Starling Announces Joint Accounts: Monzo's Chasing After Them

Dhanum Nursigadoo
5min read

Today sees the launch of Starling’s new joint account feature on its customer accounts. They’re only available to existing Starling customers so you’d better join up if you want to take advantage.

We invited Starling’s Lead Engineer, Sam Everington and Chief Platform Officer, Megan Caywood into the office to show us how it works. Click play below to see for yourself.

Joint From the Start

When Starling first launched they entertained the idea of joint accounts, but saw it mainly as a temporary feature in people’s lives. Turns out, from product research and talking to their own team, people have a real need for joint accounts.
Most requested feature since day one - Megan Caywood.
Part of why it took a while for Starling to implement joint accounts was finding a way around disputes and disagreements on the account. They also had to build, from scratch, a path for customers to switch between account types. One of the most exciting aspects of the new account for Starling, is now customers can fully migrate to the digital challenger bank and rely on it for all their banking needs. Instead of being split between an incumbent bank’s joint account and using Starling for their current account. KYC requirements are met in a couple of ways, firstly it’s only available to customers with a Starling current account. Secondly the phones have to physically be in the same area. Customers then tap the photo of the person they want to have joint account with. Rather than arranging time for both individuals to get an appointment with a bank, they can get a joint account the next time they’re both in the same room. Digital cards are available to use immediately after the account is made and a physical card is in the post on its way.

Competition Closing In

It’s interesting that Starling chose to implement joint accounts when digital competitor, Monzo, has previously stated that the feature is simply not something they’re interested in.
[Joint accounts are] not something we're actively working on right now, honestly - Tom Blomfield, CEO of Monzo
However, that was back in January. Monzo is now testing joint accounts but they’ve been beaten to the punch significantly by Starling. Monzo only opened testing a week ago and it seems as though the two banks are constantly playing catch-up with each other. For two digital banks that seem to be mirroring feature launches by only a few days, this might be the first real divergence. Monzo launched their IFTTT function earlier this month and now Starling has joint accounts. Both features were asked for from the start by their communities. However, it seems that Starling might not be too keen on IFTTT for now until they can secure customer data for certain: Watch the interview and demonstration with Sam and Megan here on YouTube (or click play at the top). And be sure to follow @Fintechinsiders for the leading insights into the fintech space.