Onboarding is great, this is an excellent experience which took just a few minutes, and is way ahead of any high street bank.

Transaction Search - simple search on category/date would suffice, if categories were not broken. I just want to search transactions, nothing fancy.

Categories - oh dear. Holidays, Groceries, Lifestyle, Shopping - these aren’t appropriate at all for business banking. Just give us custom categories please. This is far more important for a business account than a personal one, as it is I’d have to categorise everything by hand after export to accounting software, and ignore starling categories completely. Also your CSV doesn’t appear to export category? I’d put category on CSV export, otherwise you can’t get that data out. I only want custom text-based categories which remember which category was used last time on a merchant/payee.

Transaction export - this appears to be based around the antiquated idea of monthly statements and features annoying repeated legal disclaimers. This is pretty cumbersome for business use, I would want a yearly export based on business year end, seems that is coming though, so that’s good.

Goals - I suppose I could use this to set aside money for tax, or protect it from card spending - feels pretty superfluous on a business account, and the marketing screens are inappropriate. Not a huge deal.

Marketplace - where is this? I was going to have a look, but perhaps not active on the business side?

Welcome email - I expected but did not receive a welcome email since I gave you my email address. I don’t expect much email from a bank (insecure), but did expect a welcome of some sort.

UI - this seems a little off for a business account. Pay is good (nicer than Tide), Spending includes incoming, which is odd, and a weird On/At dichotomy (edit this is now fixed), and Home looks like a daily spending tracker, not sure I’ll use that on a business account. Card should IMO be less visible, and Goals perhaps I’ll use for Tax or similar, not sure it is appropriate for business accounts. I expected something more like:

  • Activity - searchable, exportable transaction feed, with Incoming/Outgoing split, not On/At
  • Account - card details, account no etc.
  • Pay - pretty much as it is

The UI quibbles above are relatively unimportant, and you have all the basic banking functions working well it seems, but being able to properly classify transactions is important, that’s the biggest problem.

So my takeaways for Starling would be:

For business please work on transaction categories, search and export

It would be interesting to hear what others think who have just opened an account for business.

Business Account Creation Issue resolved

Really helpful summary. Thanks very much.

I’ll leave this thread in peace so you can all comment freely but just wanted to add that the business marketplace is a work in progress. The marketplace team have a very strong pipeline of businesses that want to partner with us and we’ll make the usual partner announcements soon.


Custom Categories are on the plan.


Interesting, but where and what is the plan? :slight_smile:

I tried searching and came up with a few posts from last year that don’t mention this, would love to see a roadmap if there is one, sorry if I missed something obvious.


9 hours ago


@jasonwilkinsonbrown on the email front, I think it’s important to note that, I signed up for early access on the first day the page showed up and since haven’t received a single thing, now, that’s all fine because I’m here in the forums but I doubt that everyone who is interested is.

I think some comms (at some point when the platforms a little bit tidied up maybe) to that group of people might be useful.

Edit: The email came out today, no Idea whether this post had anything to do with it or not but, I’m happy now :slight_smile:


I can’t find anywhere that mentions a maximum balance. I’ve got a reasonably large amount to move over from Tide - could anybody help?


Hi there!

There are no upper limits to the amount you can hold in the account.

There is a limit on what you will be protected for, this is £85,000 as per the FSCS.

If you have any more questions, both the community and customer support is open 24/7 :wink:


hopefully search is somewhere close too…


I opened the account this morning as I am completely disenfranchised with the AWFUL website experience I get from HSBC Banking… So, as a newbie, a few questions:

  • I don’t see a switching facility yet, is there one? My business account is a complex beast fro SO and DD’s

  • Can I have my bookkeeper viewing the account? Extremely useful to have someone else able to verify purchases and spending patterns

  • Is there an integration planned for bookkeeping software so that I can hook into the account?

That’s it for now. VERY impressed by the onboarding process, lsick as a greased snake.


Thank you.

Out of interest - there are 2 directors of the company (myself and my fiancee), is this a blocker to opening an account? She’s fine with us just having the one card / access until this is changed.


Hi 3DM,

The current account switching service isn’t ready for business accounts yet, but will be coming in eventually.

Currently you can only view the account on one phone, but, there is an api coming soon & lots more fun stuff that should let bookkeepers look at your account in a very secure manner.

There are planned integrations for several accounting packages, which one do you use?

Disclaimer: I’m not from starling, just been following this release closely :slight_smile:


Hi server angels,
With the current eligibility criteria, you should be able to open an account as long as you only have one person with significant control on the company, so, in your example as long as either you or your fiancé is not a person of significant control, then the other person should be good to open an account.

This is on the road map to be changed to allow for more complex businesses to be handled but that could take up to six months according to Starling, but, it’s on its way!


I don’t have any software currently, so am looking for recommendations… API compatible of course… :slight_smile:

Good news on the other changes too. Let’s hope the wait is not too long.


Hopefully this is an April fools joke?

2 identical indistinguishable cards in Apple wallet?!


Starling are looking to support a few soon, Xero and FreeAgent, but if you’re looking for a free one, WaveApps & QuickFile are nice & cloud based too (not currently on public Starling roadmap, no idea if they will be in the future).

I know :expressionless: it’s on the roadmap to change soon, here’s a quote from Starling about it:


Thanks. Even changing the colour in the interim would do the job…


Yup, would be a nice quick fix, personally, I’d like a black or grey one but that might be a bit boring :stuck_out_tongue: just if anyone from Starling is listening.


@P110 I’ve been replaced! Spot on with the answers as always…


:joy: You’ve already spent your long weekend getting this released & answering the same questions, thought I might as well help out a bit since the info is already out there.

(& I always do have half an eye on the Starling careers page :wink: )