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Starling joins SEPA payments system

Starling joins SEPA payments system

(13 December 2017 – Europe) Starling Bank has become the first of the UK digital challenger banks to become direct members and participants of the STEP2 SEPA Core Direct Debit and SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme, otherwise known as the SEPA payments system. 

The system will allow Starling customers to make seamless cross-border money transfers and builds on the company’s existing direct participation of the Target 2 payment system, providing Starling access to real-time settlement information and control features.

The system will support Starling’s payment services business - for both retail and wholesale banking - and is the next big step towards the company’s European expansion. Having secured its banking passport into Europe this year, the announcement goes one step further in allowing Starling to interact with other European banks, giving consumers an improved offer for cross border payments into Europe.

Last week Starling Bank became the first mobile only bank to be granted approval from the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority to offer customers direct access to a wide range of financial products, including loans, insurance, mortgages, ISAs and other investment products, all from within its app.

Starling Bank CEO, Anne Boden, said: “We are very excited about today’s announcements that will stimulate our expansion into Europe by ensuring our customers are not burdened by arcane financial arrangements that slow down cross-border payments.”

“Our SEPA implementation means that we are now well positioned to deliver payments quickly and conveniently to European customers starting with the Republic of Ireland in the first quarter of the Year.

"This is another important step towards our goal of offering both our retail proposition and our payment solutions to clients across Europe.”

Boden added that she expected the bank to break even by 2019. 

Meanwhile Starling is also keenly eyeing the enterprise market in the UK. It will apply for part of “Pool A” of grants worth up to £120 million for the development of business current accounts. The grant funding will come from Royal Bank of Scotland as a remedy for competition concerns stemming from its bailout by the UK government.

If awarded the cash in the second half of 2018 the bank will invest in creating an online platform for small and medium-sized businesses beyond the app-only platform currently offered to current account holders.

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