Using Starling in the United States 🇺🇸


I’m about to travel to the US next month and will of course be packing my Starling card…although I know there’s no ATM fees from Starling, I know a lot of ATM operators still charge - any way around this? Is cashback a thing over there?

Any other tips? Haven’t been for many years!


I haven’t used Starling in the US yet, but have used other cards that didn’t charge ATM fees. Unfortunately it seems if the ATM itself wants to charge you a fee, you’re going to get charged.

The problem is ATMs in the US are stupid. I have friends out there and they’re charged at their own bank’s ATMs for withdrawing cash. I never tried to get cashback, I just decided to withdraw $100 or so at once.


Interested to see if cashback works. I tried it with Monzo and it didn’t work (Maybe becasue prepaid?)


Potentially, last time I was in the US I was using a Caxton card which was just a pre-paid dollar card, and I ran into a lot of weirdness.


Hmm, interesting… thanks DKatri.

@pmoppy where did you see cashback options in the US? Supermarkets? I’ll definitely be trying this and will report back!


It was a CVS Pharmacy, they said it should ask on their till system if i want cashback, however it didn’t

On a side note, are mag strip transactions enabled as default with starling ?


I only used one ATM in 16 days - spent around $300 in total cash, and the vast majority of that was on the Disney World car park. I paid around $1.99 to withdraw $140.

I used my Starling card for everything else, a mixture of swipe (about 80-90%), chip in larger stores, and contactless a few times.

I never saw any mention of cashback anywhere and I didn’t have to do anything in preparation for travel (ie no need to enable magstripe)


Used my card in the USA. The transaction showed up almost immediately in the app. Subsequently a copy of the same transaction showed up about a day later. Evidently the first transaction was for authorisation but still doggedly shows up as pending about a week later. The second transaction has been presented and finalised. Just be aware that this happens, I guess we don’t normally notice as we don’t instantly see transactions. Starling customer services have said they will pursue the first as a disputed payment if it isn’t reversed.


was this at a restaurant? Its common for restaurant transactions to show twice (one with and one without the tip) with the first transaction dropping off after a couple of days.


Yes this was what happened.

Evidently, they “authorise” the transaction straight away, and then batch process the real one later.

Not Starlings fault, but I have a slight grievance with the restaurant as I signed a receipt for a service charge exclusive amount and left a couple of dollars cash, but when the final payment was taken they had added in the %15 again.

Also of interest was the fact that at the time the second transaction was carried out I had Card Payments disabled. Evidently they can do this because the transaction is somehow connected with the previously made authorisation.

By the way, this is in no way criticism of Starling, I really like their account, and as a very frequent international traveller (I work for an airline) I’m sure I will find it invaluable.

Unlike the poor allowances card we have, no app, prone to being cloned, and now, despite being a USD based card, they have started charging USD 6.00 to take cash out of their own ATMs.



Just back from 17 days in Universal, Orlando. Used my Starling Card at the hotel and charged most park purchases and restaurant bills back to the room.

The hotel initially puts a hold on an agreed amount. This showed as a ‘Pending’ transaction in-app. But each day, as I charged to the room, either additional funds were held (pending), or pending transactions were released. Different transaction notifications on my phone greeted me each morning.

When I checked out the hotel on Tuesday, I cleared the room charges with my Starling Card. What’s slightly worrying, is that I still have almost £300 worth of Pending transactions waiting to be released back to my account. One of which is now 7 days old.

In all the restaurants where I used my Starling Card, the payments were taken with just a swipe. Not chip and pin.

Used without issue at Walmart, Publix, Alamo and for Lyft. Also used in the airport shops in both Orlando and Dublin. Came home with $0 in cash which is a good thing.

Applepay declined in Starbucks at Cabana Bay, at Wawa petrol station and a food outlet in Universal Studios. I did contact in-app support when it was declined at Starbucks (support experience was fantastic). But no record of the transaction attempts were showing on my account. So I assumed the issue was at that particular store.

Applepay worked ok in McDonald’s and Dublin airport.

With the Wawa petrol station, pay at the pump requires a ZIP code or your PIN. On the one time it asked for my PIN, the card was declined. Even in-store it was declined selecting both the Credit or Checking card types. I had to resort to cash at Wawa.

I also used my card in a store in one of the outlets for a couple of t-shirts. The card was initially declined, but the sales staff said they were having card issues that day and she had to phone the transaction in. This she did and the amount notification popped up on my phone. Strange thing is, about 5 days later, the transaction was reversed and the amount re-credited to my account.

I managed to leave my card behind in a restaurant on CityWalk one evening, so locked the card as soon as I realised. The next morning we returned to the restaurant and thankfully, I got my card back. The staff member was quite impressed that I was able to lock the card using my phone.

Although locking the card is reassuring, the ability to disable the magnetic strip as well would be even better. Revolut has this feature which I’ve used in the past.

Having to wait until the end of the month for a full statement is a bit of a pain, but understand this has already been highlighted.

Overall, :heart_eyes: my Starling Card


Brilliant account Darren. Bound to assist fellow Starlings off to the States.


Hello every one,

I’m currently in New York and I would like to know which bank does not charge fee($3!) for withdrawing cash? Is the cashback an option? If so, where could i use it?

It’s incredibile how many places here still don’t accept payment with cards!

Overall in love with my Starling card but need to sort out the cash issue asap!

Thanks for your advices!


Hi, I believe Stores like Target, Walmart etc. will offer cash back if you are buying goods, it depends on their processing - credit/debit. ATMs and some Credit Unions boast Fee Free but I don’t know if Starling’s MasterCard would be on their approved list, give it a go and let us all know :wink:


After having tried the card in several banks, pharmacies (all point network atm) and stores in NYC I can confirm the following:

  • Withdraw cash has between 3$ to 6$ fees
  • Cashback is NOT possible! As the card is considered a credit card here in USA.

Very disappointed as other cards (virgin money, metro) have a £1.5 fix fee for each cash withdrawn.


And @FSA is finding this in Canada.


As @Graham pointed out, I’ve got the same experience north of you.

Regardless, isn’t Starling still the cheapest way of accessing cash here? The only better option would be having an account with a UK bank which has some sort of reciprocal deal with a US/Can bank wrt ATM fees.

The £1.5 fee with Virgin or Metro would be in addition to the charge levied by the US ATM, as far as I could tell.


That’s correct. The £1.50 fee is a charge levied by Virgin and Metro. So you would pay that in addition to any ATM fee.

It seems all ATMs in the USA will charge. It’s very different over there to the UK, even US bank accounts generally only get free withdrawals if they use their own bank’s ATM. They use another bank they get charged.

Allpointnetwork do offer free transactions but it appears this doesn’t work for foreign card holders. You can check your card on the Allpoint website but it just says “Check with card issuer”. I was charged at an Allpoint machine last year with a Halifax MasterCard. It may be a case that non-US MasterCards aren’t part of Allpoint.


Just take out $100 for occasional cash spending and swipe everything else. It’s not that big a deal.


There are no ATM charges at Wawa garages.

Are Wawa ATMs surcharge-free?
Yes, all of our ATMs are surcharge-free. While Wawa does not charge a fee, your personal bank may charge an out-of-network fee when you withdraw money from one of our ATMs. Please check your bank’s service agreement for information about fees.