've been waiting for the right opportunity to try a challenger bank. Having been with regular banks for years, there's no going back now!
Out With The Old
There are many old industries that will change in the future thanks to technology. One that has been around for a long time is banking, cheques were invented in the 1600's and many of us remember not that long ago when you needed to open an account or borrow money you scooted down to your trusted bank manager to make the arrangements.
With an increasing number of branches being left empty in high streets up and down the UK it is no surprise that challenger banks like Monzo, Starling and Tide are getting more and more users and changing the landscape of the banking industry.
A Great Concept
I've always been interested by the stories of these startups, the staggering user growth and the funds that investors are throwing at them to ensure they are the leaders. In recent years there have been a few but late last year at a couple of business events I got chatting to Starling. I figured that when I would have to setup a new business account I would give them a go.
I wonder how many readers have a Starling account? If you are an account holder I think you will agree that the whole process is painless. I initially started the process on New Years Day (sad I know!). I say the process and that sounds quite big but it really isn't. They needed some company details and a picture of my passport. A smart security feature was a video recording of me reading a sentence on the screen to validate me in the future.
So on the 02nd Jan I sent their customer services a message out of curiosity to ask how long it takes to setup. Much to my surprise I got an instant response and I was told it was being reviewed. A couple of hours later… voila! New account setup, card added to apple pay and a physical card in the post.
What An Experience
The whole experience by comparison to opening a new business account with a traditional bank was refreshing to say the least. I didn't have to speak to anyone at all and I have everything I need all through the Starling app. This has really been thought out well and if I was one of the big banks I would either be looking to buy companies like Starling or moving extremely quickly to come up with something better.
The style of the debit card and the simplicity of the app is fantastic. It's designed for our modern startup business culture.
There are many more industries that will be revolutionised with technology and new startups are being born everyday to improve these industries. I think banking hasn't started on a huge scale yet but there is no doubt it will move very fast given the technology that is already out there.
Well done Starling on the overall product. It's smart, well designed and dead easy to use. It's what business startups want, simplicity so they can concentrate on running their business. I really cannot see what the appeal is of going to an established bank!? Their lending criteria has become much more stringent in recent years and I've no doubt challenger banks like Starling will offer better deals because they have much less overheads that the incumbents.
"I’ve always loved chatting with fellow passionate founders and finding out about the next big thing they’re working on. Some of my best ideas have come off the back of a chat with someone I met randomly! Despite being in business for so many years, I learn something new from everyone I meet, and that’s the best part. Let’s face it, growing a business is no easy feat, and I can’t wait to hear about your own individual startup journeys."
Only 22% of all startups are founded by at least one woman - so why is it so hard for females to replicate the success of J.K. Rowling, Indra Nooyi and Sara Blakely to make a name for themselves in business?