STARLING SEES OPPORTUNITY IN YOUTH: UK neobank Starling has joined digital-only competitor Monzo by launching current accounts for 16- to 17-year-olds. The London-based challenger bank has said that the accounts will have the same functionality as its existing full current accounts, including the ability to track spending, savings, and digital payment options like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. There are 1.5 million young people in the UK, so this addition could help Starling meaningfully beef up its customer numbers by tapping into an entirely new demographic. Although the first half of 2018 saw a 7% year-over-year rise in account switches, UK consumers broadly have been remain reluctant to switch banks. In fact, a 2017 YouGov poll found that, of the 21% of Britons who wanted to switch, 48% didn’t end up doing so because they feared it would cause them too much hassle. By launching an account to attract customers before they open full bank accounts, Starling can get young people to start their financial journey with the neobank. The bank also announced it is rolling out Google Nearby features for all its accounts to allow Starling users to transfer money to each other without the need for bank account details. With a slew of digital-only banks jostling for customers, Starling’s decision to add to its arsenal with these new features will likely help it better compete in the crowded neobank market.


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