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Tide Business Account Complete Review – In Or Out?

Tide are a UK based Fintech, offering finance services to customers within the UK market. Unlike their main competitors, Starling Bank, Monzo and Revolut, they are focused solely on the Tide business account – they do not have an offering for personal accounts.

Formed in 2015, and launched out of beta in 2017, Tide claim to have over 200,000 business account customers as of late 2020.

Tide are not a licensed bank. Therefore, customer deposits are not protected under the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so if Tide were to go out of business, any funds could be lost.

As of early 2021, Tide appear to have made an arrangement with Clearbank, who are a fully licensed UK bank, and therefore covered by the FSCS. They are in the process of converting all of their existing accounts so that they are held by Clearbank, but customers will still use the Tide app and functions to manage their money.

Bright blue Tide logo against white background
Business Banking with Tide – Tide Logo

Contents

What is the Tide Business Account?

The Tide business account is an app first digital ‘challenger’ bank, that aims to simplify the processes and reduce the costs of business banking for UK businesses. As it is a recently established product, their systems are based on the most modern technology, and as such they offer a more seamless and customer friendly user experience than the traditional high street banks.

How does the Tide Business Account work?

Notable Features:

Accounting Software Integration

Directly integrate your Tide account with accounting software packages such as: Xero, QuickBooks, FreeAgent, ReckonOne, Kashflow and Sage.

Mobile & Desktop Access

Access and manage your Tide account from both your smartphone app and via the Tide website on your computer.

Send and Manage Invoices

Send invoices direct to your customers from the Tide app.

The Tide business account is available in 3 tiers:

Tide Free

Tide Business Debit Card

Expense cards for staff – £5 per month per card

Transfers in and out – £0.20 per transfer

ATM Withdrawals – £1 per transfer

Read only account access for staff

Accounting software integration

Up to 5 business accounts

Tide Plus

Tide Business Debit Card

Expense cards for staff – 1 cards included, then £5 per month per extra card

Transfers in and out – 20 free per month, then £0.20 per transfer

ATM Withdrawals – £1 per transfer

Read only account access for staff

Accounting software integration

Up to 5 business accounts

Priority in-app & phone support

24/7 legal support

Tide Cashback

Tide Business Debit Card

Expense cards for staff – 3 cards included, then £5 per month per extra card

Transfers in and out – 150 free per month, then £0.20 per transfer

ATM Withdrawals – £1 per transfer

Read only account access for staff

Accounting software integration

Up to 5 business accounts

Priority in-app & phone support

24/7 legal support

Dedicated Account Manager

0.5% cashback on any payments made with Tide card

Who is the Tide Business Account for?

Any business owner in the UK will understand the frustrations that can come with banking. Traditional high street banks are enormous organisations that have been around for decades (some for centuries!), and as such, can be very slow to move along with new technology. In addition, they often have huge legacy technology systems that any new technology has to communicate with – which can often slow things down and negatively affect the customer’s experience.

Tide, along with other Fintech ‘challenger’ banks such as Starling, Monzo and Revolut, don’t have this problem. They are new start-ups, so they have built their systems from scratch in the last few years, utilising modern technology and creating efficient and simple systems that provide a more seamless customer experience than many of the traditional banks.

Therefore, any business, whether new, or established, and looking for a more user-friendly way to manage their finances, could find a good solution with Tide.

Tide is a digital, app focused bank, and has no actual branches. Therefore, it is not possible to go into a branch and speak to someone if there is an issue with your account, you have to rely on messaging via the app or calling their customer services.

Tide are not particularly strong when it comes to international payments, especially compared to certain competitors such as Revolut. Therefore, if your business trades internationally, then Tide may not be the best choice.

Sole traders can see how Tide ranks against the competition in our article comparing the banking options for sole traders.

How to use the Tide Business Account?

To sign up for a Tide business account is simple:

  1. Download the app on your smartphone from the Google Play or Apple app store.
  2. Verify your identity – you will need your ID for this.
  3. Provide various details about your business.

Tide claim that of new applications:

‘53% opened their accounts in under 10 minutes, 70% in under 60 minutes, and 81% within 48 hours.’

Tide have certain eligibility rules in regard to what types of business they allow to open accounts with them. Business owners should check if their business will be eligible before downloading the app.

How much does Tide Business Banking cost?

There are 3 account tiers for Tide business:

Tide Freeno monthly charge
Tide Plus9.99 GBP (plus VAT) monthly
Tide Cashback49.99 GBP (plus VAT) monthly

In addition, there are costs for certain functions within the Tide account:

Bank transfers (in or out)0.20 GBP per transfer
ATM cash withdrawals1 GBP per withdrawal
Cash deposits via the Post Office1 GBP per deposit
Cash deposits via PayPoint3% of the total transaction value

Is the Tide Business Account safe?

Tide is not a licensed UK bank, but rather an E-money provider. This means that the customer deposits are not protected by the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Tide state on their website:

‘Tide holds the equivalent of the e-money we create for our members in what we call a Safeguarding account with Banking Circle. This is a ring-fenced account that can only hold funds for our members e-money relating to our International Currency Accounts feature. No other funds such as fees, Tide’s own funds, or any other companies’ funds are allowed in it.

Moreover, the funds in this account can never be loaned out by the credit institutions to other customers and, as such, are not exposed to risk. Because your funds will never be reinvested, they don’t require FSCS protection (which is only required where credit institutions reinvest and take risks with your money).’

Businesses looking at the Tide account would need to assess the above information and decide whether they feel comfortable with this.

Tide Business Account Reviews – what are people saying?

Tide has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 – great – on Trustpilot, with over 7,000 reviews. Many of the positive reviews highlight the ease of use and simplicity of the app, and how helpful the customer service team are. Out of the reviews, 22% are rated 1 out of 5 – bad. This is a rather higher percentage of bad reviews compared to some of their competitor’s Trustpilot ratings.

Within these low rated reviews, customers are complaining about the lack of support for international payments, and some other issues that every bank usually has i.e. frozen accounts, lack of customer service etc. One complaint that seems to come up quite regularly is in regard to Tide’s lack of support for international payments.

Tide Business Account Alternatives

Tide Business Account Pros & Cons

Pros

Their support for integration with accountancy packages is broader than their competitors.

Tide are a business only product – they do not have a consumer account. Therefore, all of their services are dedicated solely to the requirements of businesses.

Cons

Tide is not a licensed bank; therefore, customer deposits are not protected under the FSCS.

Tide are a branchless bank, and any cash deposits have to be made via PayPoint locations or post offices. There is a cost for each deposit, so Tide may not be appropriate for business who handle a lot of cash.

Not the best choice for businesses who send and receive a lot of international payments.

Certain banking functions appear quite complicated compared to competitors.

Conclusions

Tide is one of many app based digital start up banks in the UK, that have a product aimed directly at businesses. Unlike the others, Tide are focused only on business banking/finances. Therefore, Tide would potentially offer a more targeted product. The feature set of the product is very similar to that of their competitors, and it is debatable whether they have anything that really makes them stand out. However, Tide should definitely be part of the thought process when researching a financial provider for your business.