Starling Bank breathes life into marketplace

By Ryan Weeks on Tuesday 13 February 2018

Digital Banking

Digital banking app announces first wave of financial services partners for third-party marketplace.

Users of Starling Bank will from today be able to access third-party products via the in-app marketplace.

One gripe levelled at Starling by users in recent weeks is that its marketplace, which has promised much, doesn’t yet do anything. But no more. From today, customers will be able to integrate with pensions provider PensionBee via the banking app's marketplace, while a number of other partnerships (all with financial services firms) are expected to go live in the next few weeks.

The other partners, announced by Starling today, are robo-advisor Wealthsimple, online mortgage broker Habito and insurtech Kasko (in partnership with AXA).

Starling Bank received approval for its third-party marketplace from the Prudential Regulatory Authority and Financial Conduct Authority in December. The neo-bank claims to be only company to hold what it sees as a unique blend of regulatory permissions.

Starling envisages building a financial services “app store”. The firm will aim to announce at least 25 new partners for its marketplace during the course of this year.

“The expansion of our marketplace is a huge milestone for Starling as we continue to give our customers control of their money like never before,” said Megan Caywood (pictured), chief platform officer at Starling. “We are building a banking experience fit for the 21st Century, where the best financial products are available securely in one place.”

Third-party marketplaces are increasingly commonplace within the world of digital banking, with Revolut and Starling about neck-and-neck in terms of their progress building these out. Revolut already offers insurance and wealth management services to its customers in-app, as well as access to consumer loans via a partnership with peer-to-peer lender Lending Works.

Others in the space, such as Monzo, have been slower to move – but have nonetheless confirmed the importance of third-party integrations in the long-term. Monzo’s head of partnerships Phil Hewinson has previously described the bank’s marketplace as becoming as core to its vision, and as its primary revenue driver. 

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