Starling Bank flips its card design for the mobile, EMV era

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The U.K.’s Starling Bank markets itself as a digital bank that’s too modern for branches, and now it’s seeking an edge by offering a vertical payment card with all of the account details moved to the back.

Starling’s newly designed chip-enabled debit card is one of the first in the U.K. to concentrate all card data including the customer’s name, account number and expiration date on the reverse side, according to a Tuesday press release. The front of the card features only Starling's logo plus a Mastercard network mark.

The move could improve security by making it harder for fraudsters to spy on card data when used at payment terminals, Starling said in the release.

Starling's new card also bucks tradition with a vertical orientation, which Starling said reflects the “portrait” shape consumers are more familiar with from using mobile phone screens and suits the way consumers feed cards into payment terminals for chip-and-PIN transactions.

“A bank card in portrait reflects how we actually use our cards today; it’s intuitive, instinctive, and in short: it’s just common sense,” said Mark Day, Starling’s art director, in the release.

Allpay, a U.K.-based card manufacturer established in 2008, created the new card design replacing Starling's previous purple cards, a company spokesperson said.

U.S. card issuers for the last couple of years have been experimenting with card design by moving some or all customer information to the back side of certain credit and debit cards. PayPal’s Venmo Mastercard, introduced in June, also sports a vertical design in six colors.

London-based Starling Bank launched in 2014 and received its banking license in 2016.

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Debit cards EMV U.K.