Today, Starling, a London digital challenger bank, is kicking off the preparations to apply for an a banking licence in Ireland, as it launches support for euro currency accounts this week.
The euro account is offered to the users who are based in the United Kingdom, the euro account will be made available alongside the existing pound account of Starling in order for customers to hold, send and receive euros with no monthly fee. The ability to pay in euros using the debit card of Starling will be added later this year.
The move signifies a sizeable step-up in the battle to win over consumers in the United Kingdom, entering a space that is diluted by multi-currency offerings from other fintech companies such as Monese, Transferwise, and Revolut.
Anne Boden, the chief executive of Starling Bank, was scheduled to be in Dublin today to begin the preparations for the application of the bank for a full European banking licence in Ireland.
Currently, the fintech company operates on a UK banking licence, that is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Even though this grants Starling the financial passporting rights across the European Union at present, those permissions will end when the United Kindom leaves the bloc.
Boden initially promised the entry of the bank into Europe via accounts in the Republic of Ireland in 2017, before later extending the schedule until the end of 2018. As of today, the bank is perceived to still be testing the waters before fully launching its services outside of the United Kingdom.
Starling said that it had designed the account for Europeans living in the United Kingdom, those who work here but are paid in euros, or those who need to make payments in euros on a regular basis. The waiting list of the bank for multi-currency accounts has been open since September, and it has already received thousands of applications.
Boden said that the functionality is being put in place in order to prepare the Brits for the life after Brexit.
She added: “The first phase of our euro accounts offer is a landmark moment as Starling sets European expansion in its sights for 2019.”
She stated: “Soon we will have debit cards for the account, taking us one step further down the path of bringing the Starling experience to people living outside the UK.”
Starling is believed to be courting its second major fundraising round, valued at £80 million. It comes after a mega-round from Monzo, its unicorn rival, last November, which was able to raise a total of £105 million in venture capital and equity crowdfunding.