Intelligent Solutions

Automated GBP top-ups

Simon Woodhead

Simon Woodhead

27th May 2020

By Simon Woodhead

Effective immediately, any GBP prepayments sent to the right bank account, with the right reference, will be applied to your account automatically and immediately, where possible. This means no need for late night credit card top-ups and associated fees – bank top-ups to the right account with the right reference remain free and are available 24×7 now.

Please keep in mind that this is subject to the limits of Faster Payments (or indeed other mechanisms). We’ll credit you immediately on receipt but cannot control the status of inter-bank IT. Faster Payments are normally immediate but sometimes take a few hours, so please don’t rely on them being immediate. Our support team cannot help you if you left it until the last nano-second on a big banking day – in that circumstance you’d need to use the card top-up facility which will remain available.

There has been some debate in some quarters since we started charging for payments requiring investigation over what is a correct reference, and even suggestion that our requirements have changed. Our requirements haven’t changed in approaching a decade and as my past condescension isn’t enough for some, let me try again. The vast majority who get it right, thank you and please skip this!

We ask for your *account number only* for prepayments, emphasis on the ‘only’. If your account number is 939998 then this would be ‘939998’. ‘F Bloggs 998’, ‘Apply quick please’, ‘Urgent’, ‘May 2020’, ‘Account 939998’, ‘No Min Fee’ are all invalid – please just send only your account number (which is not 939998 by the way!). Only payments in this format sent to our Starling account will be processed automatically for free, any deviation will require human intervention for which a fee will be charged, and will only be possible during office hours.

When it comes to paying invoices we’ve always asked for you to put just the invoice number as a reference, and if you do we’ll know it is a payment of an invoice, whichever bank account you send it to. However, we do not show our Starling bank accounts on invoices because this is very rarely adhered to – it is not a mistake as some have suggested in conversations around prepayment references. You can send payments to our Barclays accounts (shown on the invoice) but if you’re able to set the invoice number as a reference you can use either. Be mindful though, if you send an invoice payment to our Starling account with only your account number as a reference, it will very likely be processed as a prepayment. We do run some checks to try and avoid this but putting the invoice number guarantees the right treatment. Of course, you can opt to settle invoices from prepayment, Direct Debit, or card in the portal.

All said, we’re incredibly grateful to you for sending us money! Doing so to the right account with the right reference simply ensures we do with it what you intended, 24×7 in the case of prepayments. Please see the support article if you need our bank details.

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