Our evaluation(4.3/5)
Starling Bank’s business account is a full current account operated from an app.
Features
  • Company: Starling Bank Limited

  • Type of account: Business current account

  • Intended for: Limited companies or sole traders

  • Overdrafts: Available

  • Loans: Available

  • Monthly fee: None

  • Debit card: Included (Mastercard)

  • Credit card: Not yet available

  • IBAN & BIC: Included

Starling Bank
To sign up, follow the link below and download the app on your phone. Follow the on-screen prompts, take a picture of your ID, submit and await approval. It usually takes less than a day to be accepted.

Starling Bank is a fully-fledged, UK-based bank without physical bank branches. Instead, you manage your account almost entirely through a mobile app.

Starling offers current accounts for private individuals (personal accounts) and current accounts for sole traders and limited companies (business accounts). We focus on the business accounts in this review.

Starling offers two types of business current accounts in GBP currency:

Business account: Bank account for limited companies and other registered business entities.

Sole trader account: Bank account for sole traders, self-employed and freelancers without a registered company.

You can also add a Euro or US account, but only after creating one of the above Business accounts. Each account comes with a:

  • UK bank account number and sort code

  • IBAN and BIC for international transfers

In contrast with high street banks, the sign-up is done entirely through the mobile app.

Is Starling Bank safe? Yes, up to £85,000 of your money is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in each account. Starling Bank’s security is top-notch, using a combination of biometric identification measures, fraud prevention tools, a human support team and more to keep your money safe. It has all the proper licences in place so that it is legitimately a real, regulated bank – just managed remotely.

There are pros and cons of Starling Bank influencing how good of a fit this bank account is for your needs. Let us go through the requirements, costs, features and services on offer.

Who can open a Starling Business account?

To open a Starling business account, there are certain requirements. You will need to be a resident in the United Kingdom and have a UK phone number for registration, though Starling may allow non-UK numbers from certain countries.

Limited companies and other types of businesses or partnerships have to be registered at Companies House in the UK. Only a ‘Person of Significant Control’ can open an account for a registered company, and that person should be a UK resident. Sole traders must also live in the UK and be registered as self-employed.

Only the account owner or Persons of Significant Control may use the account, so you cannot just give the business debit card to staff members. It is not possible to open an extra bank account for the same business, only a new business account for another registered business entity.

Costs and fees

While competing neobanking platforms offer tiered price plans (from free to “premium” plans), Starling’s costs are piecemeal according to what services are used.

The Business accounts for sole traders and limited companies have no monthly fees. Optionally, you can subscribe to an additional feature package called Business Toolkit for £7 per month.

There is no setup charge, and you receive the debit card free of charge after you’ve had the account approved. Starling does not currently pay interest on any business current account, only on their personal current accounts (but there is no Starling savings account).

Business account for limited companies & sole traders Charges
Account creation Free
Monthly fee Free
Business Toolkit add-on £7*/mo
Interest rate None
Debit card Free
Faster Payments bank transfers, Direct Debits, Standing Orders (UK only) Free
ATM withdrawals (UK & abroad) Free
Cash deposits 0.3% (min. £3 charge)
Cheque deposits Free

*Includes VAT.

Business account
for limited
companies &
sole traders
Charges
Account creation Free
Monthly fee Free
Business Toolkit add-on £7*/mo
Interest rate None
Debit card Free
Faster Payments bank transfers, Direct Debits, Standing Orders (UK only) Free
ATM withdrawals (UK & abroad) Free
Cash deposits 0.3% (min. £3 charge)
Cheque deposits Free

*Includes VAT.

It is free to withdraw cash from a cash point in the UK and abroad, though you are not exempt from charges that individual ATMs may add. Cheques are free to deposit through the app or Freepost (by letter), but cash deposits at the Post Office cost 0.3% of the cash amount, where a minimum of £3 is required.

Then there are costs for overdrafts or business loans. Starling offers a business overdraft that depends on your situation and qualifying factors within the limits and interest rates below.

Overdrafts Limited companies Sole traders
Available overdraft limits £250-£150,000 £250-£10,000
Interest rate 5%, 10% or 15% EAR (variable) 15% EAR (variable)
Annual fee (paid upfront) 1.5% (min. £50) of agreed limit None
Over-
drafts
Limited
companies
Sole
traders
Available overdraft limits £250-£150,000 £250-£10,000
Interest rate 5%, 10% or 15% EAR (variable) 15% EAR (variable)
Annual fee (paid upfront) 1.5% (min. £50) of agreed limit None

Business loans are only offered to business accounts for limited companies, not sole traders. The following limits and interest rates apply to loans.

Loans Limited companies
Loan limits £5,000-£250,000 (1-5-year terms)
Interest rate 7% EAR (variable) for loans below £25k, bespoke EAR above £25k loan
Early repayment fee None
Loans Limited
companies
Loan limits £5,000-£250,000 (1-5-year terms)
Interest rate 7% EAR (variable) for loans below £25k, bespoke EAR above £25k loan
Early repayment fee None

Whether there are annual fees or other charges associated with a business loan is communicated to you when the loan application has been reviewed. Starling claims there are no hidden fees, but it is always good practice to read the small print before accepting a loan.

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.

Sending/receiving money Charges
Business debit card transactions in foreign currency No Starling fee applied, but local fees may apply
Euro account, monthly fee £2
USD account, monthly fee £5
Inbound payment in same currency as account Free
Inbound EUR transfer to GBP account 2% on top of real exchange rate
Transfers between EUR, USD & GBP accounts 0.4% on top of real exchange rate
International outbound transfers – currency conversion fee 0.4% on top of real exchange rate
SWIFT outbound transfer – delivery fee £5.50
International outbound transfer via local partner – delivery fee From 30p
Sending/
receiving
money
Charges
Business debit card transactions in foreign currency No Starling fee applied, but local fees may apply
Euro account, monthly fee £2
USD account, monthly fee £5
Inbound payment in same currency as account Free
Inbound EUR transfer to GBP account 2% on top of real exchange rate
Transfers between EUR, USD & GBP accounts 0.4% on top of real exchange rate
International outbound transfers – currency conversion fee 0.4% on top of real exchange rate
SWIFT outbound transfer – delivery fee £5.50
International outbound transfer via local partner – delivery fee From 30p

There is a £2 monthly fee for the Euro account charged as a monthly subscription that can be cancelled any time. Inbound and outbound SEPA transfers are free from the Euro account. The USD account costs £5 per month and can also be cancelled any time. You can send and receive US dollar transactions for free.

You can also transfer money between your Starling Euro, US and GBP business accounts, which involves a currency conversion fee of 0.4% on top of the real exchange rate. If you regularly receive euro transactions from clients, you can therefore save a lot of money by adding a Euro account to receive free transfers. If you need to move that money to your Business (GBP) account, it is cheaper with the 0.4% currency conversion fee between Starling accounts than to receive euros directly from clients into the Business account which would cost 2%.

The free SEPA transfers with the Euro account and free USD transactions with the US account are really useful for those with clients paying in these currencies. The accounts can also save you money if you travel regularly in Europe or the US and want to avoid the risk of merchants applying their own fees to currency conversions. Starling does not apply a fee when you use the debit card in a