I’ve been using my Starling Bank card for sometime now and wanted to note down my experience traveling around Thailand with this card.
Before you start reading this post! At the time of posting, Starling Bank is only available to UK residents. So if your not from the UK this post isn’t going to be of any help 🙁
OK, if you’re still here! Lets get started…
I also want to point out that none of the links in this post are affiliate links. I’ve also not been asked or paid for this post! I’ve been using my Starling Bank card for sometime and really do think this is one of the best cards to use while traveling .
What Is Starling Bank?
To start off, Starling Bank is a British Bank Awards winner and fully-licensed bank with all accounts protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. So your in safe hands!
At the time of writing this article, Starling have five different account types – personal, business, joint, teen and euro. You sign up via the app from the App Store or Google Play. You manage everything from within the app, and a few days after signing up you are sent your card.
Can I Travel With Starling Bank?
In short, yes! Starling is perfect for traveling. Starling wont charge you ATM fees, you get Mastercard’s globally accepted exchange rate and Starling don’t add commission. You have 24/7 customer support from within the Starling app and you can also lock your card from with in the app.
I’ve used the card locking option a few times and it’s instant. I’ve been at the ATM and locked my card in the app and then tried to take money out, no money for me! I then unlocked the card and tried again… I had access to my money.
The Starling app also notifies you on every transaction you make, be it taking money from the ATM or using your card in a store. So for those that like to keep track of your spending while on holiday, Starling makes it that much easier. The transaction will also show you the location!
Starling Bank’s Interest Rate And Fees
Starling pays 0.5% AER up to £2,000 and 0.25% up to £85,000 which isn’t to bad when you think about it… My Revolut and Monzo don’t pay any interest at all.
When using the Starling card in Thailand, you will be charged the Mastercard’s exchange rate. You can use the Mastercard Currency Conversion Calculator if you work out the charges.
Does Starling Bank Give Free ATM Withdrawals?
With Starling you wont be charged ATM fees. Unfortunately the ATM’s in Thailand will charge you a local ATM fee, this is out of the control of Starling. You will find that no matter what card you use, you will be charged a local ATM fee while in Thailand.
You are ‘limited’ to a £300 daily ATM limitation and a maximum of 6 ATM transactions per day. This has never been an issue for me, but worth knowing all the same.
This is also a better limit than say the Revolut card, as you only get £200 per month free, and then you are charged 2% thereafter.
A little tip when using the ATM is to choose the option “without conversion” and allow Starling to handle the conversion as you’ll get a much better rate.
Can I Use Starling Bank To Pay Hotels, Shops etc…?
Yes! 100% no issues at all. You can use the Starling card where-ever Mastercard is accepted.
Who Is Eligible For A Starling Bank Card?
At the moment Starling Bank is only available to UK residents.
- At least 16 years old (18 years old for a personal account)
- Valid government-issued photo ID
- Proof of address
- Create a video selfie
How Do Get A Starling Bank Card?
You simply download the Starling Bank app from the App Store or Google Play and follow the sign up instructions.
You will be asked for passport or UK driving licence, and take a short video of yourself. This is for identification purposes.
How Do I Use The Starling Bank Card?
Once your card arrives in the post you will need to activate the card within the Starling app. Once activated you use the card as you would any other bank card.
How Secure Is Starling Bank?
All the Starling accounts are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) so you would be covered for up to £85,000.
When you sign up for a Starling account you are asked for a copy of your passport or UK driving licence, and take a short video of yourself. This is to help prevent identity fraud.
The Starling app is secured with a mandatory per device PIN code, a password and you can also use fingerprint or facial recognition.
You also have real-time notifications for every transaction you make and you can lock the card from within the Starling app.
You can find out more about the security of the Starling accounts over at the Starling Bank website.
Other Starling Bank Services
Starling Bank currently have accounts for personal, business, joint, teen and euro.
Starling also offer personal loans and overdraft services.
You can also send money abroad to 38 countries in 20 currencies worldwide including euro, US dollar, rand, baht and zloty. All from within the Starling app. In the same way you would with Transferwise.
Pros And Cons Of Starling Bank
- Protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
- No ATM fees – £300 daily ATM limitation and a maximum of 6 ATM transactions per day
- Mastercard’s exchange rate
- Real-time notifications for every transaction you make
- Easy to use mobile app – budgeting and saving features, including spending categorisation and saving goals
- Transfer money abroad from within the app
- There are no Starling Bank branches – But you do have 24/7 customer support from within the app
- If you lose a card abroad you will be charged £60 to have a new card sent out to you
While this is only a brief overview, you can see that the Starling card has a lot to offer. While Starling Bank is a good alternative to other travel cards, you have to remember that this is a proper current account. You will end up having another current account in your name. If this bothers you, then maybe Transferwise, Revolut or Monzo might be the way forward.
Personally for me I use my Starling Bank card as my main card when traveling, my wages are paid into another account. This keeps my money safe in the event anything does happen! I then have my Transferwise and Revolut cards as my backup. My main bank account card is still with me and would only get used as my backup backup card… So far it’s never come to that!
If you have questions on using the Starling Bank card in Thailand, feel free to leave a comment below. And if you’ve used the Starling Bank card on your travels in Thailand share your experiences with us 🙂