Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Starling Kite Review

Starling Kite – In Brief

Financial education is a crucial part of anyone’s upbringing. Understanding basic money management concepts is essential for thriving in the modern world. Starting this education early can set a child up for a successful financial future.

Starling Kite is a product from Starling Bank, often regarded as one of the best digital banks in the UK, attracting millions of customers with its user-friendly and straightforward banking app. In 2022, Starling Bank was awarded Best Children’s Financial Provider at the British Bank Awards, largely due to their Kite product.

Starling Kite – Pros & Cons


  • Child gets their own dedicated debit card to spend money and dedicated app
  • The app is linked to the main Starling Bank app, so parents have full visibility
  • Great for educating children about managing finances
  • Instant notifications to main account holder
  • Parent can choose where child spends money
  • Set savings goals in the app
  • Free ATM withdrawals and spending in UK and abroad
  • Perfect for managing pocket money


Only existing Starling Bank customers can open a Kite account, as the account must be linked to a main Starling Bank account.

What Is Starling Kite?

Starling Kite is not a standalone account but a sub-account linked to a full Starling Bank account. This setup enables parents to have complete visibility over all activities on the Kite account. Starling Bank accounts feature a tool called Spaces, which allows users to segregate their funds within the account. A Starling Kite account functions as one of these Spaces within a full Starling Bank account. A Starling Bank user can create up to 6 Starling Kite spaces within their main account.

Starling Kite Features

  • Easy to use smartphone Starling app – dedicated app for the child account for online banking
  • Mastercard Debit Card – with full contactless functionality
  • Instant Notifications – get informed of any activity on the account immediately (both main account holder and child)
  • Spaces – ‘virtual piggy banks’ within Starling Bank account, up to 6 on Starling Kite
  • Parent visibility – main account can see all activity on children’s bank accounts
  • Inappropriate payments automatically blocked – alcohol, tobacco, gambling and more
  • Parental Controls – main account holder can set spending limits and restrict translation types
  • Free ATM Withdrawals – free ATM withdrawals in the UK and abroad
  • Savings Goals – easily set up within the app
  • Transfer money from main Starling account – into the Kite account, free and instantly
  • Multiple Kite accounts – up to 6 per main Starling Bank account

Who Is Starling Kite For?

Starling Kite is designed for children aged 6 to 16 years old. Once they turn 16, they can apply for a Starling Bank young person’s account, which functions similarly to a full Starling Bank account but without an overdraft facility. At 18, they can open a complete Starling account.

Parents seeking an alternative to cash for pocket money can set up a Starling Kite space for their child. The child will receive their own dedicated debit card and app, while parents maintain full visibility of all activity through their main Starling Bank app and can set spending restrictions.

Starling Kite Costs & Fees

In late 2023, Starling Bank made the Starling Kite account free, eliminating the previous £2 monthly fee. Additionally, payments, ATM withdrawals, and card payments are free both in the UK and abroad, ensuring the Kite account won’t incur any costs.

Is Starling Kite Safe?

Starling Bank has implemented several safeguards to help parents manage their child’s debit card and account responsibly:

The bank automatically blocks various types of inappropriate payments, such as those at places selling alcohol or tobacco, gambling sites, dating services, and more.

Parents can set additional restrictions, such as daily spending limits, ATM withdrawal permissions, and online purchase capabilities.

Instant notifications of activity on the Kite app provide parents with full visibility of all transactions as part of their main Starling Bank account.

As a fully licensed UK bank, Starling Bank ensures customer deposits are insured up to £85,000 per customer through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). In early 2021, Starling Bank was rated the safest bank in the UK, outperforming both new smartphone-based competitors and traditional big four banks—Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC, and NatWest.

Starling Kite Alternatives

Parents looking for early banking options for their children have several alternatives. GoHenry offers a dedicated app and debit card focused on financial education (read our comparison here), and Hyperjar and Rooster Money are other options. Other large digital banks, such as Revolut and Monzo, also provide dedicated accounts for individuals under 18.

Starling Kite FAQ


Starling Kite has received many plaudits due to the ease of use and low cost. Parents especially like to be able to manage pocket money via their app rather than in cash.


Yes! Starling Kite removed the £2 per month fee in late 2023. Sign up now.


Yes, it is possible to make debit card payments and ATM withdrawals abroad, and as with the main Starling Bank card, these transactions. It is possible, however, for parents who manage the account to limit the different types of transactions a child makes with their card.

Starling Kite Verdict

Starling Bank customers appreciate the simplicity and cost-effective banking features the bank offers, and Starling Kite continues this trend. It is very user-friendly, with clear fees and a variety of safety features that give parents full visibility of their child’s spending activity including all online transactions. The only potential drawback is that parents must have their own Starling Bank personal account to use the app for their child.

Signup for Starling Kite

*Please note: This article may include affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps support our work and allows us to continue providing content like this.

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