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FACES OF FINTECH: BUSINESS BANKING Payment-related activity, such as clearing invoices, ATM withdrawals, direct debits or standing instructions, even income and receipts, are updated in real time, with notifications popping up on the smartphone screen, enabling quick analysis of spending behaviour. Starling charges no fees to open or own an account, to make domestic transfers or withdraw cash, or for making payments while travelling internationally. All of this contributed majorly to the rapid onboarding of more than half a million customers, with a huge retention rate. “Something like 70 to 80 per cent of customers that have used Starling are still using it today,” says Boden. “We have very high active rates, and a very engaged customer base, so we’re excited by the sorts of customers we have, the way they've used the product, and how they keep on using it.” The Starling business model is a three-legged stool: one leg supports intuitive, fast (and currently mostly free) banking facilities for account holders, another is all about building a marketplace of bolt-on services to enrich the offer,. The third provides financial stability for the bank by letting others use its Cloud-based banking platform and infrastructure, for a price. It has supply contracts with the Department of Work and Pensions and fellow fintechs including Raisin, Square, Soldo, and Currencycloud. One example was its deal in summer 2019 with SumUp, Europe’s leading mobile point of sale company, to provide small merchants with access to faster settlements. Starling’s Banking Services business gives the fintech’s merchants not only real-time access to faster payments, but simple integration with Starling’s secure and PSD2-compliant APIs and full bank grade accounts with a set of unique virtual accounts. It’s all based on proprietary technology. “We built our infrastructure from scratch,” says Boden. “I had spent a long time in traditional banking, serving very large

companies and small companies and individuals, and I knew that if we were going to build a bank, we’d have to have really new, exciting infrastructure that allowed businesses to grow the way they want. The Cloud offers security and resilience like no other infrastructure and the great thing is, it is infinitely scalable. “Alongside that, we have a full set of APIs, so customers big and small

Banking as a service is key to our strategy, where we enable governments, corporations or other fintechs to use our can interface with us and direct us to make infrastructure payments on their behalf.”


TheFintechMagazine | Issue 13

Starling’s assumption from the get-go was that the API economy is good for business – and not just its own. It was the first bank to genuinely embrace APIs to deliver services, “because this gives flexibility; it enables businesses to build upon other businesses,” says Boden. “That’s why banking as a service is key to our own strategy, where we enable governments, corporations and other fintechs to use our infrastructure.” By June of this year, Starling business customers could integrate Xero and FreeAgent Accounting software as well as Zygo insurance services via the bank’s online marketplace.

“There’s a growing line-up of other smart financial products that can work in harmony with the Starling Bank app – that’s where our marketplace comes in,” says Boden. “You’ll have access to a wider financial ecosystem through your mobile phone, giving you more choice and control over your money.” It all adds up to a money revolution – which, incidentally, is the title of

A Money Revolution: Boden’s new book explores the changing face of FS

Boden’s latest book on the changing face of financial services. “The Money Revolution is really a handbook for people who live outside the fintech bubble, ordinary people who want the tools to manage their financial health,” says Boden. In it she returns to the theme of how technology is dissolving the boundaries between work and play, especially in the expanding freelance and gig economy. Every day, Starling releases new features in order to be the change it wants to see. Such velocity of development is central to the bank as it heads towards a target one million customers. “Technology is at our heart,” says Boden. “We’re all engineers here. We’re building an organisation that’s all about embracing the best tech in the world and delivering it to the benefit of customers.” n See Book Review, page 140.


Fintech Finance presents: The Fintech Magazine Issue 13  

Fintech Finance presents: The Fintech Magazine Issue 13

Fintech Finance presents: The Fintech Magazine Issue 13  

Fintech Finance presents: The Fintech Magazine Issue 13