Starling Business Account Review

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  • Starling Bank provide a business card account that offers an alternative to traditional high street business banking. You can compare features of Starling Bank's business accounts in the table below, or read on for a review of Starling Business Accounts.
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Information written by Rhiannon Philps Last updated on 07 June 2022.

Starling is one of the best known fintech banks in the UK. Established in 2014, it initially offered personal accounts before venturing into business banking in 2018. You can only access Starling’s banking services online or through its mobile app, rather than in person, but it has many useful functions to help businesses manage their finances effectively.

With a free account and the option to pay for further features, Starling Bank can accommodate a range of business types and sizes. Discover more about what you can do with a Starling business account and how it compares to accounts from other providers.

Pros and cons of Starling

Like any other bank, Starling has a number of advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of Starling

  • fast set-up
  • it offers a free business account
  • a regulated bank, which is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
  • integrates with accounting software and other business tools
  • you can categorise your business spending
  • you can save towards goals
  • free UK transfers and ATM withdrawals (up to a limit)
  • you can deposit cheques up to £500 for free via the app
  • multi-director account access
  • it offers multi-currency accounts
  • 24/7 support
  • no fees from Starling for using your card abroad (although other fees may apply)
  • you can switch to Starling using the Current Account Switch Service

Cons of Starling

  • online-only bank, so you can’t visit a branch
  • you can only deposit cash in your account through the Post Office for a fee
  • you need to pay to upgrade your account to create and send invoices
  • only company directors can access the account and get a debit card
  • you can’t transfer money to every country
  • no business overdrafts at the time of writing

What plans does Starling offer and what are its fees?

Sole traders and limited companies can open a Starling business bank account. There are two main types of bank account available: a free version and a paid version that offers more features.

Starling also offers two multi-currency accounts, which you can open once you have a standard business account.

These multi-currency accounts allow businesses to hold, send and receive payments in either euros or dollars, to make it easier to convert your money. If you regularly conduct business in Europe or the USA, these accounts may make it simpler and cheaper to make payments and manage your finances in the different currencies.

The Euro business account costs £2 a month and the US dollar account costs £5 a month. Only limited companies can open a US dollar account.

What features does Starling offer customers?

Starling business accounts come with a range of banking features and services, including:

  • A mobile app so you can bank on-the-go.
  • Mastercard debit card with a £10,000 daily spending limit.
  • Multi-director access to the account. All directors who are registered on Companies House can access the business account, but not third parties – for example, your accountant or other team members.
  • Freeze, unlock or cancel your card through the app.
  • Free UK bank transfers (£25,000 limit per transaction).
  • International transfers to 39 countries, for a fee.
  • Free ATM withdrawals. Up to six withdrawals per day with a £300 daily limit.
  • Deposit cash at the Post Office for a 0.7% fee (£3 minimum).
  • Deposit cheques up to £500 through the app. Sole traders can deposit four cheques a week through the app and business accounts can deposit 10 a week. Cheques over £500 can be sent and deposited via post.
  • Upload and store digital receipts.
  • Categorise spending.
  • Schedule payments, direct debits and standing orders.
  • Payment notifications and reminders.
  • Saving Spaces to help you work towards saving goals, such as tax payments or a large purchase.
  • Integration with accounting software programmes including Xero, QuickBooks and Free Agent.
  • Integration with other third-party tools and services, such as payment platforms Zettle and SumUp.
  • 24/7 support via phone, app, email
  • No fees for using your card abroad (although you may face local fees and other charges).

The paid Business Toolkit account offers further services, which can help you to stay on top of your bookkeeping and tax responsibilities. For example, you can:

  • Create and send custom invoices and match them to payments.
  • Record and submit VAT returns through Making Tax Digital (MTD).
  • Get an estimate of your tax bill for sole traders who pay via self-assessment.
  • View and schedule bill payments.

» MORE: Is a free business bank account right for me?

How does Starling compare to other digital banks?

The table below compares Starling to other digital banking providers.

Tide Starling Cashplus CountingUp Mettle Anna Revolut Card One Money Acorn Fair Everywhere Monzo
FCA regulated Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
FSCS protection Yes (with ClearBank) Yes Yes No No No No No No No Yes
Licensed bank No Yes Yes No No No No No No No Yes
Free UK transfers No (20p per transfer) Yes Yes (with limits) No (30p per transfer) Yes Yes (with top-tier plan) Yes (with limits) No No No Yes
Cash deposits Yes (for a fee) Yes (0.7% fee, min £3) Yes (0.3% fee) Yes (for a fee) Yes No No Yes (for a fee) Yes (for a fee) Yes (for a fee) Yes (£1 fee)
Free ATM withdrawals No (£1 fee) Yes No (£2 fee) No (£1 fee) Yes Yes (with top-tier plan) No (2% fee) No (£1.50 fee) No (£1.50 fee) No (£1.50 fee) Yes
Integration with accounting software Yes Yes Yes Yes (built-in) Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
International transfers No Yes Inbound only Yes (through a partner) No Yes Yes Yes Yes? Yes Outbound only
Create and send invoices Coming soon Yes (for a fee) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes (with paid account)

Source: NerdWallet, April 2022

What do Starling customer reviews say?

Many customers have left positive reviews and ratings for Starling. On Trustpilot, Starling has received 4.3 stars from almost 28,000 reviews.

On Google Play it has 4.4 stars from over 77,000 reviews, while on the Apple Store it has an excellent 4.9 star rating from over 312,000 reviews.

This information was correct as of 29 April 2022.

» MORE: Do I need a business bank account?

Starling conclusion

Starling is a popular and respected bank that offers a good range of services to businesses. The four-time winner of Best British Bank at the British Bank Awards from 2018 to 2021, Starling also won Best Business Banking Provider at the 2021 ceremony, which indicates the quality of its business accounts.

If you don’t mind conducting all of your business banking online and on your mobile phone, then Starling may be an option for you. Through the app, you can manage your accounts from anywhere, whether you want to transfer money, upload a photo of a receipt, or categorise your spending so you have greater visibility over your finances.

Unlike some other banks, Starling doesn’t charge for UK bank transfers and offers a good range of features with its free account, which may be sufficient for many businesses. But if you want more services to help with invoicing and bookkeeping, then you can pay to upgrade your account.

With its multi-currency accounts, Starling may also be an appealing option if you regularly need to make and receive payments from abroad.

Make sure you research Starling and compare it to other business bank accounts to find the right kind of account for your business.

» COMPARE: Business accounts

Starling Bank Business Accounts FAQs

What is Starling business banking?

Starling was founded in 2014 by Anne Boden. It is one of the new digital banking providers, which were created to compete with the long-standing high-street banks. These are typically called challenger banks.

Starling began by offering personal current accounts and then expanded to offer business accounts in 2018. Sole traders and limited companies can make use of Starling’s business accounts, with over 400,000 businesses banking with Starling at the time of writing.

Starling’s headquarters are in London and it has offices in Southampton, Cardiff and Dublin.

Is Starling a bank?

Yes, Starling is a fully-licensed and regulated bank.

Is my money safe with Starling?

Yes. Starling is a trusted provider that is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

You can also rest easy that your money is protected in a Starling bank account. As Starling is a licensed bank, your deposits are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means, if Starling went bust, you would get back any money held in your account, up to a maximum of £85,000.

How does a Starling business account work?

A Starling business bank account works like any other bank account. You can use it for all the basic banking services your business is likely to need, including making and receiving payments online, depositing and withdrawing cash, and using a debit card for purchases.

Starling business accounts have other useful tools to help you manage your business finances, including integration with accounting platforms, digital receipts, and spaces to put money aside for specific savings goals. For certain functions, such as depositing cash, you may need to pay some account fees.

You can pay to upgrade your account and access more invoicing and bookkeeping features.

Does Starling bank have an app?

Yes, Starling is a digital bank so it can only be accessed online or through its mobile app. You can download the app from Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Starling’s app allows you to manage your business finances wherever you are, whether you want to make a payment, check your accounts, or freeze your debit card.

» MORE: Pros and cons of mobile banking

Who can open a Starling business bank account?

Freelancers, sole traders and limited companies can open a business bank account with Starling.

If you’re a sole trader, you will need to pass Starling’s eligibility checks and provide evidence of your business.

A limited company, Limited Liability Partnership, or Community Interest Company (CIC) can open a business account, subject to passing Starling’s eligibility checks. You will need to be registered on Companies House, and all company directors need to be individuals living in the UK.

Starling won’t accept applications from businesses in certain industries, including gambling, money lending, pensions, and more. You can see the full list of prohibited activities in Starling’s terms and conditions.

How can I open a Starling business account?

To open a Starling business account, you will need to download the mobile app. Once you have done this, Starling will ask for some personal details, including your name, address, date of birth, and contact information. To verify your identity, you’ll need to send Starling a photo of your ID and record a short video of yourself.

Starling will also want to know about your business to check that you are eligible to open an account. It may ask for documents as proof, such as bank statements or signed contracts. As part of the setting-up process, Starling will carry out a soft credit check. This won’t affect your credit score.

» MORE: How to open an online business bank account

Can I open multiple business accounts with Starling?

You can open multiple business accounts with Starling, as long as you meet their eligibility criteria and the accounts are for separate businesses.

If you’re a sole trader, you can only have a maximum of two accounts. These have to be for separate businesses and, to open a second account, you need to be aged 25 or older.

About the author:

Rhiannon is a financial writer for NerdWallet, with a particular interest in personal finance and insurance guides for consumers. Read more

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