Can You Get a Starling Credit Card? (With Alternatives)

Understand the financial management services offered by Starling and what alternatives are available for handling your personal or business finances.

Updated: February 5, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

 

Generally speaking, the type of credit card that you're using every day, regardless of what it is for, is a fairly major consideration, especially with how many banks come with excessively high transaction fees — whether it's to withdraw cash or make cash deposits. 

Outside of some of the more traditional banking and building societies, digital banks and financial management platforms have been gaining a lot more traction thanks to the convenience and ease of signing up, with few better examples than Starling Bank.

Still, there’s often a lot of confusion as to whether you can actually obtain a physical credit card when using one of these accounts, given that there often aren’t any in-person branches that you can go to.

Aside from this, there are plenty of other digital banks available besides Starling, so we’ll also be breaking down our top six alternative choices throughout this article — starting with a little bit of background information about Starling.

ServiceScoreRegister
1. Revolut★★★★★Click Here
2. Monese★★★★★Click Here
3. Monzo★★★★★Click Here
4. Tandem★★★★Click Here
5. Chase★★★★Click Here
6. Kroo★★★★Click Here

Starling Bank and Credit Cards

To get to the point of the article immediately, yes, Starling Bank does indeed offer a credit card; you generally just need to have a Starling bank account in order to obtain one.

Fortunately, this is a pretty seamless process if you're an existing account holder since all you need to do is apply for a credit card through the Starling Bank app.

Making the Switch With Current Account Switch Service

Still, for anyone who might be looking to streamline their overall banking experience, it’s worth exploring the Current Account Switch Service to make the whole process of switching your existing bank accounts a much more hassle-free process. 

Best Alternatives to Starling Bank Accounts

Starling’s undeniably one of the better options out there if you’re looking for an affordable digital bank — both as a personal account and a business account — but if you’re still not sold on the platform, it’s worth taking a look at a few other options so you can find something that’s a bit more suited to your particular needs.

So, throughout this next section, we’ll be covering six other popular online banking and financial platforms that all ultimately share one thing in common — tools to help make your financial life easier:

1. Revolut — Best Alternative for Additional Features

Kicking things off, let’s take a look at our top alternative if you’re looking for something different than Starling, Revolut — which, while not legally classified as a bank in the United Kingdom, works as a digital financial platform instead, offering many of the same financial management features as a regular bank (if not more).

In fact, these additional features are one of the main reasons Revolut has over 30 million different users across the world, providing a platform for small business owners and freelancers who need a way of separating their personal finances.

If you only need the account for personal use, though, Revolut’s mobile app lets you perform a pretty wide selection of financial management services, whether it’s by managing your personal current account or getting involved in the crypto and foreign exchange markets.

Crucially, it's worth mentioning that no matter which Revolut account you sign up to, you'll receive a physical debit card that you'll be able to integrate with your mobile wallet so you can use it contactless — as you would with Google Pay or any other digital wallet.

Finally, if extra perks and lifestyle benefits are a big factor in which digital financial platform you want to use, the Revolut app comes with plenty of these — depending on which plan you go for, as the free packages can be slightly limited in some cases.

2. Monese — Best Alternative for a Quick Induction

Moving forward, let's look at Monese, which, while not the most feature-rich option that we'll be covering throughout this list, is more than capable of handling both your personal and business finances — crucially, allowing you to get up and running with a digital bank card and mobile app by submitting just a selfie of you holding up some photo.

Not every option comes with a joint bank account that you’re able to open with a partner, so it’s convenient that you’re able to open one of these as well as the current accounts that are available (if you’re only using it for personal use).

Like most of the digital banks on this list, there’s a free plan, but you’re able to upgrade to either £5.95 (Classic plan) or £14.95 a month (Premium plan) if you want something with extra financial management tools.

3. Monzo — Best UK Based Alternative

Next up, we have Monzo, which is possibly the best option if you’re looking for a digital bank that’s based in the United Kingdom.

While not our favourite option on this list, one of the best parts about Monzo is its versatility and the sheer range of demographics it accommodates, providing options whether you’re looking for personal accounts, business accounts, joint accounts, and even a dedicated account for 16 and 17 year olds — not to mention the loans you can access.

In terms of the specific tiers that are available, there's a free package, the Monzo Plus package (which costs £5 per month, and you need to sign up for at least three months), and the Monzo Premium package (£15 per month, and minimum sign up of six months).

Ultimately, you can get everything you need in the standard or even free packages, but you’re generally going to get more features if you pay for the premium services — not to mention better customer support when it comes to inquiries or concerns you might have.

Naturally, there’s also an app that you can use to open any of the accounts we’ve just mentioned, and the British Bank Awards actually voted Monzo’s app the Best Banking App of 2023, so you’re in safe hands here.

4. Tandem — Best Alternative for Savings Accounts

This next option is slightly more unique than the other options we’ve covered so far throughout this review, given that it doesn’t actually provide you with a current account for you to conduct general banking activity on — whether you need to send money internationally or access a credit card.

It’s understandable if this immediately turns you off from creating a Tandem account, so feel free to choose one of the other options on this list if current accounts are a make or break feature for you.

Instead, expect to find plenty of other financial management services — including things like mortgages, home and personal loans, savings accounts, and even motor finance. 

If you want to choose one of their savings accounts, you’ll receive a 4.3% AER rate with their Instant Access Savers account, and the Fixed Savers option comes with a fixed rate of approximately 5.85 — 6.15% AER.

Regardless of which of these Tandem savings accounts you open, though, you'll need to download their dedicated mobile app in order to access your account, which allows you to transfer money between accounts and check your balance and interest. 

Fortunately, however, there are far fewer fees involved with Tandem accounts than there are with regular current accounts, including the lack of additional charges for account management or initiation fees. 

Just keep in mind that you’re not able to make any kind of ATM withdrawals with this account since you won’t be receiving a debit or credit card. Having said that, you could think of it as not having to pay any withdrawal or overdraft fees if you were trying to be optimistic about it.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that in the event of any kind of misconduct on behalf of Tandem, you’ll receive protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for up to £85,000 if you’ve been using one of the app-managed accounts to save money with them.

5. Chase — Best US Based Alternative

Although the previous options we've covered have already been based in Europe, Chase is actually a US-based online banking service, given that it's a branch of JPMorgan. Still, it's a fully licensed and FCA-regulated bank that's been running in the United Kingdom since 2022, so it's a fully safe service to use — all you need is a smartphone, a UK address, and being over the age of 18. 

Just bear in mind that in comparison to the fairly wide range of products that US customers have available to them, you only have the option of two separate accounts with Chase UK — the saver account and the current account. 

Now, both of these options are certainly viable alternatives to Starling if you’re looking for a more straightforward experience with online banking (for free, too), but you might find this account a bit more lacking unless you use the US version of the app.

Having said that, you’re still able to access things like 1% cashback on your debit card spending and a variable interest of around 1% AER on your account balance by using the Chase current account, so you’re still getting a fairly impressive service regardless of the limitations — like not being able to receive or make any international payments, which can definitely be a put off for some.

6. Kroo Current Account — Best Alternative for International Spending

Finally, let’s wrap things up by taking a look at the Kroo Bank current account, which is actually one of the only options we’ve covered that doesn’t come with any monthly fees — coming with things like in-credit interest and no additional charges on any expenses you make while abroad, making it perfect for travelling.

Aside from this, you’ll be able to see all of your transaction notifications in real time by downloading the app, which is also where you’ll be conducting all of your other financial management. 

As with all of the other digital banks and financial platforms we've covered, you'll also be protected up to £85,000 should Kroo somehow go bankrupt since the platform is backed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Related Guides:

Can You Get a Starling Credit Card: FAQs

How Do Digital Banks Ensure Compliance With Regulatory Bodies in the United Kingdom?

Can I Open Accounts With Multiple Digital Banks?

Can I Get Personalised Financial Advice From a Digital Bank?

How Do Digital Banks Handle Cryptocurrency?

Are Digital Banks Affected by Traditional Banking Crises?

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