Digital bank Starling recently announced the introduction of virtual cards for its customers which will allow its users to better track and control their spending.

Starling already has budgeting tools built in, but the introduction of virtual cards takes things one step further. The cards which come in five different colours, will be linked to a savings space within the Starling app.

The unique card number and details can then be used specifically for making payments from that space, be it groceries, household bills or travel.

Helen Bierton, Starlings chief banking officer said:

“Our customers asked for virtual cards and we’ve delivered. Virtual cards allow people to completely compartmentalise their personal finances for better control of their spending, making it easier to stick to budgets.”

This enhanced budgeting now brings Starling into line with Monzo which offers virtual cards in its subscription plans, and Revolut which also offers virtual cards in its free plans. Starlings introduction doesn’t quite go as far as Revolut though in that there isn’t a throw-away online shopping card that is destroyed after every purchase.

In addition to the virtual cards, Starling is also bringing spending insights and analytics to its Saving Spaces. Previously such insights were only available for the main user account.

How to setup a Starling virtual card

  1. Head to Spaces in the app, and either create a new Space or choose an existing one.
  2. Tap ‘Manage Space’, and then ‘Create a virtual card’.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up a virtual card.

Starling mortgages to come soon

The new cards weren’t the only news item from Starling this week though. Starling dropped its strongest hint yet that it is actively developing a mortgage product.

In a recent customer survey Starling asked its users for feedback on new products and services. The survey contained five questions all related to mortgages. One of which specifically asked;

‘If Starling were to launch a mortgage product”, while other questions assessed what factors customers’ use to decide on a mortgage and where they would shop if looking to remortgage.’

Starling isn’t completely new to mortgages. The acquisition of buy-to-let lender Fleet Mortgages in 2021, and the purchase of Masthaven’s mortgage book in 2022 saw it amass a £2bn portfolio.

The bank has yet to offer its own direct to retail mortgage product though. The news shouldn’t come as a surprise, CEO Anne Boden herself has previously said that Starling offering mortgages was inevitable.

Starling’s entry into the retail mortgage sector would make it only the second digital bank to do so after Atom.

See our long-term review of the Starling digital bank account for more. 


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