July 3, 2021

Starling bank busines

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Starling Bank Business account review 2021

A lot of small business owners these days are struggling with how to manage their finances. In the past, most would use an online bank account or a savings account for day-to-day expenses and then have one or two credit cards to cover more significant purchases. 

But in recent years, new challenger banks like Starling have emerged that offer different ways of managing money.

In this Starling Bank Business account review, we will discuss everything this challenger bank has to offer and if you should switch from your high street bank.


Summary of Starling Business Bank Review:

starling business account logo

Step in to the the future with Starling and their flag ship business account, offering more than competitive features for free. 

Key  Features:

  • Wide range of business bank accounts 
  • Free business banking
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Free to use your card abroad 


Customer Service

Ease of Use


What is Starling business banking?

The business account is an online banking service that Starling Bank created. The business bank accounts is just one of the products provided to customers who are running small businesses.

Starling launched its business proposition in 2018, making it one of the first mobile banks to offer business banking.

The business banking philosophy offers free, uncomplicated, and quick business banking with no fees to open.

With a business account, you can open it from your mobile phone in just 10 minutes, making it an excellent option for small business owners who don't have time to go to the bank and fill out many forms!

Is Starling bank legitimate?

Starling Bank is a UK bank company with headquarters in London. Founded in 2016 by Anne Boden and granted its Banking license by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on 25 March 2018, making it one of only six companies that have been granted this license for mobile phone-based financial services.

Here are some facts about Starling bank accounts that back up that they are legitimate: 

  • Winner of Best British bank by British Bank Awards, not once but three times! In 2018, 2019, and 2020.
  • The bank also carries a 4.4 excellent rating on Trust pilot with over 22,000 reviews. 
  • It is listed on companies house. See Companies house listing
  • Bank license by the FCA meaning any money invested is protected up to £85,000. It is a regulated bank just like any other high street bank minus the branches. Learn more about services compensation scheme FSCS. 
  • Best business banking winner 
  • Starling offers personal account as well as business

Related article: The 5 best digital banks in the UK

Is Starling Bank Legitimate, picture of founder starling bank Anne Bowden

Anne Boden, Founder

Is Starling Bank's business account safe?

Starling Bank says keeping your money and personal details safe is its most significant priority. It uses 3D secure when users are making purchases online. Instant notifications allow you to check for fraudulent activity on your account.

In-app allows you to stop anyone accessing your account should it be lost or stolen. In addition, your money is protected up to £85,000 with the services compensation scheme FSCS.

If you are worried about fraud you can also instantly freeze your MasterCard debit card and details by using the app.

Is Starling free business account good?

Starling offers many benefits tailored to the type of company you have, making it a perfect account for businesses. And it's good to note that the monthly fee for a business is free!  

There are also multi-currency accounts that are perfect for businesses that deal in multiple currencies, which we go through later in this article.

Here are the different accounts offered:

- Sole Trader 

- Limited Company

- Multi-currency

Sole Traders account benefits include:

Key benefits include:

  •  No monthly fee - Yes it's free if you don't add on any extras.
  • Automate your expenses: The app makes it easy for you to complete self-assessment tax returns by putting your spending into categories.
  • In the app- You can create spaces to put aside and separate things like Taxes or business trips, so you are always keeping an eye on your business expenses. It's also easy to get access to your information should you need it i.e. account number.
  • Cash and cheque deposits - You might be wondering how you get money in when there are no branches. Well, no need to worry, it is easy you can do it at the Post Office. You can quickly deposit cash and cheques (under £500) at your local Post Office branch.

Instant payment notifications:

See how much money you have instantly via your mobile device or by logging on to the website. You will also get instant payment alerts, so very easy to keep track of your bills and payments.

Connect business tools

If you use tools like Xero, Quickbooks, or Free Agent, it's straightforward to connect your account through their marketplace seamlessly.

24/7 UK support

UK-based support team there to give you advice whenever you need it.

Overdraft facility available

 - Subject to acceptance, charged at 15% AER.

Easy receipt capture

You can easily capture receipts in your app as you go making accounting a lot easier!

Zero currencies fees if abroad

 this is a significant benefit compared to other banks. Free ATM withdrawals abroad.

Limited Company Business Bank benefits include:

  • Competitive overdraft is available, subject to eligibility.
  • Pay people in the app; no chip and pin needed. You can pay people right from the app.
  • Multi-director access - If you have more than one director and are registered at the company's house, they can be added for access to the business bank account.
  • Receipt capture - easy to keep your books in order by adding receipts to your purchases in the app by just taking a picture!
  • Transfer money abroad with no hidden fees to 38 countries worldwide.
  • Pay via MasterCard debit card or apple pay, google pay on your phone.
  • Are you worried about depositing cash or cheques?

    It's super easy; you can deposit some money at any local post office for a 0.3% fee (£3 minimum fee), and cheques under £500 can be deposited right in the app! For cheques over £500, post them into Starling.

    Instant payment notifications

    See how much money you have instantly via your mobile device or by logging on to the website. You will also get instant payment alerts, so very easy to keep track of your bills and payments.

    Spend Manager app

    Makes it easier for you to track your business spending and stay on top of things with automated categorisation features! See everything including spending and direct debits.

    You can easily integrate with primary accounting

    tools like Xero, Free agent, and Quickbooks with Starling bank account marketplace.

    Multicurrency accounts

    Starling allows you to hold a US Dollar or Euro account as an addition to your existing, these are charged as add on.

    Euro account £2 a month

    If you operate in the EU, a euro account could be a good idea. For this type of account, you pay £2 a month. For this charge, on top of the benefits of a standard business bank accounts, you can:

    • Exchange and hold euros
    • Use a single debit card to manage your EUR and GBP currencies.
    • Secure transactions: The euro business bank account comes complete with its unique IBAN. And because Starling is a fully licensed bank, all your eligible deposits are covered to £85,000 (or equivalent) by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
    • Transfer money between your GBP and EUR accounts 24/7, even at the weekends. You'll always see the exchange rate before the conversion is made, so you have the option to wait until Monday morning.

    US Dollar £5 a month

    If you want to send and receive US dollar then this additional add on could be right for you. Here is what you get for £5 a month:

    • Hold and receive US currency with transparent rates
    • Use your regular business card; no need to faff around with two.
    • Your business USD bank account will come with its unique account number as well as an ACH routing number. And because it is a fully licensed bank, all your eligible deposits are covered to £85,000 (or equivalent) by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
    • Same day payments: Transfer payments to the US same day via ACH (up to $25,000)

    Good to know: The Euro and US accounts do not come with a separate debit card. Instead, the accounts are attached to your Business bank account. However, the different currency balances are separated in the app. You also get the advantage of a great exchange rate. 

    Starling Business banking Card - What do you get?

    Starling business mastercard debit card

    Starling business comes with a Starling business debit card in the form of a MasterCard.

    The business debit card is a simple way to get cash at an ATM, make purchases, or withdraw from your bank account for free in over 25 countries worldwide.

    It's also compatible with Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung pay.

    The business debit card is designed to offer a secure way for you to spend your money without ever having to carry cash or worry about fraud.

    If you happen to misplace your card (but are not sure whether it was stolen or if it's just somewhere tucked away, like on the sofa), you can simply lock your account via a toggle in the app. Once you find it again and unlock it, it will be ready and waiting for action 24/7.

    In addition, the Starling app gives you options to block specific types of transactions like card machines or online payments, ATM withdrawals, mobile wallet payments, and swipe cards.

    When you switch on location-based fraud protection, the app uses your card's location to determine if transactions are fraudulent, thereby preventing any potentially compromised transactions.

    Starling Banking app

    You can use the banking app on all Android devices, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The app has all the functions you need to use to manage your account. The user experience is polished and easy to use.

    Customer support is always available directly from the app. It's easy to switch accounts to Starling with the ability to wirelessly connect with someone else nearby to get paid by them.

    There is also an online banking platform accessed in a web browser, but this has fewer features than the mobile app. Starling is also developing a desktop banking platform, but some admin tasks are easier on a desktop computer.

    Here's what you can do in the app:

    Lock or freeze your card

    If you've ever lost or had your card stolen, you know how scary the experience is. You don't need to worry about scrambling around searching for your bank's phone number. If this happens with a Starling card, all you need to do is open up your app, tap the card, and lock the card. You can do it in seconds!

    Instant payment notifications

    Keep track of your business with instant payment notifications—a year-round view of your transactions and account balances. Also good to see any upcoming direct debits from the scheduled tab.

    Spending insights

    Get a detailed picture of your spending with account insights. You can track anything from everyday expenses to employee card use all in one place.

    What's more, Starling's app also breaks it down into categories for you to easily see where your money is going.

    Spaces feature - keeping your tax in check

    The Spaces feature is genuinely helpful in working towards goals. You can allocate money for individual things you want to save money for, e.g. tax bills, or the loans you have.

    A card with a round-up feature lets you automatically save money from your main balance by rounding up each transaction to the nearest pound, sending surplus pennies to an allocated goal.

    The money set aside is not visible in your account balance or bank card, but it still exists in the account you created. This way, you do not need to touch the deposited funds while using your debit card, and it becomes easy to see how much you are allowed to spend without adding the desired amount into the main app.

    You can always transfer money from Spaces back to your main balance.

    Business loans and overdrafts - fee free?

    Of course, all loans and overdrafts have a fee but Starling's are very competitive.

    The following criteria usually apply for a business overdraft:

    • You must have traded for at least 18 months.
    • The sole trader/your business and all directors and partners should have a good credit history (i.e. no arrears or defaults)
    • The sole trader or directors are over 18 years old.
    • For a Limited Company or Limited Liability Partnership, all directors and partners must also be willing to provide a personal guarantee.

    Limited companies can get a larger overdraft than sole traders. With limited companies up to 250k and sole traders up to 10k.

    The interest rate for limited businesses is 5-15% EAR, depending on the assessment of your company by Starling. The interest rates for sole traders are 10 or 15%.

    Starling Bank charges a setup fee of 1.5% (minimum £50) for an overdraft limit that is agreed upon before the year begins and charged annually in advance on April 15th, as well as charging interest daily at 10%. It also allows changing this overdraft limit with ease by using their handy slider to customize how much you want available or unavailable when your balance goes below zero.

    Starling Business Loans

    The loans on offer are between £5,000 and £250,000 for a term of 1-5 years. Loans with monthly repayments can be up to 7% APR or fixed repayment amount depending on the loan size. Loan applications are reviewed by real people rather than automated algorithms.

    It's best to get the latest up to date information from Starling as of the time of writing they are only offering government-backed loans due to the COVID pandemic.

    Starling Bank review - From others

    Before you go with Starling business, you want to know that other people have had a good experience. After all, it is a vital decision who to trust your business with.

    Here is a bit of reassurance that starling accounts mean business:

    Trust Pilot

    review of Starling business bank

    Trustpilot reviews are a good indicator of what people think about Starling, as you have to make verified purchases to review. As of writing, there are over 20 thousand reviews with an average rating of 4.4 stars.

    To provide you with an idea of the number and quality of reviews that Starling has received compared to other major banks, I analysed all the banks featured on Trust Pilot. Not only does Starling rank at the top of both overall ratings and review count, but it also features a wide variety of card options for small business owners like you.

    Like any other financial institution, customer reviews indicate the service is not perfect for everyone, but not (we think) to an alarming extent.

    The negative reviews are about different issues that look like they have individual causes rather than a pattern of serious problems indicating systemic faults with the bank.

    Several businesses open a new account and are unhappy with providing various documents to verify their company.

    We noticed some cases of frozen accounts or payments in response to suspicious transactions. Banks commonly apply security protocols to keep their accounts safe, so this is not unusual to see in banking reviews.

    Looking at TrustPilot, we see that Starling responds to individual complaints promptly with thoughtful responses, showing they are taking their service seriously.

    Starling has won awards

    is starling bank legitmate for business

    Starling Bank won the 'Best British Bank' award alongside 'Best Current Account Provider' and Finder have awarded Starling for innovation and recognised that 97% of the customers they surveyed would recommend Starling Business. 

    Starling bank business vs other Business accounts

    Compared to other high street banks, Starling does fulfil its reputation as being one of the challenger banks.

    Being free and having tons of easy-to-use benefits, the Starling bank business account does give you a lot to go for.

    See below how the Starling bank business account compares with high street banks and other challenger banks:

    Vs Challenger banks

    Monthly fee

    Regulated Bank & FCSC protected

    Overdraft Facility 

    Trust Pilot Rating


    Free ATM withdrawal

    Starling Business








    Related Article: Monzo vs Starling

    VS high street banks business accounts

    Monthly fee

    Free UK Transfers 

    Overdraft Facility 

    Trust Pilot Rating**


    Free ATM withdrawal

    Starling Business



    Free for 18 months then £6.50 a month


    Free for 12 months then £6 a month


    Free for 18 months

    Based on basic accounts. All high street banks are regulated so no need to include in the comparision. 

    **Trust pilot rating based on the business, some of the banks haven't claimed their accounts. 

    Related article: Monzo vs Revolut

    Is Starling bank good for business?

    As mentioned above, Starling free business account is packed with features that make it very good for business. For sole traders and Limited companies, its benefits outweigh a lot of the competition.

    A few of the features which I think make Starling great for business are:

    • No monthly fees: Starling doesn't charge an opening fee or any monthly fees making it perfect for start-ups and small businesses.
    • 24/7 customer support - Starling has 24/seven customer care, and Starling's have confirmed that Starling is also open on bank holidays. Meaning it's a bank that does revolve around you! Compare this to a traditional high street bank where you have to work around their hours.
    • Powerful money management tools: The account comes with powerful money management tools, including budgeting features for new starters and more experienced business people, which offer much value to businesses.
    • Automated business spending categorisation: Starling Bank also offers automated business spending categorisation, which is excellent for many different suppliers. You are making it easy to see where your money has gone.
    • No fees abroad: Starling bank doesn't charge any fees when using a Starling card overseas, meaning you save all the time and none of the hassle.
    • Integrate your accounting software into your bank easily via the starling app.

    Optional Starling Bank extras:

    Starling business toolkit

    The business account starling toolkit is an optional add-on. It will help you stay on top of your tax, invoices and bills with powerful money management tools, including budgeting features from as little as £7 monthly fees.

    Related Article: Best Budgeting App UK

    If you hate admin, these handy little add-ons could be perfect. Starling business toolkit keeps you on track by providing a nice-to-do list, so you always keep on top of your business admin.

    What do you get with the business toolkit?

    • Invoice automating: manage from your desktop when you get paid simply match your invoices in a single click.

    • Email linking: You can link your Google, Outlook or Hotmail to your business toolkit so that you can issue invoices directly from your bank account

    • HMRC Tax estimation: perfect for sole traders, you can estimate your self-employed tax and then use the spaces feature to set aside the money, meaning you are much less likely to get caught out.
    • For limited companies, the record VAT on transaction feature is excellent to work out your VAT return.
    • MTD VAT submission you can connect your account to HMRC and submit your VAT return through making tax digital

    Is Starling bank account for business free?

    For a regular account with no added extras, the Starling account is free.

    Extra fees are listed below but are optional.


    Limited Company 

    Sole Trader

    Monthly fee



    Business Toolkit

    £7 a month

    £7 a month

    Overdraft interest rate

    5%, 10%, 15%

    15% EAR

    Sending Money in the UK

    Free if sent by direct debit, standing order or faster payment

    Free if sent by direct debit, standing order or faster payment

    Depositing money

    £3 charge up to £1000. 0.3% of the amount £1000 and above

    £3 charge up to £1000. 0.3% of the amount £1000 and above

    Sending money outside the UK

    Charged at a exchange rate (shown in app)

    Charged at a exchange rate (shown in app)

    Euro Add on

    £2 a month

    £2 a month

    US dollar add on

    £5 a month

    £5 a month

    How to apply for a Starling Bank Business Account

    To open a free Starling account is easy. You just need to have a good phone signal, some documents to hand, and 10 minutes to spare.

    Starling bank business account eligibility

    You're eligible for a Starling account if you meet the following requirements:

    For a Sole trader account:

    • UK resident
    • Documents to support the nature of your business could include bank statements, accountant's letters, invoices, qualifications.
    • Identity verification, options include passport, UK driving license, UK residence card

    For limited company accounts, it's a little more specific:

    • Must be registered at Companies house
    • All directors to be UK residents
    • The business must not be a holdings company, dissolved in liquidation, or engage in any activities.
    • Meet fraud checks

    Starling bank business account application process

    The process to open an account is very easy all you need is.

    Set up starling business account

    Once your account is set up, you can start transacting the same day, even before your card arrives.

    Starling business current account with bad credit

    Even if you have bad credit, it is still possible to apply for a Starling Business account as long as you have not been involved in any fraudulent activity.

    Pros and Cons of Starling's business account


    • Fee-free set up fee
    • Easy to use the app with lots of time and money-saving features
    • No monthly fee
    • Available to sole traders and limited companies
    • Easy to deposit cash at the Post Office
    • Lots of different business account options to suit different needs
    • Easy to set up and apply (no need to book an appointment)
    • Regulated bank so you can feel sure your money is secure
    • Easy online banking
    • 24/7 customer support
    • Cash and cheques support


    • No physical branches should you want to see someone in person
    • No interest in a positive balance
    • UK bank only
    • Charge for depositing cash at Post Office


    For the majority of businesses Starling is an excellent fit. With its free banking facility and fantastic app it makes banking both convenient and super easy!

    Review of Starling business banking account: Bottom line

    If you're a small business owner with limited time to spend on managing your finances, Starling Business might be the solution for you. With some of the best customer service in banking and no hidden fees or charges, this award-winning bank is contactable 24/7 by phone and email.

    It has been designed specifically for entrepreneurs like us who want quick solutions without sacrificing quality.

    The only question now is will you switch? Have I convinced you yet? Let me know what questions are still lingering in the comments below!

    Ready to Switch to Starling? Get a free business current account today

    Are you looking for Starling Personal current accounts? Read Starling about Starling current accounts review here.

    Starling Business bank Review FAQ

    Does Starling offer a personal account too?

    Yes, Starling also offers an award-winning current account. You can find more information about Starling's existing account in this Starling current accounts review.

    Starling business account time to open

    It takes around 10 minutes to submit your application via the mobile app. You can start the process by entering your mobile number here.

    As long as you have provided accurate details, you can get set up in some cases the same day, but this depends on demand at the time.

    Put it this way. It's still a lot quicker than booking an appointment with high street banks.

    Starling business account charges

    Although Starling is a free business account, there are some optional additional charges. A complete list of changes can be found here.

    Who can open a Starling Business account?

    Starling Business accounts require a UK resident to register with a UK phone number. Limited companies and partnerships must be registered at Companies House. Sole traders must also be registered as self-employed and self-employment. Only a 'Person of Significant Control' can open an account for a registered business. It is not possible to open an extra business account for the same business.  Click here for more details.

    How long does it take to get a Starling business account?

    This is a question that so many companies ask, and the answer to it will depend on how busy they are at any given time.

    Starling states at the moment that they have a high demand for these accounts, which is no wonder since they are free and packed with features that paid-for accounts don't have! Get started now.

    Starling business accounts interest rate

    Starling doesn't currently offer an interest rate on a sole trader or limited company business accounts.

    Does Starling's business account offer credit cards?

    Not at this time but this could be a feature in the future. 

    About the author 

    Mary Elizabeth

    Mary Elizabeth is a passionate advocate for financial freedom. She is the founder of MeMoreMoney, and a featured Personal Finance expert in GO Banking Rates and Yahoo! Finance. Mary loves to make money simple and understandable for everyone. Her goal is to help people make simple changes so that they have more money to live the way they want.

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