Online bank Starling introduces vertical bank card

The mobile-only bank has designed two debit cards that are portrait-orientated and hide customer details on the back, in a bid to improve security and be used more intuitively.

Mobile-only bank Starling has launched a new vertical debit card to “reflect the way people use cards today”.

Starling is a digital-only, UK-based bank that was founded in 2014. It provides customers with regular banking services, such as current and business accounts, setting up direct debits, standing orders and payments, viewing transactions and bills, earning interest and connects to payment services such as Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Its new vertical design has been applied to two debit cards, for regular current accounts and business accounts, and has been designed Starling’s in-house art director, Mark Day.

Designed for “intuition”

Starling says the vertical orientation has been chosen for people’s intuition and convenience, in terms of slotting cards into ATMs and card machines, or tapping them on readers for contactless payments.

A colour scheme of teal and navy has been chosen, with teal for the personal account card and navy for business. The teal has been chosen for its “unstated and cool hue”, says Starling, and has been inspired by the plumage of the starling bird. It also aims to reflect Starling’s history as a digital brand, as teal is one of the 16 original colours that was formulated for the internet in 1987.

Day also made the decision to remove the “clutter” from the front of the card, placing the customer name and banking details on the back, with only the bank name and Mastercard logo on the front.

As well as cleaning up the card, this is also a security feature, adds Starling, as it makes it harder for onlookers to copy personal information.

“Just common sense”

Day says: “Great design is about more than just making things look good – it’s about finding a better way of doing things, being responsive to cultural and technological shifts and adapting outdated things to meet emerging needs.

“Our lives are largely lived in portrait now, even down to how we use our phones. A bank card in portrait reflects how we actually use our cards today – it’s intuitive, instinctive, and just common sense.”

Tide introduced vertical cards earlier this year

Starling is not the first digital-only bank to introduce a vertical debit card – in March this year, start-up business bank Tide introduced the format for similar reasons of reflecting today’s trend of viewing things in portrait on mobile. The design also saw the customer’s details hidden on the back of the card for security reasons.

The new Starling cards are being rolled out to new customers this week, and will be sent to existing customers when their old cards expire.

Hide Comments (3)Show Comments (3)
  • Jeremy July 25, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Tode isn’t a bank though

  • Katy July 26, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Love the design. That’s turquoise though, not teal…

  • Craig July 26, 2018 at 11:14 am

    I’m not convinced by the design. Seems like a wasted opportunity to make a truly portrait card. This is very much a landscape card with a portrait logo on the front.
    I’d be keen to know what technical constraints required the back of the card to be landscape (legibility to camera-based card readers, minimum allowed size of credit card number, legally mandated positioning of hologram label?). I’m not seeing innovation, in fact, when compared to the Tide card I’m seeing very much an ‘us too’ project.

    The app uses a very clean and simple segmented circle to show spending, considering the card is an extension to the app (the card can be locked or unlocked via the app for security) it’s strange that there is no hint to the wider functionality in the design language. Starling Bank isn’t prominent or prestigious enough (yet) to be a statement in and of itself so I’d have wanted to see something else apart from the logo. Think HSBC Premier World Elite cards but certainly not gaudy like the Coutts World Silk card (yuk).

    I believe the brand in general is in need of a secondary colour palette. Everything is navy and turquoise (that’s definitely not teal, sorry) so there is nothing defining about using the blue for business, nothing to direct me to business-focussed features of stand out from all the other “blue for business” cards in my wallet.

    One thing is for sure, the account itself looks fantastic, as a product I will definitely be looking into it.

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