Fintech bank Starling to launch business accounts

By Ryan Weeks on Wednesday 4 October 2017

Digital Banking

Starling Bank opens registration for business customers ahead of early 2018 launch.

Starling Bank has followed rival banking challenger Revolut into business banking. The fintech disruptor will target entrepreneurs, sole-traders and small business owners.

Starling is now accepting registrations from interested businesses, and will open to a group of closed testers towards the end of the year. It plans to take the product live in early 2018.

Key features of the service will include same-day set up (free of charge), round the clock customer service availability and access to Starling’s marketplace, which is comprised of an integrated array of technology services. Via the marketplace, businesses will be able to link their bank account to their invoicing and accounting services. Businesses will also be able to categorise transactions. Payment services, including real-time Faster Payments and international payments, will also be included.

“At the heart of Starling Bank is an understanding of our customers and their passions,” said Anne Boden (pictured), founder and CEO of Starling. “For a large number of our customers, that passion is a side hustle or small business that they run alongside their nine-to-five. What’s therefore become apparent is that a hugely underserved group of people exist who need more than a personal current account but aren’t quite a small business.”

Starling’s closest competitor in what Boden terms the “side hustle” space will be Curve, which caters to business owners, directors, freelancers and contractors across Europe. The firm raised $10m in a series A fundraise in July, with global banks Santander InnoVentures and Investec participating in the round. Starling is backed by $70m in venture funding from a single Bahamas-based investor named Harald McPike.

Revolut launched its business-facing service in June, landing a number of FTSE 100 companies, including two international airlines. Revolut’s business banking service costs between £25 and £1,000 per month, depending on the package, and is compatible with 25 currencies.

Starling and Curve appear to be going after smaller business operations, leaving Revolut to battle it out with incumbents.

“We are focused on sole traders and small businesses because the banking industry hasn’t offered something tailored for them,” said Sarah Guha, product director at Starling Bank. 

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