#USA Challenger bank Starling adds investment service Wealthify to its in-app marketplace


Starling, the U.K. challenger bank founded by Anne Boden, continues to execute on its “marketplace banking” vision, adding integration with Aviva-backed online investment service Wealthify.

Starling already has an existing partnership with digital investing service Wealthsimple — meaning that the Starling Marketplace is getting a little more competitive — along with mortgage broker Habito, travel insurance provider Kasko, and receipts & loyalty partner Flux.

However, the Wealthify integration goes a little deeper than most of the current partnerships and represents the next phase of the Starling Marketplace. Unlike PensionBee, for example, which only shares high level data with the Starling app (e.g. the size of your pension pot), Wealthify data-sharing is two-way, meaning that you can authorise Starling to share a limited set of your Starling data with Wealthify to make it a lot easier to sign up to the investment service.

“When a customer clicks ‘add’ from within Starling, new Wealthify users are then asked if they’d like to securely share Starling data with Wealthify (e.g. name, DOB, address, etc as well as account number and sort code for setting up the direct debit, if they want),” Starling’s Chief Platform Officer Megan Caywood explains. “And if they say yes then that auto-populates many of the fields in the Wealthify setup”.

Furthermore, Caywood says Starling is looking to advance each of it partnerships to get to this two-way integration, where Starling customers can more easily access products and services and manage them on an ongoing basis.

More broadly, the idea behind marketplace banking is that your bank will provide you with access to a choice of third-party money-related apps and services. The battle between banks and fintechs isn’t a zero sum game. Partnerships are being forged at a rapid pace, either formally or simply through open APIs mandated by Open Banking/PSD2 legislation.

Meanwhile, Starling isn’t the only challenger bank or fintech in the U.K./Europe building out a marketplace banking vision, in some form or another. To varying degrees, the likes of Monzo, Revolut, Tandem, Curve, and Cleo, are also exploring similar ideas with the end goal to become your financial control centre.

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