What is Tide business banking?
Tide* is making waves in the business banking market and has attracted more than 400,000 customers since its launch in 2015. Tide is aiming to modernise what can be a long process of opening a business 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.
Tide business account features
- Free spending: Use your card to make purchases at home and abroad in any currency
- Instant payments alerts: Keep on track of account balances and payments in one place
- Automatic categorisation: Label your transactions for easy accounting to identify expenses such as sales and marketing
- Never forget your PIN: Secure access to your PIN number within the app
- Apple Pay: Spend with Tide via your Apple products
- Easy accounting: Links with accountancy software such as Xero and FreeAgent and allows instant invoice payment and creation
- Freeze and unfreeze your card - if your card is lost or stolen freeze it within the app
- Easily manage expenses: Digitally upload and store receipts
- Keep on top of invoices: Send, pay and track invoices within the app
- No monthly fees: No regular account charges or minimum amount necessary for free banking
- Multiple accounts: Create up to five current accounts per company, each of which will have its own unique account number. You can use these accounts for specific expenses such as marketing costs or to save for your tax. You can also order up to 35 team cards
- Access your account via your computer: Easily log in to your account via your laptop/desktop and share read-only access with an accountant
- Set up direct debits/scheduled payments: Manage direct debits and setup or edit standing orders within the app
- Monthly statements: Download monthly statement as a PDF
- Business loans: Apply for business loans through the app
- Register a limited company: Register a limited company for free when opening a business account. (Currently only accepting single shareholders but more can be added by contacting Companies House directly)
- FREE cashflow insights: Control your cashflow, check your Experian credit score and gain access to flexible credit options with Cash Flow Forecast
- Credit builder - build your business credit score with Tide Credit builder
How does Tide business banking work?
Traditionally, when you wanted to open a business account you would have to book an appointment and follow a lengthy approval process 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 most accounts can be opened within ten 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 protected] through the app or website to request a callback.
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 Apple 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 much does a Tide business account cost?
There are three types of Tide accounts. There is the basic pay-as-you-go style Tide account, a paid-for Tide Plus account that has some extra features or a Tide Cashback account, aimed at big businesses.
Tide, Tide Plus and Tide Premium account comparison
|Cost||FREE||£9.99 (+VAT monthly)||£49.99 (+VAT monthly)|
|Free transfers in/out||0 (charged at 20p each)||20 free transfers a month||150 free transfers a month|
|Team expense cards||£5 per month (+VAT)||1 free expense card||3 free expense cards|
|Team member read-only access|
|Multiple accounts (up to 5 accounts)|
|Priority support in-app|
|Legal helpline (24/7)|
|Dedicated account manager|
How much does Tide cost?
Despite there being no monthly fees for a Tide free business account there are some charges which are outlined in the below table.
|Tide Basic Account||FREE|
|Tide Plus Account||£9.99/month (+VAT)|
|Tide Cashback Account||£49.99/month (+VAT)|
|ATM cash withdrawals||£1|
|Card transactions (UK & Abroad)||FREE|
|Transfers in and out||20p|
|Cash deposits (Post Office)||£2.50 up to £500, 0.5% of amount thereafter|
|Cash deposits (Paypoint)||3% of transaction value|
Sole trader and Limited company banking limits
Some limits apply to the Tide account depending on the business type but more information on these limits can be found within the 'Accounts' section of the Tide app.
Is Tide safe?
Tide currently has two accounts, one that is an e-money account and one that is a bank account with ClearBank. The e-money account is not a bank account and 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.
With the PPS account, 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. If you have a ClearBank account your money is protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Tide says it is in the process of migrating all accounts to ClearBank and you will have the option to update your account over the coming months.
Tide does also have plenty of security features and 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 Credit Builder
If you open a Tide business account you can sign up to Tide Credit Builder to improve your small business's credit score. Tide Credit Builder is available to Limited companies that have been incorporated for less than 2 years and that have had no CCJ raised against them in the last 6 years.
With the Tide Credit Builder, you take out a structured loan of £240 and pay it back over a period of 12 months. The monthly payments are then reported to the credit reference agency Experian which in turn should help to improve your credit score. At the end of the 12-month loan agreement, you will get the £240 you have paid returned to your Tide account and Tide will keep the interest payment which is just under £33.
With the Tide credit builder, there are no fees for early or late payments. It is advisable to cancel the Tide Credit Builder loan if you are experiencing difficulties repaying the loan as not making the payments will be reported to Experian and could harm your credit score.
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, check out our table below. For more information on the accounts mentioned in the table, check out our independent reviews:
Comparison table: Tide v Starling v Revolut v Monzo
|Regulated Bank account||*|
|Free UK transfers (limits may apply)|
|Free ATM withdrawal|
|24/7 customer support|
|Cash & Cheque deposits||Cash only|
*If your account is an e-money account it is not a regulated bank account or FSCS protected, Tide is in the process of upgrading these accounts to ClearBank
Tide vs Starling Bank business
Starling Bank doesn’t charge monthly fees to run the account or for any payments. Similarly to Tide you can also make deposits at the Post Office. Starling charges 0.7% to deposit money (minimum of £3) whereas it would cost £2.50 with Tide up to £500 and 0.5% thereafter. Additionally, withdrawals with Starling Bank are free but Tide charges £1. Starling does offer access to other business tools and products through its marketplace. For more information on Starling's business bank account 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 transfers per month. Revolut also charges an ATM withdrawal fee of 2%. For more information on Revolut's business account read our Revolut Business bank account review.
Tide vs Monzo business
Monzo finally launched its business bank account in early 2020. It offers a basic free account and a 'Pro' business account for £5 per month. The Pro account comes with additional features such as specialist tax pots, multi-user access, invoicing and exclusive business offers. Monzo is a fully regulated bank account and your money is protected by the FSCS for balances up to £85,000. It costs just £1 to deposit any money at any PayPoint with Monzo whereas Tide charges 3% to deposit cash with any Paypoint and £2.50 to deposit money at the Post Office up to £500, it's 0.5% thereafter. Cash withdrawals with Monzo are free whereas Tide charges £1 for each withdrawal. For more information on Monzo's Business account read our independent Monzo Business bank account review.
Tide customer reviews
Tide has a rating of 4.1 out of 5.0 stars on Trustpilot from over 11,000 reviews. 68% of customers rate it as 'Excellent' with customers commenting on 'great service' and a 'stress-free setup of accounts'. 20% of customers rate it as 'Bad' with customers complaining about payment processing wait times and problems with opening accounts. A common problem also seems to be the inability to contact customer services by phone so you are always waiting for an email response which can take time.
Pros and cons of Tide
Pros of Tide
- Quick setup
- Easy to manage account and track payments within the app
- No monthly fees and free-spending
- Build your business credit score with Tide
Cons of Tide
- 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 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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