Starling Business Account Review

Ileana Ionescu
Freddie Larkins
Last updated
August 4, 2023

From the traditional banking days to the modern world of fintech, Starling Bank has been revolutionising how U.K. businesses access and manage their money for nearly a decade.

With a range of features designed for entrepreneurs and small business owners, this innovative digital bank promises an easier way to save, spend, and manage financial transactions. But does it deliver? Read on for a comprehensive review of the Starling Bank business account.

Learn more about Starling Business

Verdict: A great option for small businesses

Starling Bank offers a comprehensive suite of features, including the ability to easily manage payroll, track invoices and payments, and connect with third-party accounting software systems. The user experience is top-notch, with an intuitive user interface and a customer service team available 24/7.

One drawback is that the bank currently only offers its business accounts to U.K.-based businesses, so if you’re an international company or have a presence outside of the U.K., Starling Bank may not be for you.

Pros and cons

The Starling Bank business account has several key features designed to help you succeed.


  • Real-time notifications on transactions. Get instant updates whenever money comes in or out of your account.

  • Accessible mobile app. Manage all aspects of your business finances from anywhere using the Starling Bank app.

  • Easy integration with other business tools. Connect your accounting software for seamless management of financial transactions

While Starling Bank is a great option for many businesses, it does have some downsides.


  • No physical branches. Although you can access your account 24/7 via the mobile app, there are no physical branches for in-person support

  • Soft credit check. Unlike some competitors, Starling does perform a soft credit check when opening a business account.

About Starling

Business customers520,000
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
CEOAnne Boden (2014 - present)
Revenue (2022)£600,000,000

Starling Bank is a digital-only bank based in the U.K., offering business and personal accounts. Founded in 2014 by CEO Anne Boden, the company has since gained widespread recognition for its innovative approach to banking, with an emphasis on easy access and transparency.

With a mission to “give people a fairer, smarter and more human alternative to the banks of the past," Starling Bank is quickly becoming one of the top digital banks in the U.K. – representing a whopping 8.9% share of the SME market.

Learn more about Starling Business

Who is eligible to open a Starling business account?

In order to open a Starling Bank business account, you must be able to meet their eligibility criteria. Some of these criteria include having an active U.K.-registered company, not having been/being bankrupt, or subject to any insolvency proceedings.

You will need to register with HMRC in order to hold an account, as well as pass Starling's eligibility checks (determined partially by looking at credit data).

Limited Companies

If you are a limited company, you will need to provide proof of your company status (such as your company’s house number or registration certificate). You must also provide the details of the person with ultimate control over the business (known as "Person with Significant Control" or "PSC").

Sole Traders

If you are a sole trader, you will need to provide evidence of this such as an invoice or trading agreement. You must also show that your business is registered for Self Assessment and have an active UTR number.

Starling also offers a free Sole Trader Account specifically designed for entrepreneurs that need help managing their complicated finances.


If you are a freelancer, you will need to provide evidence of your business activities. This could include invoices or proof that you have been tradin

What details do you need to open a business account with Starling?

If you are eligible to open a business account with Starling, you will need to provide a copy of your government-issued ID (or other document proving name and address). Additionally, you may be asked to provide one or more of the following:

  • Signed agreements/contracts

  • Proof of membership to an industry body

  • Qualifications, registrations or licences

  • A decision in principle/solicitor documentation

  • Proof of property ownership/land registry documents

  • Lease agreement

  • Bank statements

You may also need to provide proof that your business is registered with HMRC. The exact documents needed will depend on your specific circumstances.

Will Starling do a credit check?

Yes, Starling Bank does conduct credit checks when assessing eligibility for a business account. Your credit score will be taken into account when making the decision as to whether or not to open an account with them.

This is standard practice for all banks and financial institutions in the U.K., so it’s best to make sure you have a good credit history before applying.

How long does it take to open an account?

The application process can be done from the convenience of the Starling Bank app, and takes roughly 5-10 minutes. Once your application has been submitted, Starling Bank will review all the information you have provided. The process typically takes around 24 hours but can take up to 4 working days in some cases.

In compliance with FCA requirements, Starling Bank reported that on average:

  • 86% of all customers received their account number the same day

  • 99% of customers received their account number within 4 days

You'll likely have full access to your business account within a short timeframe, but even if there are complications, Starling Bank's customer service line is open 24/7.

Check your eligibility for Starling

Starling reviews

Trustpilot4.3 / 5 (30,000 reviews)
Finder4.2 / 5 (175 reviews)
SmartMoneyPeople4.9 / 5 (5,000 reviews)
Google Play4.7 / 5 (98,000 reviews)
App Store4.9/5 (403,964 reviews)

Taken together, Starling has an average rating of 4.8 / 5 across four review platforms and 537,139 reviews.

Awards and recognition

Starling Bank has been widely recognised for its efforts to revolutionise the banking sector, having won numerous awards.

Along with being voted Britain’s Best Current Account Provider in 2022, it was also named one of Europe's Top 10 most innovative companies by Forbes in 2020.

Other awards include:

  • Best Business Banking Provider: 2019-2021

  • Best British Bank: 2018-2021

  • Best Banking App: 2021

Main features

The Starling Business account has several features designed to make your life easier as a business owner.

Mobile App

The Starling Bank app is straightforward to use and has positive reviews on Google Play and the App Store. . You can easily transfer money between accounts, access transaction histories, and set up automated payments for bills. The app also allows you to make international payments in over 30 currencies with competitive exchange rates.


Starling Bank also offers a payroll service that makes it easy to manage employee salaries, bonuses, and expenses.

You can set up recurring payments as well as one-off transfers with the click of a button – perfect for freelancers or businesses without dedicated HR staff.

Smart Spending Patterns & Insights 

With the Starling Business Insights feature, you can get real-time insights into where your money is going – helping you identify inefficient spending patterns and uncover new opportunities for cost savings. This feature is particularly useful if you’re looking for ways to grow your business or reduce costs in certain areas of expenditure.

Card Payments

The Card Payments feature allows you to accept card payments from customers around the world – ideal if you’re looking to expand internationally or increase revenue from online sales channels. All transactions are processed quickly and securely via Stripe, with funds deposited directly into your account within 24 hours.

Easy Bank Transfers

Bank transfers are made easy through Starling Bank. You can transfer up to £250,000 to anywhere in the U.K., with no fee required. Starling also offers international transfers to 36 other countries, for a small fee of 1% (minimum of £0.45).

Business Toolkit

In addition to a well-supported business bank account, Starling also offers their Business Toolkit: a suite of tools designed to help you manage your finances more effectively.

At a rate of £7 a month, you can access invoicing tools, accounts payable and receivable tracking, and automatic bookkeeping capabilities. The toolkit also includes a customer relationship management system to help you keep track of customer details and orders.

If you're unsure whether the Business Toolkit is right for your SME, Starling Bank offers a 30-day free trial so you can explore the features and decide if it's worth the investment.

Learn more about Starling Business

Integrations with the Starling Business account

Starling Bank integrates with a range of third-party accounting and invoicing software, allowing you to easily manage your business finances from one place. These systems can be automatically connected to your Starling Bank account for no fee, allowing for seamless two-way data flow.


The QuickBooks integration with Starling Bank allows you to easily link your accounts and manage your transactions with ease. You can view and track payments, reconcile accounts, and manage invoices from within the QuickBooks platform.


The Xero integration with Starling Bank enables you to manage your accounts and transactions in one place, without having to manually enter data. Importing data from your bank account into Xero requires minimal effort, so you can view and track payments, reconcile accounts, and manage invoices in no time.


The FreeAgent integration allows you to easily track expenses, create invoices, and manage transactions. With the click of a button, you can sync your Starling Bank account with FreeAgent to ensure your financial data is up to date.

See all integrations

Rates and Fees

Business account holders will find competitive rates and fees with Starling Bank. Below is a list of the fees that you can expect to pay (or avoid paying):

Monthly account feesFree
Domestic bank transfersFree
International bank transfers1%
Using the debit card abroadFree
Cash depositsFree for < £1000, 0.7% fee for > £1000
ATM withdrawals (UK)Free
Cheques in/outFree
Savings accountYes (Fixed Saver account)
Interest rate (AER)0% AER

For business account holders interested in earning money back on their deposits, Starling has a Fixed Saver account to suit your needs. With a competitive interest rate of 3.25%, you can save anywhere from £2,000 to £1,000,000 in this account and start earning money back on your deposits.

How safe is Starling?

The bank is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and registered with the Prudential Regulation Authority. This means that all customer funds are kept safe and secure in accordance with U.K. banking regulations and laws.

Starling also makes use of sophisticated encryption technology to ensure your data remains private and secure at all times.

Here are some of the additional safety features Starling employs to keep your money safe:

FSCS protection

Because of its licensure, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme protects funds in all of Starling Bank's customer accounts. Deposits are insured up to £85,000, making them safe even in the event of a bank failure.

Two-factor authentication

Every time you log in to your account, Starling requires a two-factor authentication process. This means that even if someone were to gain access to your credentials, they would still need access to your mobile device or another form of verification before being able to make any changes or transactions.

Fraud protection

Various fraud protection measures have been implemented for safety, including transaction notifications and SMS alerts. This allows you to be notified of any suspicious activity on your account, so you can act quickly to protect your funds.

Biometric verification

Operating primarily online allows Starling to take advantage of many features associated with smartphones. Biometric authentication is just one more measure Starling has for its business accounts, allowing you to securely access your account with a touch of your finger or face.

Card control

With Starling Bank, you can control when and where your debit card is used. You have the ability to set spending limits for different types of transactions, such as ATM withdrawals or online purchases. If your card has been lost or stolen,  you can also disable it from anywhere in the world – allowing for greater peace of mind.

For more information on how Starling Bank is protecting your money and sensitive information, see here.

Starling customer support

One of Starling Bank's greatest strengths is its customer service, which is available to all account holders 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Telephone: 0207 930 4450

Chat: Available through app

Email: [email protected]

The bank's customer service team is also able to assist you through Starling Bank's various social media pages, found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Loans and overdrafts

Starling Bank provides loans and overdrafts to businesses that meet the bank's eligibility criteria. The loan terms are competitive and support a range of business needs, ranging from £10,000 up to £250,000.

Overdrafts are also available for those who qualify. Accruing daily, Starling offers interest rates of 15%, 25% and 35% EAR to business account holders and charges on the 15th of every month.

Bulk payments

A recent addition to the business account' features is the ability to make bulk payments to multiple recipients. Users can easily upload a CSV file with the relevant payee details, and Starling Bank will do the rest.

This feature is especially useful for businesses that need to make multiple payments on a regular basis. There is a limit per month, however, of 250 payments/line entries across all bulk payment files uploaded.

Sending money abroad

Through the Starling app, you can make secure international bank transfers to 37 countries worldwide. The company will charge a 0.4% transfer fee to the currency conversion and includes a delivery fee based on your choice of two methods.

Priority delivery with SWIFT

For direct bank-to-bank transfers, Starling uses the SWIFT network to transfer money internationally. This includes a flat £5.50 delivery fee in addition to the 0.4% transfer fee.

Local network payment

If the money doesn’t need to arrive right away, Starling also offers a low-cost option that leverages local partners. The delivery fee can be as low as £0.30 but varies depending on the currency involved.

The downside of the low-cost transfer is that it takes a little longer, and Starling cannot guarantee a recall if a mistake is made. It is still subject to the 0.4% transfer fee.

Receiving money from abroad

For international businesses, Starling offers the ability to add EUR and USD details to your account for a small monthly fee (£2 and £5, respectively). This allows you to receive payments in these currencies from abroad and offers a few notable features:

  • 24/7 account transfers: You can transfer money between GBP and other currencies anytime.

  • Multiple currency debit card: Your business debit card can pay the applicable currency for foreign transactions.

  • Secured deposits: All eligible deposits are backed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to £85,000, or the equivalent in the respective currency.

Though it is currently limited to EUR and USD, Starling is also working to bring 21 other foreign currency accounts to offer.

Alternatives to the Starling business account

Starling Bank's limited international capabilities can be a major drawback for businesses not based in the U.K. If you’re looking for an alternative to Starling Bank, there are a handful of other digital banks that offer business accounts.

Wise business account

With branches in the U.K., Europe, and North America, Wise is an attractive option for businesses that need to manage their finances across multiple countries. The business account offers compatibility with over 170 countries and 53 currencies, to make for easier international payments.

Wise also offers its powerful API which enables you to integrate with you business and accounting tools for a more efficient workflow. You'll be able to manage your finances from one place and get real-time insights into your cash flow.

Why it’s a good alternative: The Wise business account offers more international services than Starling, ideal for businesses that need to manage their money across multiple countries.

Learn more about Wise Business

First Direct business account

First Direct is a traditional brick-and-mortar bank in the U.K., offering its customers access to a range of business accounts and immediate, in-person assistance. Customers can open multiple local and international accounts with ease, as well as regular saver accounts that earn 7% AER.

There are also no foreign exchange fees for transactions made in GBP or EURO – making it an attractive option if your business needs to make international payments frequently.

Why it’s a good alternative: For those who prefer dealing with traditional banks, First Direct is a great option as you can access their services online or over the phone. They provide more comprehensive coverage than Starling, so if you plan on doing business outside of the U.K., First Direct may be worth considering.

Learn more about First Direct


Starling Bank is a formidable digital bank, boasting an impressive track record of awards and recognition. With its comprehensive suite of features, competitive rates and fees, and 24/7 customer service line - it's no wonder why Starling Bank's business accounts have become so popular among U.K.-based businesses over the last decade.


How much does the Starling business account cost?

Starling Bank offers a range of business account options, including a free business account and a paid account called the Business Toolkit. The Business Toolkit costs £7 per month and includes additional features such as invoicing, tax management, and integration with accounting software.

Is Starling safe?

Starling is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), and deposits up to £85,000 are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Additionally, Starling Bank uses advanced security measures, such as biometric authentication and encryption, to protect customer data and prevent fraud.

Does Starling have a mobile app?

Yes, Starling Bank has a mobile app available for iOS and Android devices. The app allows customers to manage their accounts, make payments, view transactions, and access other banking services. The app has received positive reviews from users for its user-friendly interface and convenient features.

Check out our other reviews

Researching all the options available to you as a business person is vital to making the right decision. Our expert team has written in-depth reviews of various business accounts and platforms - check them out below: