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Is Starling Best For USA Trip?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Credit Cards
18 replies 1.4K views
Bluebird_SailorBluebird_Sailor Forumite
2 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Credit Cards
Hi Guys - not asked a question here before so please be gentle with me! Off to USA in May. Looking for a card to get cash out whilst there. Considering opening a Starling personal account and putting funds in it so I can withdraw cash via ATMs as well as use it for purchases. But a bit concerned that Starling say they send a notification every time I use the card - surely that'll cost me lots of roaming charges? Any thoughts/suggestions you can give me really appreciated.


  • jimbo26jimbo26 Forumite
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    Surely you will only get a notification if you have data switched on, or are connected to Wi-Fi? If you don't have data switched on whilst in the US you won't get notifications. If the notifications are via SMS then you won't be charged in any case.
  • MallyGirlMallyGirl Forumite, Board Guide
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    Moved to the general Credit Card board as it wasn't about stoozing
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-free Wannabe, Loans & Credit Cards boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to [email protected]
    Any views are mine and not the official line of
  • MalkytheheedMalkytheheed Forumite
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    Gets three sim for USA. No roaming charges
  • sazaccountsazaccount Forumite
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    Does it say if it is a text message or app notification (I'm sure that they are app notifications but I don't use Starling)? I have Revoult and it is an app notification that only comes though if I am connected to data or wifi. When I was in Japan I didn't have a local sim so the notifications would pop up when I got somewhere with wifi.
    Thanks to money saving tips and debt repayments/becoming debt free I have been able to work and travel for the last 4 years visiting 12 countries and working within 3 of them. Currently living and working in Canada :beer: :dance:
  • edited 14 January 2020 at 6:21PM
    DCFC79DCFC79 Forumite
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    edited 14 January 2020 at 6:21PM
    The notifications are done via the app and not a text message, you would see this is the case on google, I can do it on Android but cant speak for iOS though.

    Just don't have your mobile data on.

    You can even turn the notifications off.
  • NoodleDoodleManNoodleDoodleMan Forumite
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    Remember a Starling card will almost certainly incur ATM usage fees in the USA.

    Not from the card company - but from the ATM owners bank.

    I'm not up to speed on specifics, but as a general rule it's a fixed amount per transaction, so better to make a larger withdrawal than a series of smaller ones.

    A top rated "user friendly" credit card is recommended for North America - one that does't apply foreign currency fees for goods and services - Halifax Clarity and Santander Zero come to mind.

    Settle as many purchases as possible with such plastic, rather than greenbacks.
  • MadmaxmillianMadmaxmillian Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    We traveled the USA with a Starling card.

    We found that even though it is a debit card, it’s classed as a credit card in the USA, when trying to withdraw cash (it was confusing but didn’t affect any prices).

    Only snag, if you hire a car, you can’t pay at the pump with the card (albeit, non of our UK cards worked).
  • Gerry1Gerry1 Forumite
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    Only snag, if you hire a car, you can’t pay at the pump with the card (albeit, non of our UK cards worked).
    You should be able to. Try entering 99999 or the zip code of your hotel. If that doesn't work, just prepay at the till.
  • sausage_timesausage_time Forumite
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    For pay at the pump, enter digits from your UK card address postcode, padding with enough zeros at the end to make 5 digits. So SW1A 2AA would become 12000.
  • NuadhaNuadha Forumite
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    My experience in the US is that Starling works well. However, as already has been mentioned, US banks charge a fee for each ATM withdrawal from their ATM. The lowest I've seen is $1.75, the most has been over $4, but the average at most ATMs seems to about $2.50 - $3.00. It's a bit of a shock since most of our ATMs are free here. So, as advised, if you are taking cash out, do so in as few transactions as you can. It would be better if you just used the debit card to pay for things, rather than take the cash out. For tips I usually order a certain amount of $1 and $5 notes from a bureau de change or the post office before I go. I figure even though they're slightly more expensive, I'm not having to make unnecessary small purchases just to break 10s or 20s. Also keep in mind that if you use your debit (or a credit) card to pay in a restaurant, you can usually add the tip on to the bill, so you don't have to have a lot of tipping money.

    Don't worry about notifications, that's only if you have data on - and again, as someone said 3 is the best. I got an estimation coming back from the States one year that my estimated bill would have been £75,000 if I hadn't been on a Go Roam tarriff (was £17, now £15). Mind you I had used 11.5GB over the course of the month and loads of calls back home.

    If you have time and the means, what I would do is get a credit card. The Halifax Clarity is the best card now that Barclaycard have stopped offering theirs. This way you avoid the cash withdrawal fee, and credit cards are even more widely accepted in the US than the UK. They seem to work a bit better than debit cards, though I've only encountered problems with my starling in one regional chain of fast food restaurants. I have had really hit and miss with using credit and debit cards for Pay-at-the-pump, the Barclaycard was the only one I got to work, and yes I tried zip code 00000 / 99999, the digits from my postcode, etc. But I always just paid inside instead (after stubbornly trying half a dozen times).
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