Starling Discussion & Feedback

So unnecessary confusion?

There is a perfectly good (and long thread) about Monzo’s changes so I hesitate to take this one about Starling off-topic.

However, you (and @don_quixote) asked why I consider Monzo’s criteria complex/don’t like them.

So the criteria as they originally stood are:

a) Do you pay in more than £500 and at least 1 direct debit OR
b) Do you get a DWP or MHCLG payment at least once every 35 days OR
c) get a student loan payment every 8 months OR
d) have a joint account with someone who meets any of the above OR
e) have a Plus Account

Since then they also seem to have added PhD stipends (paid quarterly) and stated that 16/17 years are also exempt

So I now make that 7 different potential criteria (so far) not including vulnerable customers who are somehow expected to “know” to contact support when Monzo have deliberately made it harder to contact them in the app (and the telephone line cuts off automatically) and may not want to share details of any vulnerability anyway.

Monzo have also said that if you receive tax credits via HMRC instead of Universial Credit you’re not automatically exempt but need to contact support.

Whatever you think of the new approach - I think complex is a reasonable way to describe it.

Would it not have been simpler and less confusing to say everyone is entitled to one free replacement/year - it has the benefit of simplicity for both staff and customers. It would definitely have made their emails to customers easier to understand/follow (they were poor - at least some versions)

Monzo state that 1% of customers order more than one card each year and make up 35% of total card replacement costs - it would be a lot less controversial if they targeted this group

As I’ve said, my main interest is in the card replacement fee and that those who lose their card once will suffer a fee, but its also worth noting that Monzo is much more stingy than any other bank I know with cash withdrawal limits as well.

Monzo has a 30 day rolling limit which is the same or less than other banks have as a daily limit. (and I think it would be more customer friendly to adopt a monthly limit rather than a rolling 30 day period as well but that’s a different issue)


I’m not sure why you think all of these people seem to have to “know” to contact support.

I believe that Monzo are (should be) perfectly capable of detecting most or all of these criteria from their records. I agree that if a mistake is made, some form of contact will be required but this presentation is spinning it into something it definitely isn’t.


I don’t think they can though I stand to be corrected of course.

The blog does say

If you tell us you’re in difficulty, we can exempt you from or refund these fees.

Edit: And you actively need to contact support if you get tax credits via HMRC

Well, I can’t debate your opinion :man_shrugging: (and we are off topic) but I’d suggest a little evidence may be required to support an accusation that reads to be one of utter bank incompetence unless I’m missing the point.

(I agree that the vulnerable customer element is going to be the tricky one but that will surely be true for every bank.)

Let’s keep this on Starling. Discourse is having a funny few minutes so I can’t move the Monzo chat to the Monzo fees thread, but conversation on Monzo over here, please:


Have I missed what the new features will be for the connected card space, I know the email stated that they’ll be new features for that £2 a month if you sign up to it.

I’ve already got one from way back when they 1st released it, be interesting to see what that small fee brings in as to whether or not I jump over to the paid version


Not yet - I haven’t seen specifics mentioned.

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The current version is only for Point of Sale purchases, so doesn’t allow cash withdrawals or online use (I think?).

I imagine that allowing those will be top of the list of new features, but probably also more granular card controls for the connected card and maybe even some advanced controls for the space (auto top-ups based on rules, weekly or monthly, etc).

To be clear, this is all my speculation but I’d say it’s a pretty good bet.

I’m interested to see what they announce regarding keeping it free for one card / certain customers, after Anne stated they would ‘fix it’ in response to a comment raised on Twitter that it was useful for disabled customers and charging these wouldn’t be great.

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Yes it’s set up as a payment card which worked fine when we were in lockdown

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I thought so but I couldn’t quite remember if I was right or not.

Thanks for confirming!

On September 17, the Bank of England will announce their next base rate decision and they have acknowledged that negative rates could be considered.
So… all savings will be impacted

I hope you’re not suggesting that banks will charge to hold savings, I doubt that is likely to happen.

It’s happening in the rest of Europe today so not beyond the realms of possibility.

That said, I suspect negative rates won’t be on the table this year - the Bank of England still has the headroom to cut rates to zero first (not to mention a number of those policy tools they can use before they get to negative rates).

Can you give a source for this please?

As far as I can see, no financial institution passes negative rates onto ordinary savers in Europe (including countries not in the eurozone) and only high-net worth individuals are at risk of this in only a handful of banks.

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Pretty sure Starling is charging a negative interest rate on their Euro account for savings above £50k - is that right? I wouldn’t describe someone who has £50k as a ‘high net worth’ individual.

Even if we disagree on definitions, negative interest rates in Europe are impacting customers with even the smallest savings accounts:

I’d argue Starling is an edge case, as it’s not within the eurozone and is one of the first UK banks to make holding euro as easy as opening a sterling current account.

Interesting you cite an article from a bitcoin publication. That article implicitly draws a link between the ECB’s negative interest rate policy and declining profitability in eurozone banks. The ECB itself draws the conclusion that its policy has a broadly neutral effect on profitability, and is as likely to stimulate as much as dampen it. (As reported by the FT here.)

It’s an interesting debate. However, I’d take argue your source doesn’t back up your claim that ordinary savers in the rest of Europe are being charged to keep their money in the bank…

Your article only says that this is happening in 16 banks (out of 800) in Germany alone, and gives no further examples across the rest of the eurozone, the EU or the rest of Europe. The BBC reports that rates are not generally being passed on to savers, and cites Handelsbanken in Sweden which says this would be “taboo”.

I’d agree, though, that my use of the phrase ‘high-net worth’ was sloppy. I’d intended to mean average savers without large sums on deposit. In the German example above that would be those with less than €100,000, which is still an untypical amount.


Feel free to howl into the wind but you asked for a source, I gave it.

I didn’t say every bank is Europe is charging negative interest rates, I said negative rates are a live issue in Europe. Germany is in Europe. Some banks in Germany are charging negative interest rates on all savers.

I’m not going to spend time researching every country in Europe as I’m not sure I feel as passionately about this as you do.


Negative interest rates tend to be bad for most customer segments, not just banks and also leads to perverse situations like

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