Nominee profile: Starling Bank (SME Banking Awards 2023)

SME Banking
01/05/2023 Article

Banking was broken – so we decided to fix it. The vision? Fast technology, fair service and honest values, all at the tap of a phone, all the time. Once we'd secured our banking licence, we set about creating an app that would give people tools to confidently manage their money and allow them talk to a human 24/7 if they needed help. Since launching our app-based current accounts in 2017, we’ve grown a lot: a team of more than two thousand, three million accounts and four account types - personal, business, joint and multi-currency, alongside a child card. We've also been voted Britain’s Best Current Account five years running. Oh, and we're the first bank to be founded by a woman.

Anne Boden, founder and CEO of Starling Bank

How would you describe your bank's role in SMEs business journey considering their importance in the economy?

We've built the UK’s first digital bank. Our role is to make banking simple for everyone, especially small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which are often time poor and cash strapped in the early days. That's why our app-based business accounts are free and offer 24/7 customer service from our lovely UK based team.

It wasn't so long ago that we were a start-up business ourselves, which is why we know how important it is to free up business owner's time by making banking admin easy. Our role is to help businesses spend less time banking and more time tackling everything else on their to-do list.

The design of our app is founded on the real needs of our customers and we continually look to add more features, many of which are added as a direct result of customer feedback. The app includes neat integrations with bookkeeping tools such as Xero, messenger services such as Slack and pension providers such as Pensionbee. You can see statements for whichever date range you need and make payments on the go (no funny card reader required).


So far, more than 500,000 UK businesses have joined Starling.

Why do you think your bank deserves to be awarded the SME Bank of the Year?

Because we walk our talk. And because we listen to what our customers need and then deliver the features they said would help. Examples include spending categories that align with the categories specified by HMRC and virtual cards, which enable customers to separate money from their main balance and then spend directly from that separate fund, which could be for subscriptions or office equipment. So far, more than 500,000 UK businesses have joined Starling.


Briefly describe, what are top 3 projects/achievements delivered by your bank in the last 18 months for SME customers?

Bills Manager - enables businesses to set money aside for a particular purpose, such as rent for their shop, in a Space and then pay direct debits or standing orders directly from that Space.

Fixed savings account - enables eligible businesses to earn 2.5% interest on deposits over £2000 for a fixed term of 12 months.

Bulk Payments - enables businesses to complete payroll or pay multiple suppliers in one go, saving them time, while remaining safe. Additional feature, available to Starling business customers for £7 per month after a free one-month trial. Customers can cancel at any time.

In 2022, Starling Bank won the following awards:

  • British Bank Awards - Best Current Account Provider
  • Moneyfacts Consumer Awards - Winner of Current Account Provider of the Year and Banking App of the Year
  • Marketing Week Awards - Winner of Customer Experience Excellence and B2B Campaign
  • Contracting Awards - Winner of Best Business Bank
  • City AM Awards - Winner of Bank of the Year, Anne Boden winner of Personality of the Year

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