Starling Business Account: International payments

Remay Villaester (May)
4 minute read

In an increasingly global world, businesses are expanding their operations internationally - meaning they are looking to find the best ways to pay suppliers abroad and receive payments from overseas clients.

Starling Bank offers an online business account that lets you send money to bank accounts in 38 countries¹, as well as free domestic transfers.

This article will take a closer look at some of the fees involved in sending payments internationally with a Starling business account.

Get better exchange rates and cheaper international transfers with Wise for business

Starling bank international transfer

Can I make international payments with Starling bank? The good news is that if you have an account, or you get the Starling app and sign up there, you can start sending payments overseas reasonably quickly. You can send money in 20 currencies¹.

You have a couple of different options, depending how quickly you want the payment to arrive. Use Priority Delivery with SWIFT and you can send a direct bank-to-bank payment. It's faster than the usual 2 - 5 working days transfer time, but it also comes at an extra cost.

The other option with Starling is a low cost payment. This has a lower transfer fee, but it can take longer (depending on the currency) - as the payment goes through a local partner.

Luckily, you have alternatives like Wise that is both fast and cheap.

But, how does Starling stack up with money transfer specialists like Wise when it comes to fees? Let’s take a look at how much it would cost to send £1,000 GBP to Europe (EUR) using Starling’s SWIFT payment option, and the quick and secure global transfer service from Wise.

Fee type Starling Bank¹ Wise²
Transfer fee £5.50 £3.69
Currency conversion fee 0.4% 0
Total GBP converted £990.50 £996.31
Exchange rate 1.1566 1.15680
Amount received €1,145.61 €1,152.53
Note: The exchange rate changes constantly and the amounts mentioned above can vary according to the rate at the time you make the transfer.

Receiving international payments with Starling Bank

Can you receive international payments with Starling Bank, and if so - how much does it cost?

As a business bank account customer with Starling, you can receive payments from other countries. However, there are some limitations when it comes to currency. At present, you can only receive payments in either EUR or GBP³. If you’re invoicing an overseas country, they’ll need to pay you in one of these two currencies - no others will be accepted into your Starling account.

How much it costs to receive international payments also depends on the currency. It’s free to receive payments in GBP, but a 2% currency conversion fee⁴ will apply when receiving EUR.

Want to receive payments in more currencies? Wise could be the better option, as it lets you receive money in EUR, GBP, AUD, NZD, RON, HUF and SGD² for low to no fees, depending on the currency.

Here’s how Wise compares to Starling Bank when receiving €1,000 EUR:

Fees Starling⁴ Wise²
Receiving fee 2% Free

Receiving international transfer for free with Wise

A Euro or US Dollar account can make it simpler to trade in each of these particular currencies, but it’s still pretty limited. What about businesses that want to trade worldwide, without having to pay complicated fees and open separate accounts?

If you want smooth, seamless business transactions in over 50 currencies, choose Wise. From the one powerful multi-currency Wise Business account, you can receive payments for free, pay invoices in 70+ countries for small fees and with a bank-beating exchange rate. You can even automate batch payments of up to 1,000 at once, and integrate everything into your accounting software.

With Wise, you’ll even get an IBAN and other account details so you can get paid in the local currency.

It’s international banking without the bank, but with the same peace of mind when it comes to security - as Wise is FCA regulated, with end-to-end encryption and sophisticated anti-fraud processes - it's simply one less thing to worry about.

Start saving today with Wise

What do you need to make international payments?

If you’re ready to make your first global payment, here’s what details you need to hand:


To make an international payment, you’ll nearly always need an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) for your recipient’s bank.

What is an IBAN? In a nutshell, it’s an extra piece of information that banks in other countries can use to identify your account and direct payments there. Banks use an IBAN calculator to combine your local account details, which forms your IBAN.

Your IBAN is additional to your sort code and account number. If you’re making a SEPA transfer, you’ll almost always need to provide an IBAN.

When it comes to what bank details are needed to receive money, your IBAN will also come in handy. When you sign up with Starling, for example, you’ll receive an IBAN along with a BIC (Bank Identifier Code). You can use this on invoices to overseas clients, so you can receive payments from abroad straight into your account.

SWIFT code

The SWIFT code is another code used in international banking, particularly when sending payments through the SWIFT network of banks.

Just like the IBAN, your SWIFT code is used by overseas banks to identify your account and direct payments.

Sort code

You may also need your Starling Bank sort code and account number of your recipient’s account to set up an international payment. It depends where you’re sending to, as in some cases a sort code will be needed in addition to an IBAN or SWIFT code.

Recipient’s detail

As a general rule, you’ll need to provide the following information about your recipient:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Business information (if relevant)
  • Bank name and address.

Starling business bank account features

Starling offers a free digital business account, currently used by around 350,000 business owners in the UK⁵. Its FSCS regulated account offers the following features⁵:

  • Mobile and online banking
  • Free UK transfers
  • International payments
  • Mobile wallets such as Apple, Google, Samsung and Garmin Pay
  • Managed scheduled payments
  • Instant payment notifications
  • Free mobile app
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • Receipt capture and spending analytics
  • Mastercard debit card
  • Integration with accounting software such as Xero and QuickBooks
  • Free 24/7 UK support by email, phone or app.

Starling also offers multi-currency accounts for business, but at present these are limited to a Euro and a US Dollar account.

There’s a monthly fee (on top of Starling’s currency conversion fee) but you can send, receive and hold your chosen currency with greater simplicity than with an ordinary Starling business account.


So, that’s all you need to know about Starling Bank international transfers in one handy guide. We’ve covered how much it costs to send and receive money worldwide with Starling, plus the details you’ll need to set up a transfer. You should be all set, but just make sure to check that you’re getting the best transfer cost before you hit ‘send’.

Sources used for this article:

  1. Starling bank website
  2. Wise Price page
  3. Starling bank help post
  4. Starling bank fees and rates
  5. Starling bank - Business account

Sources checked on 02-June-2021.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Wise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

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