Starling Bank Review: Can It help you budget better?

Starling Bank review - can it help you budget better? With so many new online banking providers offering nifty apps and readily available customer service, how can we use them to improve the ways we budget?
Satrling Bank Review Can It help You Budget Better - lovelifelivewise

Table of Contents

Before we dive in on what makes Starling Bank a top banking proposition, let’s look at where Starling Bank started and what it has on offer that might be of interest to you! 

If you are just after an honest Starling Bank review, go to the Table Of  Contents above and select points 9 – 12 on the list where I share how I use it and my experience as a user.

What Is Starling Bank?

Starling Bank is a  fully-licensed bank, founded in 2014 by industry-leading banker Anne Boden, who saw how technology was evolving and how it could serve customers in a way that traditional banks were not able to do.

They have since raised £323 million in backing and were voted Best British Bank three years running.

All of Starling’s accounts are protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This bank works exclusively online, although you can use the Post Office to deposit both cash and cheques.

To open an account go here.

How many customers does Starling have?

According to their website, in 2019, Starling passed one million customer accounts with £1 billion in deposits.

Who owns Starling Bank?

Starling Bank is an independent, privately-owned company and is not part of any other bank (

It is 24% owned by Anne Boden, employees and ex-employees and an employee benefits trust set up for employees.


Other investors are:

Harry McPike, a global private investor with a focus on technology and financial sector opportunities.

He is represented on the board by two investor directors: Lázaro Campos, a fintech investor and entrepreneur and former CEO of SWIFT, and Marcus Traill, a senior investment management professional and director of QuantRes, a global proprietary quantitative trading firm.


Merian Global Investors, a leading public investor in the UK.

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Starling Bank Review: Account Types

Starling Current Accounts

Starling Bank offers four different types of bank accounts to satisfy everybody’s needs, see below for details on each account type. In this Starling Bank review we will look at each bank account type and it’s benefits.

Personal Current Account

Applying is really easy and you can ask them to text you the app.

To verify your identity, they ask that you take a picture (selfie) and send to them for verification together with a passport or driving license picture.

Joint Current Account

Account for couples or friends that share financial commitments. You both need to have a current account and can apply via the app.

Euro Current Account

A great option if you have family in an EU country and transfer money regularly in euros, you can hold, send and receive euros for free with a Starling euro account.

Teen Account

You can easily apply via the app, just need a passport ID.

Starling Business Accounts

Business Account

For limited companies and other registered businesses. 

Sole trader Account

For self employed or even if you just have a side hustle. Keep your finances in check with this account.

Euro Account

For business transactions in euros.

Starling Bank Review: Opening a Starling Account

Opening an account is very easy. You can download the app to your phone and apply via the app. You can also go to Starling’s website and ask them to send you the app. If you have friends that already bank with Starling, ask them to refer you. The process is very easy and for the aim of this Starling Bank review, I would rate it 5 out 5 for ease of setup.

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Starling Bank review:
Top features

Starling Bank review:
Additional Features

In addition to the above features, Starling Bank offers other features that may come in handy when managing your finances.

Starling Bank Review Can It help you budget better - lovelifelivewise

Starling Bank review:

As we said above, there are no charges for opening an account and monthly maintenance is also free, card delivery is free too.

Personal Overdraft

Personal overdrafts come with a variable EAR starting at 15%

Personal Loan Fees

If you have an overdraft with your current account, the loan interest will be lower than overdraft interest.

Business Overdraft

RATE (% EAR VARIABLE) starts at 5% for business overdrafts.

Business Loan Fees

Loans up to £25,000 have a representative rate of 7% APR (fixed).

ATM Fees

Starling  does not charge at ATM in the UK or abroad.

Money Transfer Fees

No charges apply for transfers within the UK. International transfers have a £0.3-5.5 fee. 

currency exchange fees

Starling also applies a 0.4% currency exchange fee to each transaction.

Starling Bank Review:
My personal experience

I have held a personal account with Starling bank for over 2 years now and made it my main account after 6 months. Here I will detail what I like and what I like less about this account based on my experience so far.

Starling Current Account Spent Merchants - lovelifelivewise

What I like

What I like Less

Can Starling Bank help you budget better?

There are several parts to a successful budget,  you can do it in many ways and although Starling Bank does not have a tool specifically to help you with budgeting, it has some features that can help in improving your budgeting and the way you do it. In this Starling Bank review we wanted to look specifically at how you can budget better using their features.

The answer to the above is not a resounding Yes because there is no one tool dedicated to budgeting alone but I’ll exemplify below the steps I take to make it work for me and how I budget with it’s help.


Satrling Bank Can It Help You Budget Better - lovelifelivewise

Use your starling bank account to improve money management

know your spending

The first and most important part of any budgeting exercise is knowing where your money is going! This is so important I can say it until I go BLUE!

If you want to learn more about the basics of budgeting you can read the posts below that explain in detail and show you how to plan.

How can starling help?

In the spending tab of the app you have the choice to see all your spending in two different ways by category and by merchant.

You can use this information in different ways.

I use it to see where most of my money goes in terms of the categories: transports, shopping, bills & services, eating out, groceries…

I also use the merchants view to see where I can make cuts!

For example, overall spending £70 eating out a month might not sound too bad but if those £70 were spent in coffee, that might sound a lot different.

Starling gives you the information you need to make informed decisions but you don’t have a tool to implement them neatly in the app!

You can get my monthly planner here and use the notes section to write down what you are expecting to spend and what the actual spent was on those categories. This will easily show you savings and extra spending in each category and help you in planning goals to achieve the following month.

Set saving goals

You can set different saving goals directly on the Starling app and have the option to round up payments and save towards those different goals. This is a simple way to do it.

You can also set other more specific goals based on what I described above Let’s say that you want to bring down the coffee spend to £50 a month rather than £70. I would set that as a monthly goal on my budget planner and would use the app to track spending and savings made.

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In Conclusion

With so many different options for online banking and the major banking players almost catching up with the new arrivals, it’s easy to forget what to look for and judge how we can make banks work harder for us!

I personally feel that a Starling Current Account can help you greatly with saving better and gaining a greater understanding of where your money is going every month.

I hope this review helps you make savvy financial choices and consider what is important to you, when deciding how to manage your finances and the goals you set.

My free budget planner can help you with keeping all your notes neat in one place, get it here.


Read more about saving money below: 

How To Start Saving Money Today

 5 Simple Ways To Save Money Each Month!

Let me know in the comments below ways you use to improve your budgeting and experiences (good and not so good) you have with banking providers!

Keep safe & enjoy the simple things!


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