Tide business bank account review – a new wave of business banking
What is Tide business banking?
Tide is making waves in the business banking market and has attracted more than 130,000 customers since launch in 2015. It is aiming to modernise what can be a long drawn out process of opening an account as well as making the actual process of running an account more user-friendly using technology. There are no branches and everything is managed from your smartphone, meaning you can manage your business’ finances on the move.
Is my business eligible?
Users need to be registered with Companies House as a director of that company or partnership. Sole traders and freelancers can also get an account but you need to be UK-based. You will need to be aged 18 or above, have a valid UK phone number and address, and a smartphone registered to the App or Google Play store.
The accounts aren’t available to everyone though. Tide won’t open accounts for those dealing in the trading of cryptocurrencies or precious metals and stone, money services such as foreign exchange, loan providers, money transfers and casinos, prize draws and other betting or gambling activities. Businesses that sell unlicensed pharmaceuticals cannabidiol (CBD) products or weapons, explosives or armaments also can’t open an account.
How does Tide business banking work?
Traditionally, when you wanted to open a business account you would have to book an appointment and then come with ID and outline your business and then wait for approval, which could sometimes take weeks. Tide is aiming to do things differently. The whole process can be managed online. There is no queuing or appointment required. All you have to do is download the app, explain what the business does and who the shareholders are, scan your ID and take a selfie to verify who you are. Tide says accounts can be opened within five minutes. You will get a full UK sort code and account number and business Mastercard. Don’t let the lack of bank branches put you off as you can still make deposits at the Post office or Paypoint, withdraw from any cashpoint and you can speak to someone by emailing email@example.com through the app or website to request a callback.
Tide business account features
- Free spending: Use your card to make purchases at home and abroad in any currency
- Automatic categorisation: Label your transactions for easy accounting to identify expenses such as sales and marketing.
- Easy accounting: Links with accountancy software such as Xero and FreeAgent and allows instant invoice payment and creation
- No monthly fees: No regular account charges or minimum amount necessary for free banking.
- Multiple accounts: Create up to four current accounts per company from, each of which will have its own unique account number. You can use these accounts for a specific expense such as marketing costs or to save for your tax. You can also order up to 35 team cards
- Account security: Freeze and unfreeze your account if you lose your card, get PIN reminders and order new cards all from within the app.
- Business loans: Apply for business loans of up to £150,000 through the app via partner business loans provider iwoca.
- Tide Plus: Pay £9.99 (£11.99 including VAT) a month for extra features such as dedicated phone support, 20 free transfers per month and a legal helpline run by Irwin Mitchell
- Tide Premium: Pay £49.99 (£59.99 including VAT) a month for additional features such as a dedicated account manager and unlimited transfers
How much does a Tide business account cost?
There are three types of Tide account. There is the basic pay-as-you go style Tide account, a paid-for Tide Plus account which has some extra features or a Tide Premium account, aimed at big businesses.
Tide, Tide Plus and Tide Premium account comparison
|Tide||Tide Plus||Tide Premium|
|Pay for what you use
(See pricing in next section)
|£9.99 per month plus VAT||£49.99 per month plus VAT|
|Blue MasterCard||Matte black MasterCard||White MasterCard|
|24/7 support but need to email to request a callback||Priority support and dedicated helpline 9am-6pm plus a 24/7 legal helpline||Dedicated account manager, £1,000 flexible balance and all Tide Plus features|
|20p charge per bank transfer||20 free bank transfers per month||Unlimited free transfers|
There may not be any annual charges, but users may still face paying some fees, see below.
Summary of Tide business account fees
|Bank transfers (in or out)||20p|
|Payments between Tide accounts||Free|
|Card transactions home and abroad||Free|
|Cash deposits (through the Post Office)||£1|
|Cash deposits (through PayPoint)||3% of the total transaction value|
Sole trader and Limited company banking limits
|Limits||Sole trader||Limited company|
|Single transaction limits||Receive up to £25,000 Send up to £10,000||Receive up to £50,000
Send up to £50,000
|Monthly limit (Both to send and receive payments)||£100,000||£200,000|
|Card transactions||Daily and monthly: £10,000||Daily: £10,000
Is Tide safe?
Tide may look and sound like a bank, but it isn’t. It is actually providing an e-money account from PrePay Solutions (PPS), which is a trading name of Prepay Technologies. It is this company that is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. This means all money must be held in a separate client account to ensure you are getting a level of regulatory protection.
As Tide isn’t a bank you don’t get Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection if it goes bust but PPS says it holds an amount equivalent to the money in Tide accounts to protect it should the company become insolvent. Tide does have plenty of security features. Accounts are secured with a PIN, thumbprints and face ID. All payments must be authorised through your smartphone and limits can be placed on payment amounts plus cards can be frozen immediately if they are lost or stolen.
Tide vs alternative business accounts
Tide isn’t the only app-based business account on the market. There are others that will let you manage your business’ finances from your smartphone, link with accountancy software and also provide a debit card for spending. There are some differences though.
Tide vs Starling Bank business
Starling Bank is slightly more generous than Tide as it doesn’t charge monthly fees to run the account or for any payments. You can also make deposits at the Post Office but this may end up more expensive as Starling charges £3 to deposit up to £1,000. It would cost just £1 with Tide. Additionally, withdrawals are free but the daily limit is lower than Tide at £300 rather than £500. Starling does offer an optional overdraft facility to everybody as well as access to other business tools and products through its marketplace. Read our Starling Business bank account review
Tide vs Revolut business
Revolut is an attractive option for businesses with a cross-border presence as you don’t just have to be registered in the UK to open an account and can hold multiple currencies. It offers a basic free account as well as three other paid options but the allowances are slightly more limited. For example, the free account charges £3 for international transfers and only allows five free local transfer per month. Revolut’s withdrawal limits are higher though at £3,000 per day and there are no limits on transfers in. Read our Revolut Business bank account review
- Quick setup
- Easy to manage account and track payments within the app
- No monthly fees and free-spending
- No face-to-face contact
- Doesn’t accept cheque deposits
- Must pay extra for dedicated support
- No personal accounts
Tide takes a lot of the hassle and administration out of business banking. You don’t have to waste time with an appointment and can set up your account any time of day. Everything can be managed from the app meaning you can keep your business going and manage its finances while on the move without having to worry about rushing to a computer to send an invoice or to cancel a lost card.
However, you do give up the relationship side of business banking as there is no branch you can visit if there are issues. Also, if you do need support and are not paying for Tide Plus or Tide Premium, you will have to rely on liaising by email. If you are running a small business and just need decent technology and an account to send and receive payments then this is a good option but you may have to consider paying for the extra services or looking at Starling or Revolut if you will regularly need customer support.
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