Transfers and use abroad
What about international payments, foreign currency and use abroad?
The Business and Sole trader accounts can only contain and receive British pounds. Bank transfers to another UK-based GBP account are free to do. That said, the business debit card can be used for payments in any currency without added fees.
A Euro bank account and US dollar bank account are available as add-ons after a Sole trader or Business account is set up. They come with their own US or European IBAN and SWIFT/BIC, acting as standalone bank accounts. The US account has an ACH routing number too. There are no options for accounts in other currencies at the moment but Starling Bank is working on adding 21 other foreign currency accounts.
If your client sends a EUR payment to your GBP account, a 2% charge will be added by Starling Bank on top of the real exchange rate to convert that currency into GBP. It is not possible for your clients to send any other currency (including USD) to your GBP account – instead, it will be rejected and sent back to the payer. In the same vein, the Euro account can only receive euros and the US account can only receive US dollars. Inbound transactions in other currencies will be rejected and sent back to the payer.
For that reason, you should make sure that international clients know which currency to bill in. Moreover, connecting banks along the way make charge fees for processing that are outside of Starling’s control, but Starling does not charge for receiving international payments as long as the currency sent matches your account’s.