Digital bank Starling is coming to a high street near you in a tie up that allow its personal and business customers to deposit and withdraw cash over the counter at some 11,500 Post Office branches across the country.
Cash use across the UK now accounts for less than 50 per cent of all transactions, but despite this, the app-based challenger bank said that it was responding to the needs of its customers.
“Our customers still want to pay in cash and take money out [and] the Post Office has more outlets than all the other banks combined, so it became a very obvious channel to link up with.” – Julian Sawyer, head of banking services at Starling Bank.
Withdrawals and deposits via the Post Office will be free for Starling’s personal and joint account holders. Business accounts will be charged 50p for withdrawals, and a £3 fee will apply to cash deposits up to £1000. Deposits above £1000 will attract a 0.3 per cent fee.
Despite these charges, Starling claims that it is up to 70 per cent cheaper cheaper than high street banks offering the same service. And unlike many high street banks, customers of the digital only bank will also be able to see ‘near’ real time credit in their app account whenever they make cash deposits.
The tie-up will be particularly welcomed by those in rural communities. As the traditional banks continue to desert the high street, there are a claimed 1,500 communities left without access to in-branch services. In contrast, the Post Office has 6,110 branches in rural areas. Research by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) found that rural businesses were twice as likely to use Post Office banking services than those offered in-branch from a traditional high street bank.
While digital and challenger banks continue to innovate in an attempt to drag banking into the 21st century, Starling’s announcement is all about listening to what the customer wants and providing a service to meet those needs.