Elias Pelcastre

I tried Starling: a simpler, more visual form of banking

I like having control of my finances, so I find it annoying to see the “pending authorisation” amount in my bank’s mobile app when I use my card at a store.

That’s one of the main reasons I decided to give Starling a go. But I have to admit the move wasn’t an easy one; I was afraid it could be a hoax, and my money would disappear after making my first deposit. Nothing happened, of course, and I have started to love their mobile app and their banking model.

Starling is very visual; it’s like having a personal finance app and a bank app all in one. After you access Starling, you see your balance centre of the screen, and a visual representation of how much you’ve spent that day.

Tap the lower right icon to see a list of the payments you made, with a badge of the merchant and the amount you spent. You can use the search bar to look for a store and how much it charged your card, as well as the specific place in a map where you made a purchase.

Starling app

The “Spending” section in the upper left side menu divides your expenditure into categories and merchants. Here you can see where your hard earned money is going, whether to groceries, transport, bills, or eating out.

You can also disable online purchases, the use of the card, cash point withdrawals, as well as the use of the contactless use on a mobile phone.

“Spaces” is a section where you can set yourself goals. Choose a foto, make a deposit, and you will see the amount that you need, in terms of percentage, to fulfil your goal.

Starling offers a switch function in case you want to close your old bank account, and bring your direct debits and balance, hassle free.

Now, I get my wage and am in the process of getting my direct debits charged to my Starling account. That way, I can see my expenditure in a more visual way and control the money that comes in and out in a easier way.

I think Starling sets a high bar, and other banks should follow their lead. I definitely recommend it for people who want a different form of banking.