It costs money to Starling (or any bank for that matter) to reopen accounts; reissuing the cards, plus potential admin charges if the process isn’t automated (or the automation fails and a human has to take a look) so it makes sense not to do it.
However they could just take a fee instead of a year-long ban, so if you want to reopen the account before the ban expires you have to pay a fee; this would allow someone to reopen a Starling account if they really need it by paying.
The current ban is unfair especially for a challenger bank that constantly evolves and adds new features, so there would be way more people coming back because a new feature was released, like joint accounts for example. People could’ve closed their account a few months ago but suddenly need joint accounts, it makes sense to allow them to reopen accounts.
I second this idea, for me I don’t really see the point in closing an account unless it was encouraging me to spend more (eg fee-free overdrafts, like many student accounts which later hit you with a massive interest rate), if I had to pay a monthly fee, or if I genuinely had too many accounts to keep track of.
Maybe upon closing users could be reminded it costs £x amount to reopen the account in the future- so it doesn’t end up costing Starling any money, if the amount of money is the reason for not doing so.
Not everyone is even aware of that. A lot of non-tech people just see Starling as a legacy bank with a nicer app with no idea how different they actually are as far as making progress and releasing new features - they try it, realize it’s no good for them now and decide to close their account. 3 months later they hear someone talking about the Starling joint account and want to give it a spin again.
Bear in mind lots of people sign up to fintech banks like Monzo and Starling because places like MSE tell them it’s a travel card. Not everyone is as tuned in to the forum, trying to keep up with the features. They assume it’s just a travel card, then may close their accounts because they don’t think it has much features or for whatever reason, then assume they can open it up again… since that’s what they’re used to doing with other banks.
On the other hand, if they pass on the cost of the churn to the customer, what’s the problem? Best case scenario someone pays to reopen their account, and they gain a customer back without incurring extra costs, worst case the customer decides it isn’t worth it and we’re at the exact same situation as now.
But when you are dealing with hundreds of thousands of customers, any individual customer is not that important. I can imagine that they decided the cost of setting up to re-acquire demonstrably unreliable customers is not worth the effort.
The process can and should be automated, so there shouldn’t be any extra costs nor “effort” associated with reopening accounts, not to mention, for a product that’s constantly improving like Starling, leavers shouldn’t be considered “unreliable customers”, simply that at the time the product wasn’t the right fit for them.
It clearly could be automated - simply allow the customer to go through the normal process again. The fact that they specifically ban this, suggests to me that they consider these to be unreliable and not worth the effort.
I can’t remember who it happened to, but I think the phone number associated with their account was entirely wiped, so there was no way of recovering it so I guess they just would rather not gain those customers back again.
If cost is cited as an issue, I thought @anon23935806’s suggestion made sense- but ultimately it’s up to Starling to decide whether they want these customers back or not they’re always welcome back at Monzo I’m sure! I have several accounts with fintech banks that are just left unused. Interested to see how they line up years later.
There are good reasons why you wouldn’t want a single customer to have two accounts on your system (not to mention it wouldn’t even work if they reused the same username/email/phone number), and given they are a bank they are bound by laws to keep the data for several years, so they can’t completely delete the previous account either.
Sign up for Starling account because I like their features. No new features for a month so I close the account. One month later there is new feature which I like. Sign up for Starling account again. No new features for two months this time. Time to close the account…
I don’t feel sympathetic towards those who follow this logic. Starling is doing right in my opinion. Those who closed their account but need to wait whole year will think twice next time.
I tend to close/delete unused accounts, bank or otherwise, to prevent them from doing anything unexpected (or silently compromised and used for fraud) without me noticing (which I’m less likely to do since I no longer use it daily), just like I would turn off electronics when I go away for long periods of time or unused servers I no longer have to maintain/update/monitor.
Those who closed their account but need to wait whole year will think twice next time.
Why not? It’s just software. If card issuance has a cost then pass it on to the customer, or let them reuse their existing card. This just sounds spiteful, as if they were trying to artificially inflate their customer numbers by levying major consequences for people that dare to close their accounts.
Well for me it’s definitely not the end of the world, but Starling are releasing cool features that some people are into, and it would be a shame if they couldn’t get back in because they decided to close their account back when Starling was just a basic current account last summer.
Any Revolut customer would tell how much grief there is on their forum for having to pay for a card.
It might look straightforward from technical standpoint but I seriously doubt it is possible from procedural point of view. After account closure card might not have been disposed of securely be ex-customer, etc. Reactivating ex-customer’s former card is just asking for fraud. Starling is right in my opinion. There are worse things than waiting for a year to open account in already crowded fintech field.