Starling Bank spreads its beta wings
UK challenger bank Starling has unveiled its mobile app and is welcoming the first customers through its digital doors to join a beta testing programme.
As Banking Technology previously reported, the bank has been getting ready for this moment. Yesterday (15 March), it chose TransferWise to provide money transfer services to its customers. It will host its first hackathon, opening up its API to outside developers. It has received its UK banking licence, joined Faster Payments, got its first batch of debit cards and continues to build its infrastructure.
This is the first time the bank’s current account has been available beyond friends, family and product testers.
Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank, says: “Widening our beta testing programme means we can continue to develop the Starling Account; testing it, getting feedback, improving it, and adding new features over the next few months.”
Available initially on iOS (with Android to follow by end of March), Starling’s first step focuses on the core functions of a current account. This includes opening an account in minutes, setting up regular payments (i.e. direct debits using an account number and sort code), and making one-off payments in and out of the account, including via the Faster Payments network.
Like all customers, beta users will receive a contactless MasterCard debit card that can be used in the UK, internationally, as well as synced up to digital wallets such as Apple and Android Pay in the near future.
Can’t beat a good beta
If you want more information, then the bank says key to its beta is ensuring an experience that enables customers to see, manage and control their money in real time. Transactions and payments through the account are signalled in real time through push notifications and within the home screen via a central feature called the “Starling Pulse”. A feed displays account activity, also updated in real time, and shows transaction information detail, date and time.
Additional features include the ability to lock and unlock the debit card, set a PIN, access a PIN reminder and add additional layers of security.
For qualifying customers, an overdraft facility is provided on their account with controls to set and adjust the limit up to a pre-authorised amount; giving people control of the facility and the ability to only tap into it as and when required.
Security features include an option to set an access code for the app, and biometric identification in the form of a short video. Customer service is accessed in app via live chat, message or call, and account settings can also be managed directly in app.
In later phases, Starling says the beta community will also be testing features that enable them to budget, see insights into their spending and save towards specific goals, as well as access relevant services made available through the “Starling Marketplace”.
This marketplace is being created with partners, including TransferWise, and the developer community, using Starling’s Open API and supporting community.