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Flight of fancy: Starling Bank ponders debit card drone delivery

14 December 2016  |  8760 views  |  3 starling drone

Pigs might fly. And so, claims UK challenger bank Starling, might debit cards if its plan to make deliveries to customers via drones takes off.

As it gears up for a launch early next year, the startup claims to be busy on 'project murmuration' in a bid to provide the fastest, most efficient and environmentally friendly means of getting cards to new customers.

Various drone models have been tested to see how they handle the one pound weight of a debit card and its packaging but, with the bank admitting that it has yet to fly more than 400 feet, more work is in the pipeline.

Even if the practical issues are ironed out, chief marketing officer Deborah Keay concedes that Starling will need the blessing of the government and Civil Aviation Authority if the plan is to ever take off.

Nevertheless, the option of using the drones for the challenger bank’s official launch at the beginning of 2017 are now "in discussion".

Julian Sawyer, COO, Starling, says: "added: "Our current tests have all been short distance flights (no further than 400ft) by individuals, either indoors or within personal garden spaces. But we want to sit at the forefront of technology innovation."

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 14 December, 2016, 16:51

It must be a very slow news-day at Finextra for you to run this sort of gratuitous clickbait. This is the sort of article that degrades the value of your reporting (which on the whole is excellent)...  

I can imagine the whatsapp  messages - "Cards en route by drone" "Sorry due to gale force winds your card is now in the Bristol Channel" or  "Cards will be delivered in 4-15 working days, dependent on Wind/Rain/Snow/Hail conditions". Application form questions: Please Prison deliveries are possible (excludes dartmoor and high security prisons), please advise what time your exercise periods are?  

THis wWill make the security processes at the embossing bureaus look like overkill.  

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 15 December, 2016, 03:46

In our test flights we found that whilst we could carry a debit card, land the drone, and release the envelope. However, once the drone took off the "hot-air" from the downdraught blew the envelope away. Disappointed that carrier pigeons were not considered as a green alternative to compliment the brand name?


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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 15 December, 2016, 09:34

Well they could use flocks of starlings, bang on message there  -  the Envelope would be deposited under the  pile of guano by the front door.  (PS sorry about the mess on your car)

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