Starling is one of the much anticipated digital players in the British banking field. This year’s $70 million funding round built up the initial hype. With Starling’s team preparing for product launch in early 2017, the timing was just right for touching base with their Chief Platform Officer, Megan Caywood. Earlier this week she spoke at our co-working sister space, CPH Fintech Lab. These were the 3 take aways from her talk that remained on our notepad.
1. Banks forgot to empower the customer
While many fintech startups stress how different they are from the established financial institutions, they also partner with them. Lunar Way has a collaboration with Nykredit getting access to their licence and capital. In Sweden the newcomer Tink has received financial backing from SEB. Starling on the other hand has consistently distanced themselves from the big ones. It makes their brand stand out and having their own license secured in UK they may be able to keep their independence. But what is so bad about the old banks? ”Traditionally they have not shared much of their data on customers,” says Megan Caywood. ”At Starling we feel customers own their data, and we want them to access and share it in a safe way.”
2. From bank app to lifestyle app
Which brings us to the product. Starling is focusing their resources on creating one thing: The best possible current account for the user. This will let you manage payments, transfers and borrowing, but what appears to be the true piece of innovation is a visualisation of your spending. All accessed via app. Updated in real-time – without any delays – and with features that predicts what you will buy next week. Something that pushes the bank app towards the lifestyle app, Megan points out.”We want people to understand their financials better, and we want everything that used to be difficult to happen seamlessly via the app. From getting pre-approval for a mortgage to freezing your card, if you lost it.
3. iTunes for your money
One block on the road for new banks like Starling, is convincing customers that it is not a hazzle to switch to their services. But hey, Starling does not necessarily want you to drop your old bank, they just want to be added to the mix. As they see the one-stop-shop bank as history, their team will also recommend other financial products. Like a money-centric iTunes. “Our app will contain The Marketplace – an overview of all the best financial offerings across providers,” says Megan.