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Starling Bank vs Tide Business: Which One Is For You?

In many ways, Starling Bank and Tide have a lot in common. Both aim to deliver a simple and good value banking solution that utilises the latest technology. Starling Bank are better known for their consumer banking product, but also offer a business service, whilst Tide are focused solely on business customers. Let’s see what they each have to offer, and how they compare.


Starling Bank Business vs Tide – Plans, Costs & Fees:

Starling Bank Business:

The basic Starling Bank business account is free. They do have certain key features that incur a fee, such as the Business Toolkit. The extras are:

Business Toolkit£7 per month
EUR Account£2 per month
USD Account£5 per month

Starling also have certain other costs:

CHAPS transfers within the UK£20 per transfer
International paymentsa charge of 0.4% of the payment amount is levied for currency transfers & payments by SWIFT incur a £5.50 fee
Using the Post Office to deposit cash£3 if under £1000 or 0.3% of the total amount for deposits over £1000.

Tide Business:

Tide give 3 account levels to choose from:

Tide FreeFree
Tide Plus£9.99 (plus VAT) monthly
Tide Cashback£49.99 (plus VAT) monthly

Tide’s aim is to keep as much functionality within their free package as possible. They then charge fees for various account functions:

Debit card paymentsFree across all tiers
ATM Withdrawalsall account tiers – £1 per withdrawal
Transfers into or out of your account£0.20 per transfer. The paid tiers give free allowances:
Tide Plus: 20 free transfers each month,
Tide Cashback: 150 free transfers.
Cash depositsDeposit cash via the Post Office into your account at £1 per deposit. Alternatively use PayPoint locations, which is charged at 3% of the amount deposited

/ Verdict /

Starling Bank and Tide have one very stark difference within their charging structure; cost of making or receiving payments. Tide charge £0.20 per payment into or out of the account, whereas with Starling Bank payments are free. On this basis, we give this round to Starling Bank.

Starling Bank Business vs Tide- Features:

Starling Bank:

Business Toolkit: Whilst the basic account is free, the majority of the most useful, time saving features are included within the Business Toolkit:

Accounting Software Integration

Your Starling Bank account can be connected directly to your accounting software.

Instant Invoices

Send invoices directly to your customers via the Starling Bank app.

Tax Estimates

The app will automatically analyse your account, and estimate the taxes that will come due.

Automatic Expenses

Automatic filters categorise your expense spending.

Record & Submit VAT

The app calculates a running total of your VAT.

Bills Sorter

Upload bills into the app to easily schedule payments.

To Do List

Keep track of all important financial events such as VAT or tax deadlines.

Currently the Business Toolkit cannot be used from the smartphone app, users must log on via a computer.

Tide Business:

Accounting Software Integration

Automatically connect your accounting software to your Tide account. Many packages are supported, including Sage, Xero and Quickbooks.

Desktop Access

Use your account from a computer as well as the smartphone app.

Invoice Management

With the invoice assistance tool, you can use the Tide app to chase outstanding invoices automatically.


Automatically match receipts to your bank statements by uploading the images.

Instant Notifications

Keep informed of account activity in real time.

Staff Expense Debit Cards

Get 1 free card on the Plus tier, and 3 free cards on the Cashback tier. On the free account cards cost £5.

Tide Business Formation Service

If you have not incorporated your company yet, then Tide will do it for you, and integrate it with your Tide account.

/ Verdict /

Both Tide and Starling Bank have extremely impressive features which would assist any business. With Tide, all elements are included within the free version, whilst with Starling, customers need to pay the monthly fee for the Business Toolkit. This one is incredibly close, but we are going to give it to Tide.

Starling Bank Business vs Tide Business – Safety/Security:

Starling Bank:

Due to their status as a fully licensed UK bank, Starling Bank customer deposits are protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to £85,000 per customer.

In 2021, Starling Bank announced that they had reached profitability. Their business appears stable, as they have millions of consumer and business customers. The average amount that their customers deposit each month is significantly higher than their challenger bank competitors. It appears that customer can be assured that Starling Bank will be around for a while.

In 2021, Starling Bank scored the highest of any UK bank in a study of banking security.

Tide Business:

Tide does not currently have a UK banking license, and as such, customer deposits are not protected under the Financial Services Compenstation Scheme (FSCS). Tide state that this is not an issue, as all customer funds are 1) kept completely separate from the Tide company money, and therefore are protected if Tide were to go out of business and 2) the funds are never used to lend out, unlike other banks, so the funds are safe.

In late 2020, Tide stated that they would be partnering with Clearbank, who are a licensed UK bank, so they can offer FSCS protection to their customers.

/ Verdict /

Given their status as a licensed bank, and noted security features, we give this round to Starling Bank.

Starling Bank Business vs Tide – International Business/Other Currencies:

Starling Bank:

  • Starling Bank give all customers a GBP account as standard, plus they can get an additional  EUR account for £2 per month, and a USD account for £5 per month.
  • Receive international payments into your Starling Bank account free.
  • International currency transfers are made at the interbank rate. The charge is a flat fee of 0.4% of the amount transferred.
  • Transfers via SWIFT are charged at £5.50 per transfer. It is also possible to make cheaper transfers without SWIFT, but these do not have the flexibility and reliability of SWIFT.


  • It is only possible to make or receive payments to a small number of countries outside of the UK. The country list is here.
  • Tide do not allow all account holders to automatically make international payments. Rather, users must apply for an International Currency Account.

/ Verdict /

At the current time, Tide do not have a particularly impressive offering for international payments or currencies, whilst Starling Bank have a wide range of simple and good value features that would allow a business to operate across borders. A clear win for Starling Bank here.

Starling Bank Business vs Tide Business – Verdict:

Either Tide or Starling Bank would be a great choice for any UK business wishing to modernise their banking. As to which would be best for you? Well, it really depends on what your business profile is. If you are a business that operates just in GBP, and does not make or receive a lot of payments, then the features of Tide, along with their 100% focus on business banking, make it hard to choose against. However, if you do have a large number of payments into your account and/or you operate in currencies other than GBP, then we would say Starling Bank would suit your needs better.