Moments of reality (an app based banking mini-saga)


So, specifically this is about a Starling experience but I reckon it’s unfair to solely target them.

Picture this - I’ve signed up, waiting for card.

Then this evening - find out I am locked out of account in app.

Open app and I am stuck in the registration loop. Emailed (as obviously no app based chat possible) and a prompt reply (minutes, nice one Starling) suggests delete app, reinstall. Ok, but no. Now says signing in with new phone, need to pair with old phone. Flaw there is it’s the same phone I registered with. iOS update only difference.

So, again, no specific dig at Starling. Stuff happens.

BUT, and here is the point. I’m all for new approaches, fresh technology, simplifying, amplifying life…but right now if I was relying on Starling I’d be nervous - will card work, is there a bigger problem etc etc. Yeah yeah I know always have a trad bank card with you - but at what point do we say that’s no longer needed?

All of the above will have zero impact on my trying Starling and existing commitment to Monzo. But it’s little moments like this that chip away at confidence levels.

Of course, trad banks do he chipping all by themselves…

Btw, still locked out of Starling app…

/// update: back into account. Great speedy customer service. I’d say speed of response and general customer service of both Monzo and Starling (albeit only one experience) are so far ahead of legacy banking.


You could try posting that at


I’m nervous about Starling which is precisely why I don’t rely on it. (Nor Monzo). Happy to try them but they’re not ready to compete with legacy Banking.


Am in process of joining that community - but the general points stand and could just as easily be Monzo (perhaps)

Is there a difference between trad and challenger banks in reliability? Any independent measurements?

As I said won’t change my willingness to try services - just this has been the first moment of “oh, ok, that’s interesting!”


I am not aware of any independent measurements particularly as most legacy banks in the UK are secretive by nature.

(Nick) #6

In terms of reliability comparison, because you were only at the sign-up stage it’s really difficult to compare.

Not least because there are two different levels there, as such. That is, just because the app went a bit wrong doesn’t mean that the underlying banking system wasn’t still sound.

That you were able to recover the situation from emailing customers services is a massive improvement over legacy banking, though, at least in my experience. Last time I was locked out of my legacy bank’s mobile app (password confusion), I sent and email and it took them between 24-48 hours to reply saying they couldn’t resolve the issue over email and to please phone (which I had already done somewhere around the 12 hour stage, at immense inconvenience to myself).

Even though I was locked out of the app and couldn’t use online banking, I could still use my card to pay for things and check my balance using an ATM (as I say, two different layers).

Speaking for myself, it would take more than an app failure to chip away at my confidence in challenger banking. If I was unable to access my money, that’s what would do it - and legacy banks have had those problems too. Heck, even in April this year, Natwest, Lloyds and Halifax all suffered problems with customers being unable to bank online.


Starling has this stupid login system where you can only login by authorizing the new device from an existing device (so you’re locked out if you delete the app or have an issue with your only device), but the good news is that no other app-based banks have such nonsense. :slight_smile: