Starling Bank flips the debit card on its head

Starling Bank flips the debit card on its head

Starling Bank is working to upend the payments card, flipping the card to a vertical axis and doing away with embossed numbering in an effort to more accurately reflect the way people interact with plastic at ATMs and checkout counters.

Starling's art director Mark Day says the redesigned debit cards are more like an extension of the startup's banking app, streamlined and stripped back with all the card details printed on the back rather than embossed on the front.

"Design usually evolves to solve something or to meet new needs, and bank cards don’t look the way they do by accident," he says. "They were designed landscape because of the way old card machines worked, and they’re embossed with raised numbers so they could be printed onto a sales voucher. But we don’t use those machines anymore, so when you think about it, a landscape card is just a solution to a ‘problem’ that no longer exists."

In the end, he says the team couldn’t find a reason good enough to carry on using a design based on antiquated needs.

"From how you slot your card into an ATM or a card machine to how you tap it for contactless, our lives are largely lived in portrait now, even down to how we use our phones. A portrait bank card reflects how we actually use our cards today; it’s intuitive, instinctive, and in short: it’s just common sense."

Comments: (14)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 24 July, 2018, 09:483 likes 3 likes

I like Starling Bank, but this simply smacks of desperation to be in the news. You turned your logo sideways on a piece of plastic and this is news? As an aside - I take my card from my wallet, landscape style, the mag stripe is landscape, sentences read better landscape, my tv looks better lansdscape. You had outages recently. I would like to know my money is safe. Less about the logo and more about the strength and security of the system please!

Stephen Baseby
Stephen Baseby - The Association of Corporate Treasurers - London 24 July, 2018, 10:021 like 1 like

And during the Great Visa Outage, some retailers were able to resort to using old card manual machines. Starlign cards wont be able to manage that.

As to the GSO, a timely example of what happens when the computer (we are told only one in this case) does not work.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 24 July, 2018, 10:561 like 1 like

At least 2 years ago my Credit Union (GECU) issued cards (ATM/Debit/Credit) with text both horizontally and vertically which I find particulalry user friendly - it's landscape in my wallet and when using the card portrait text across the top edge tells me what it is ('Visa Debit') avoiding using credit by mistake etc. They also work well in wallets when stored in portriat as the top edge gives clear indication.  

Jonathan Bowles
Jonathan Bowles - ImpactApp - Odiham 24 July, 2018, 11:12Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

what about partial sighted people who find it useful - bad mark for Starling

if you want to do something cool get rid of plastic and have something to shout about 

i could tell you how to take up a level of value without playing at tweeks

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 24 July, 2018, 11:161 like 1 like

I love the amount of hype this is getting on here and on twitter with Starling being praised for getting the card schemes to change their rules, being super innovative, etc.  I've a lot of time for Starling but this really isn't new - Virgin have been doing them since 2015 and Bunq have been vertical since launch too.

 

Jonathan Bowles
Jonathan Bowles - ImpactApp - Odiham 24 July, 2018, 11:16Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

we need innovation not minor changes to the user interface

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 24 July, 2018, 11:362 likes 2 likes

Whilst Starling has a lot going for it, they have, I fear, made one significant mistake. Unlike Revolut and Monzo, they use a questionable offshore company to process our card spending. This means Starling have to focus on front end gimmicks like orientation on the plastic instead of being able to guarantee that our personal data is not sitting resident in RAM in an offshore server waiting to be hacked.  This is the achilles heel.  

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 24 July, 2018, 18:431 like 1 like

LOL not so long ago these neobanks and challenger banks used to claim that mobile wallet to replace plastic cards was innovative. Now they're claiming that changing the orientation of plastic card from landscape to portrait mode as innovative! At least, they're finally on the right track!!

Jonathan Bowles
Jonathan Bowles - ImpactApp - Odiham 24 July, 2018, 20:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes The card won’t die However making it smart rather than leaving it dumb is a trick I worked out years ago but I’m waiting for someone to do it leaving the current tool in the past
Roy Marsh
Roy Marsh - Finastra - London 25 July, 2018, 08:44Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes Just two weeks ago on holiday every other payment needed an old card machine. Such hype for a cosmetic change. I can’t help thinking the ‘challenger bank’ time has come and gone. What we have now are just ‘banks’.
Daoud Fakhri
Daoud Fakhri - GlobalData - London 25 July, 2018, 09:40Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Many websites that take payments for online purchases give you the option to capture an image of your card using the camera function - these all appear to be configured for landscape cards, so will they work with portrait-configured cards?

Daoud Fakhri
Daoud Fakhri - GlobalData - London 25 July, 2018, 09:43Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Ah, ignore my last comment - the card number is printed in landcape on the back. Should've checked before posting...

Bill Trueman
Bill Trueman - Riskskill.com - London 25 July, 2018, 10:081 like 1 like

Mmmmmm. Marketing hype only. If they wanted to stir things up and reflect current use, they might also have dropped the magnetic stripe; and perhaps the signature panel (or put that on the front under the logo - with the hologram. Even then the Hologram is no longer needed (in a 100% CHIP on line environment!).  But then the card scheme rules woudl have been impossible to get past because of their fall-back requirements and interoperability. 

So, as others have said: it is all just desperation to get into the news rather than anything tangible.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 25 July, 2018, 10:142 likes 2 likes

To be fair Bill - the chip rollout in the states isn't going very well so issuing a card which many people value for the low travel fees that wouldn't work in a lot of the USA is probably not ideal....maybe in a few more years!

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