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Starling Bank business loans: at a glance
Starling Bank offers loans to established small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK. To be eligible, businesses must operate as either a limited company or limited liability partnership, and must have been trading for more than 24 months.
You don’t need to have a Starling Bank business account to apply for a business loan, but if you’re accepted you will have to open an account and transfer your business banking to Starling.
In addition to business loans, Starling Bank also offers business overdrafts as a form of borrowing to eligible businesses.
Learn more about how we bring you our review.
Starling Bank business loans pros & cons
- Businesses can borrow for between one and six years with a Starling unsecured business loan.
- You can contact customer service via email or secure chat through the bank’s app.
- Your business can borrow a maximum of £250,000 with a Starling unsecured loan.
- There isn’t a dedicated, over the phone helpline for business loans customers.
- There is no face-to-face support as Starling has no branches.
These pros and cons are based on an exclusive survey of UK business owners on what they found important when selecting a range of business products, conducted by NerdWallet in December 2022.
Starling Bank business loans key features
- Unsecured loans are available for limited companies and limited liability partnerships, subject to eligibility and status
- Flexible repayment terms available
- Fixed interest rate over the term of the loan, with fixed monthly payments
- There are no fees for early repayments
Starling Bank business loans full review
Starling Bank is relatively new on the British banking scene. It was founded in 2014 and takes a digital-only approach to consumer and business banking.
On the business side of things, Starling offers unsecured business loans, overdrafts and current accounts. If you’re not already a Starling customer, you’ll be asked to open a business account with them when you apply for a loan or an overdraft.
To be eligible for a Starling business loan, you need to run a limited company or limited liability partnership in the UK.
Like many lenders, Starling Bank offers a range of loan amounts and repayment periods. Its interest rates are fixed for the duration of the loan, so your monthly repayments won’t change. There is also a one-off arrangement fee, currently 4% of the loan amount, payable on the date that you receive the loan funds.
We’ve collected some key facts about Starling Bank’s business loans, displayed in the table below.
|Amount borrowable||£25,001 to £250,000|
|Term length||Between 12 and 72 months (one to six years)|
|Web-based customer service||In-app|
|UK customer service number||Yes (though applications must be made online)|
|App||Yes (iOS and Android)|
|Face-to-face customer service||No|
|Access to loan without pre-existing account||Yes (but you will need to open a Starling account on application)|
|Trustpilot rating||4.3 out of 5 (as of 14 February 2023)|
Starling Bank business loan features
The following sections include some of the key features when taking out a business loan with Starling Bank.
Loan amounts and terms
The most crucial feature of a business loan is the flexibility of term length, according to the business owners that NerdWallet surveyed. The maximum amount you could borrow seemed less important, coming in at fifth most important.
Starling offers one type of business loan with a range of term lengths and loan amounts available.
Unsecured business loans
Starling Bank only offers unsecured business loans, and you can choose your loan amount and the term length. You can borrow over a term of between 12 months and 72 months (one year to six years).
The minimum you can borrow is £25,001, and the maximum amount borrowable is £250,000.
The lender requires a ‘personal guarantee’ from someone in charge of running the business. That person would be your company’s guarantor, agreeing to pay the loan back if your business could not keep up with the loan repayments.
This is different from a secured loan, where your business would have to put up an asset as security, which could be repossessed if you failed to keep up with your repayments.
If you are considering borrowing less than £25,001, the only way to do this with Starling Bank is using a business overdraft.
You can borrow between £1,000 and £50,000 with a Starling business overdraft. This has its own eligibility criteria and is subject to a full credit assessment.
Access to customer service in a range of ways is a must-have when considering a business loan, according to NerdWallet’s survey of UK business owners. Second, third and fourth most important on the list of criteria were web-based, telephone, and app-based customer service respectively.
Starling offers customer service via email, but does not seem to have another way of accessing personalised support on its website. However, it does have a general FAQ page.
You can also get in contact with a customer service agent through the Starling banking app, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Being able to phone customer service seems important to business owners according to our survey. Starling offers a 24/7 business banking phone line, with support for business loans customers, but loan applications can only be made online.
There is no way to access face-to-face support for Starling business loans, as the bank does not have any branches. However, this seems less important for business owners looking to borrow – face-to-face customer service ranked sixth in NerdWallet’s survey.
While most business lending is unregulated, if you are a sole trader, a partnership with fewer than four partners, or an unincorporated association, lending of up to £25,000 will generally fall within Consumer Credit regulation. This means a lender must be authorised and meet the standards set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Under FCA rules, if you are one of the business types mentioned above and take out a loan of £25,000 or less, then your borrowing needs to be regulated.
However, as Starling Bank only offers business loans of £25,001 or more, and currently will only lend to limited companies or limited liability partnerships, Consumer Credit regulations do not apply to its business lending.
On Trustpilot, Starling Bank customers have rated the bank ‘Excellent’ with a score of 4.3 out of 5. This is based on over 33,000 reviews.
It’s worth noting that these reviews may be from personal customers as well as business customers across Starling Bank’s whole range of products and services, including business loans.
Its app has also received largely positive reviews:
- Google Play: 4.5 out of 5, based on over 96,300 reviews.
- Apple App Store: 4.9 out of 5, based on over 391,100 reviews.
This information is correct as of 14 February 2023.
Starling Bank business loans eligibility
To be eligible to apply for a Starling Bank business loan, you must:
- be based in the UK
- have a business that operates in the UK
- have been trading for at least 24 months
- run a limited company or limited liability partnership (LLP)
In addition, Starling Bank will assess your business’s viability as part of its overall creditworthiness evaluation, which includes credit checks on your business, its director(s) and any people of significant control (PSCs).
You can apply for a business loan without having a business account with Starling Bank, but you will be asked to open one and use Starling as your main business banking provider if you enter into a loan agreement with the lender.
How to choose a Starling Bank business loan
When considering whether to apply for a business loan with Starling Bank, you should ask yourself questions such as:
- How much do you want to borrow?
- Do you want an unsecured loan or a secured loan?
- How long a loan term do you want?
- Are you willing to offer a personal guarantee, becoming a guarantor responsible for repayments if your business defaults on the loan?
- Would you be able to move your business banking to Starling, if accepted?
It may also be worth looking into other borrowing options, such as Starling’s business overdraft, or other lenders to see if these better suit your business needs.
How to apply for a Starling Bank business loan
If your business is eligible, you can apply for a Starling Bank business loan on the lender’s website. You’ll need to be a director or partner of the business who is authorised to make decisions for the business in order to do so.
The lender will need you to provide information, such as:
- the applicant’s personal details
- details about your business, such as your business name and business type
- whether you currently have a Starling Bank business account
- your company registration number with Companies House
- why you’re applying for a business loan
- your business accounts, including your latest profit and loss statement and a balance sheet
- the previous six months’ worth of bank statements, if you don’t currently bank with Starling
You will also have to agree for the company and all its directors to undergo a credit check when your application is reviewed.
At NerdWallet Ltd UK we base our reviews on the results of surveys we conduct to understand what key product features are important to those who use them, and align them to the product we review.
Product details reflect the information that was available at that time but may have changed since. We strive to give you a review on as many products as possible but it is likely there are others available that we have not reviewed. The review is our opinion, but it does not constitute advice, recommendation or suitability of your financial circumstances.
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