Accessibility issues

Why does accessibility always feel like an afterthought with Starling?

It’s one of the most disappointing things about them. Hopefully this is one they will fix quickly. I can see them getting into trouble before long.

They already fall foul of the equality act when it comes to the onboarding process, as they refuse to make reasonable adjustments for those with disabilities as outlined here:

And we know the adjustments they’d need to make are reasonable because Monzo have done them since day 1.

What if I can’t take the video?

We need the selfie video to verify your identity. So if you can’t take the video on your own device, you won’t be able to open a Monzo account.

You can always communicate in the video in other ways if you need to. For the “My name is…” sentence, we accept:

  • Spoken word
  • Written word (you can hold it up on paper)
  • Sign language (BSL, ASL, Makaton etc.)
  • AAC devices (augmentative and alternative communication devices)

I’ve asked Starling several times over the years when trying to go back and sign up. They will not accept any of those alternatives. I’m in half a mind to consider trying a test case against for violating the equality act.

With the spaces issue reported here, contrast needs to be good, even if it makes it a bit uglier.

Tbf the Equality Act is kinda a meme, I never understood how the government could place additional pressure on business to cater for those who make up a teeny tiny negligible % of business

Either the government should give businesses grants to adopt these systems for catering to disabled users or realise it’s not commercially viable to cater (although I see how in this particular case, Starling could adopt it w/ no large cost)

Alternatively I guess, businesses could spring up specifically for disabled users and work out their cost economics on that

  1. How do you know what percentage of business involves disabled users?
  2. If it’s “teeny tiny”, maybe it’s because it’s so difficult for disabled users to engage with them?
  3. Disabilities come in many forms… surely making sure that everyone has fair access to places, services, etc. is a good thing?

The equality and act and other laws and regulations aside that compel companies to take accessibility seriously, I don’t even think they’re the best argument for doing so. Accessibility can often go hand in hand with usability, and so when you design your products to better cater for disabilities, impairments, and other inequalities, you often wind up with a better experience for the rest of your user base too.

When building your product to be accessible, you’re not just building something that disabled folks can use too. You’re building something that can be easier to use for everyone.


Depends on who your business is aimed at.

I believe this is in the act. I don’t think a small business for example is compelled by law to go bankrupt catering for all disabilities. It’s just not viable.


Businesses only have to make “reasonable adjustments” for disabled customers; they don’t have to cater for every eventuality. Any changes that would bankrupt a business would certainly not be reasonable.


It’s pretty simple, I took a specific disability that affects my field in requirement for catering to (loss of sight/poor vision to no vision) and looked it up in India, a country who’s so populated it made up 80% of our Empire by population

Thought it would be a good measuring stick

But I guess another place to look could be the ONS, who say 18% of adults are disabled. But the thing is, some disabilities do not affect your use of a lot of things, as we can probably agree? For instance no legs would not impact your usage of a website

I’d actually just hazard a guess most people can use it fine, but if you’re so confident start lobbying for loan-grants; loans if it positively impacts the business or a grant if it turns out to be an exercise that doesn’t do anything but add burden

It definitely is for public sector and crucial services that absolutely everyone uses, but for certain things I don’t really see the point, for instance I don’t see why small business which is already immensely struggling should have to sweat over providing something at a potentially detrimental cost to business, before they’ve grown into at least a medium size business by U.K. law (I believe this is 50 employees?)

In the cases it does I’m all for it, for example I think contrast is very important and so is making things not require lots of clicks

This helps both the visually impaired and those who perhaps have a disability that requires them to use the iOS system where they go through each item and have to tap twice to get through one option as it reads out etc

Reasonable is the key thing here, what is defined as reasonable? Because if I get taken to court and go bankrupt in the process of trying to assert what is reasonable, it doesn’t really do much for me? The government should enshrine reasonability into law.

For example, if I’m a sole trader and the business is supporting my family: it’s not reasonable for me to spend income that would negatively impact my household

Similarly if I were a limited company, it shouldn’t be reasonable for me to negatively cut into shareholders profits without any other perceived benefit. And big companies that are loss making also as I recall, require to invest in these things even if they’re currently turning a loss

I’m all for accessibility but it should be proportional to specific circumstances and should be defined based on size of business and profitability; Apple should cater because they have $50bn in cash, 10k+ employees, a 50?% profit margin and a >1tn market cap

Your local chip shop should have to do little more than make reasonable adjustments that cost nothing: for example, an employee taking the food out to a customer who’s in a wheelchair that can’t get inside the store

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Could you provide a link to that? Would be interested to have a look through their data on that! It’s worth noting that accessibility isn’t merely restricted to catering for disabled though. There are a lot of other impairments out there which are not considered to be disabilities. Colour-blindness being one of the more common ones! 3 million in the UK. The equality act may not protect beyond disabilities, but I still believe it’s moral to take reasonable steps to cater to those. Contrast is the big easy one to do, which Starling have broken with this update.

Reasonable is left up to ambiguity so that it can be determined on a case by case basis, likely against the metrics you outline. Test cases in court usually determine if something is reasonable or not. In relation to my complaint about the onboarding process, I think it is a reasonable thing to do, and we need only look at the fact Monzo make accessibility adjustments as precedent. Nothing about the process or system need change on their end, they’d just need to allow a wider form of submissions.

There’s an argument for the video element being unnecessary too. RBS just wanted a photo of my passport for instance when I signed up with them recently. It feels like an unnecessary element these banks added to cater to the snapchat generation and seem cool, whilst serving as a way to get back into your account if you get locked out.

They certainly didn’t need to reinvent the process like they have done, but they did, so they have a certain responsibility to ensure that the new process they built doesn’t exclude folk on the grounds of being disabled. The easiest fix is to just to copy Monzo here. It won’t cost them anything to do that.

Okay it turned out to be the Executive branch, not ONS.

Some figures from St Andrews ^ and below be the Executive branch’s disability facts and figures:

ONS has some too, but I haven’t looked at the ONS page directly: Disability - Office for National Statistics

I don’t think there is, namely because the main industry I can see being affected is computing: there’s already plugins for the browser to fix things for colourblind (I think, anyways)

See, but by that logic it was unreasonable for Starling to use Proceeds of Crime Act as an excuse to ban crypto exchanges, because RBS clearly showed that it’s possible to maintain legal obligations and allow crypto exchanges (although I am challenging them on this via FoS)

One persons reasonable is not another’s and another’s assertion that it is doesn’t make it true.

They’d need to verify it, manually

Monzo use a partner, Starling don’t

RBS also has a branch network and can request you to come in, if needed. Odds are Starling has little plans to establish any branches.


Don’t they do that for regular videos anyway? I don’t see what difference it makes if the video they’re verifying has spoken or written word.

Where did you hear this? I got locked out of my Monzo account abou a year ago and had to send a selfie holding up a piece of paper with my name on at 3AM. AFAIK this was checked by the Monzo agent I was chatting to.

Edit: Monzo are not using a third party for this when it comes to manually reviewing these videos (though perhaps the automated aspect is). Found this from a Monzo employee on the community.

Hi @Ordog :wave:

It’s a combination of both! Our system checks all ID documents on upload, if all is okay, it’ll get approved.

If it thinks we need to double check something, it’ll be passed to COps, who then take a look and approve/reject the submissions :+1:

Usually the verification process doesn’t take too long, we try to stick with an SLA of below 2 hours (I believe)

There is a case study I contributed to being published by the Open University in July on this, if you remind me at the end of the month, I can hopefully share the relevant excerpt. It’s been tested in the courts IIRC and relying on third party software actually isn’t sufficient enough, and the company in question (I think it was Tesco, but could be wrong on that) had to make adjustments.

Edit: may have been a game company actually! Tesco I think was a different accessibility issue.

Yes but oddly enough I don’t think many Starling employees know BSL

Asked them directly when I was writing a report on some different aspects of industry players

So in other words the courts don’t accept that a valid option is good enough? So it’s not about being accessible, it’s about wasting company funds on accessibility when a solution exists

I’d be interested in seeing the excerpt though, will remind you if I remember

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I’m a big fan of the equality act.

As someone else said going from uni into the work place is like being transported into an episode of life on Mars :joy:

I had to deal with harassment from some dinosaur who was thankfully dismissed because of the equality act.


That’s almost a fifth, hardly teeny tiny!


I am perfectly entitled to think that the ONS statistics are based on an overly broad definition. As we know, government likes to broadly define things (see: Snoopers Charter, the recent policing bill)

My ATG savings are in HyperJar with a 4.8% aer bonus.

Only pennies tbf, but helps towards the transaction fees.

That said, atm I am still paying for shows with refund vouchers :man_facepalming::joy:


Imagine being that person who argues (badly) against something which is almost universally thought to be a good thing.


It’s a simple play on “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason”. I felt that it wasn’t adequate for a written format, as you read instead of listening

Although I’m rather grumpy as I’ve just missed a phone call I’ve been waiting weeks for, thanks NHS for not giving me a face-to-face, then giving me a phone call, then making that phone call in a generic timeframe, then taking that generic timeframe and calling me within the ten minutes I’m asleep for

So I’ll leave it there with a simple addition of: the sooner we scrap the NHS or let people be relieved of NI in exchange for private healthcare the better

Edit: they called back and I’m now on SSRIs again but this time I get therapy !

Wow, you’re just full of unpopular opinions in this thread aren’t you

@moderators Surely a lot of this thread should be split off?

As had been said, the number of people covered by the Equality Act is not small.

The law has existed in one form or another since the mid-90’s giving businesses plenty of time to get used to it.

I would certainly expect fintechs to consider these issues at the design stage when launching services.


That’s definitely one thing I do agree with :+1:
Probably not going to be the most popular of ideas among many, but if you are in the fortunate position to be able to have private medical insurance, then why should you have an obligation to pay for the public one?