When you’re first starting out with your own business or start-up, it’s often tempting to just use your own personal bank account for your finances. It’s easy, doesn’t cost any extra fees, and means you can have instant access to your cash. However, in the long run, you’ll always need to have a separate account, whether it’s for legal, tax, or clarity reasons.
Choosing the right business bank account can sometimes be difficult. There’s a lot on offer, catering to different sizes and types of companies. However, the rise of challenger banks means that it’s easier than ever to get set up with your account. One such newcomer to the market that’s worth considering is Tide. We’ve covered everything you need to know about their business banking offering here in our Tide review.
Digital / App
Account ready time
Minutes to days, depending on checks
No, but other finance available
Yes (Free Tide to Tide)
Quick look – pros & cons
As with every provider, there are positive and negative aspects of Tide’s service. Before we take a deep-dive, here are some of the notable pros and cons:
Simple to use app that allows you to manage your money with your Tide and other accounts.
Reasonable charges and fees compared to competitors.
Create business invoices and share details with your accountant simply by using the app.
Safe and secure to use, and covered by the FCA and PRA.
No direct customer service, only mobile contacts.
International money transfers can’t be made using the account.
Doesn’t have all of the features of a traditional bank account, making it unsuitable for some businesses and startups.
You can’t pay in cheques and cash.
What is Tide?
Tide is a company that offers alternative business accounts that you can open within minutes. Their product is aimed at smaller companies and freelancers who are in need of separating their business and personal finances.
The company first formed in 2015 as a fintech venture and has since grown from strength to strength.
The main focus of Tide is on app-based and card-based banking. You can set up an account, manage your finances, and order a MasterCard using the Tide app. The entire experience uses their smartphone software, giving a streamlined way of banking.
The company first formed in 2015 as a fintech venture and has since grown from strength to strength. At the start of 2019, they secured £60 million of funding to expand their offering when they partnered with ClearBank.
How does a Tide account work?
The basics of the Tide account are really quite simple. Like many other challenger banking apps, all you need to do is sign up for an account and follow the on-screen prompts. The whole process takes just a few minutes, and it’s free to sign up. You’ll only need to provide some basic information about you and your business, as well as verify a couple of forms of ID.
Once your account is set up, they’ll send you a free Tide MasterCard, which takes around three days to arrive. However, once the sign-up process is complete, you’ll immediately be able to start using your new business account provided there are no additional security checks. You can make transfers and payments using the app, although Direct Debits may take longer to get set up.
It’s as simple as that. Once you have the app installed, you can manage all of your money and finances, as well as your physical MasterCard from the smartphone interface.
What features does Tide have?
Despite being a relatively simple way of creating a business account, there’s a lot you can do with the app:
See an overview of your account balance, transactions you’ve made, and upcoming payments.
Create categories and tag expenditure to give you a simple breakdown of your spending.
Connect multiple accounts to keep track of your business activity.
Freeze and unfreeze your card, check your PIN number, and reorder a lost card.
Easily create and pay invoices, either through the app or on a desktop.
Integrate your transaction feed with a variety of accounting software and easily download and export statements and transaction information.
Access live chat and speak to dedicated members of the support team at any time.
Easily set up Direct Debits and standing orders.
Those are just some of the features you can expect from Tide, and you get all that with a quick sign-up, no credit checks, and no need to go into a bank.
What are the fees for using Tide?
Business banking can sometimes get expensive, yet Tide has some surprisingly low fees for using its service. Because the company has so few overheads and no physical locations, they can afford to offer their business accounts without charging a monthly fee. So, you can access all the great features mentioned above without paying much at all.
Business banking can sometimes get expensive, yet Tide has some surprisingly low fees for using its service.
There are some attached transaction fees, however:
Transfers between bank accounts cost 20p a time.
ATM cash withdrawals are £1 a go.
Cash deposits through the Post Office are £1, and through PayPoint are 3%.
That’s a pretty impressive offering and means that you can make card payments in the UK and abroad without getting charged. If you’re overseas, you’ll get the MasterCard exchange rate and don’t have to pay foreign transaction fees. However, you can’t currently make transfers to overseas accounts.
Your initial MasterCard is free, and if you lose it, you’ll also be eligible for a free replacement. Additionally, if you’re transferring between Tide accounts, you won’t be charged anything.
Who is a Tide Account for?
If you’re a new small or medium-sized business owner or freelancer, a Tide account could well be suitable for you. The fact that it’s so easy to get started and set up the app means you can start making and taking transactions with minimal effort. If you deal with a lot of UK companies, send a lot of invoices, and want to integrate your bank with your accountant or accounting software, Tide is a great choice.
Those who need to make a lot of cash withdrawals and payments may not find this account suitable. The fees can get a little pricey when doing so. Similarly, if you need to make transfers to overseas clients, you’ll have to do so elsewhere.
If you deal with a lot of UK companies, send a lot of invoices, and want to integrate your bank with your accountant or accounting software, Tide is a great choice.
Some business owners will want the reassurance of a face-to-face person to help them set up and manage their account. Although Tide’s customer service is good, it’s limited to a text chat on the app.
What are the drawbacks of a Tide account?
As with every account, there are some drawbacks to using Tide:
You can’t deposit cheques, and cash deposits can become tiresome and expensive.
If you lose your phone, you lose access to your Tide account.
It requires a constant internet or data connection, which is troublesome if you’re in remote areas.
You can’t make or accept international transactions, which can limit your expansion.
You don’t get any face-to-face contact or customer service.
Some of these may not affect you, and others will be bearable. Ultimately, you must decide what your business banking needs are and whether Tide can meet them.
How safe is Tide?
One thing that you can rest assured about is that your money is safe with Tide. Their parent company is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations. This means that the money in Tide accounts is protected by Safeguarding accounts – Tide doesn’t invest or loan out your money, and so it’s not at risk. Even if Tide were to file for insolvency, your money is safe.
In terms of the app, your account is password protected, and you have to authorise any payments made on your card. Every time you sign into a new device using the Tide app, you’ll have to provide a selfie to verify it’s you. If you do lose your smartphone, you can email Tide to freeze your account and card.
Tide – our verdict
Tide offers a service that will be ideal for many SMEs and freelancers. It’s incredibly simple to get started with, and using the app to manage your finances is straightforward. The fees are reasonable for most activities, and you can rest assured that your money is safe.
If you’re a cash-based business or make a lot of foreign transfers, this is perhaps not the account for you. Similarly, if you need the reassurance of a physical branch, you won’t find that here.
Ultimately, we’re very impressed with most of what Tide does.
Tide Business Bank Account Review
What we think
Tide offers a service that will be ideal for many SMEs and freelancers. It’s incredibly simple to get started with, and using the app to manage your finances is straightforward.