Tide business banking review – a good bank account for startups and small business?

Updated on 19 February 2024

In an increasingly smartphone-centric world, it’s increasingly likely that your business banking will be conducted on the move through a mobile app. Tide is a popular name in the world of online banking, but how does its service stack up when compared to competitors like Mettle and Monzo?

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What is Tide business banking?

Tide is an online-only bank, operating through an Android or Apple app on your smartphone or tablet. Established in 2015, Tide was one the first banks of this ilk and offers full FCA regulation.

Business banking alternatives compared

Revolut Business
✓ Business Current Account
✓ Award-Winning Mobile App
✓ Quick & Easy Application Process
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Tide Business Bank Accounts
✓ Free, Plus, or Pro Account
✓ iOS & Android Mobile App
✓ Upload & Auto-Match Receipts
Pricing Trial period Contact

Card One Money
✓ No Credit Checks
✓ Simple Fees
✓ Up To 3.5% Cashback
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ANNA Money
✓ Apply In 10 Minutes
✓ Bookkeeping & Payroll Tools
✓ User-Friendly Mobile App
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HSBC Business Banking
✓ Business Current Account
✓ In-Branch, Online & App Banking
✓ FSCS Protected
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Metro Business Banking
✓ Business Current Account
✓ High Street Presence
✓ FSCS Protected
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Mettle Business Banking
✓ Business Bank Account
✓ Online & App
✓ Quick & Easy Application Process
Pricing Trial period Contact

Monzo Business Banking
✓ Business Current Account
✓ Dedicated mobile app experience
✓ FSCS Protected
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Virgin Money
✓ Business M Account
✓ In-Store, Online & App Banking
✓ Insights & Forecasting Platform
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Is my company eligible for a Tide business bank account?

If you are aged 18 or older, and registered with HMRC as a sole trader or the director of a business listed on Companies House, you will be welcome to apply for a Tide business account.

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Your application may be declined if you have experienced credit issues in the recent past, especially bankruptcy. As is the case with most business banks, Tide also chooses not to work with certain industries. If your business operates in these sectors, expect your application to be refused upon assessment.

  • Adult entertainment, including dating, escorting, and modelling services
  • Auctioneering
  • Car washes
  • Cryptocurrency trading
  • Financial services, including lending
  • Gambling
  • Political endeavours
  • Precious stone or metal trading
  • Trading of CBD or unlicensed drugs
  • Travel
  • Unlicensed management and disposal of waste or scrap metal
  • Used car or heavy machinery trading
  • Weapons and arms trading

Be aware that Tide does not currently offer services for charitable or non-profit bodies. Look elsewhere if you need to open a charity bank account.

What business banking accounts does Tide offer?

If you choose Tide as your business bank account provider, you’ll have four choices of account:

A Tide Business account is free to open and operate, but you’ll still face charges per transaction (we’ll elaborate on these shortly) and will enjoy fewer additional services as part of your subscription. 

Tide Plus is probably the best subscription for a small business, or especially for a small trader. The fees are affordable, and you’ll enjoy some welcome perks, such as access to 24/7 customer support

Larger businesses may wish to invest a higher monthly fee and take advantage of Tide Pro or Tide Cashback, though the perks of these premium subscriptions are comparatively limited compared to Tide Plus.

How do I set up a Tide business bank account?

You can open your Tide account online, and it should only take minutes to get a decision. You can open a business account for a company or a sole trader, depending on your needs and circumstances. 

If you decide that Tide is the bank for you, use this link to sign up. This will provide you with a year of fee-free banking, and £75 cashback to get you started.

What are the advantages of setting up a Tide business bank account?

The convenience of using an app to manage your financial affairs will appeal to many, and even the free, basic Tide Business account allows you to raise invoices at the touch of a button. 

You can integrate the financial management software of your choice with Tide, and it’s free to make transfers between Tide accounts.

Tide partners with Iwoca to offer unsecured business loans of up to £500,000 to business customers. Your company may be eligible to borrow up to £150,000 and receive an answer in minutes, depending on your circumstances.

Tide makes a much faster decision than many competitors as to whether your application for a business account will be accepted. You’ll typically know in a matter of moments, rather than waiting several days as you will most other banks. 

What are the drawbacks of Tide business banking?

Unless you are willing to pay for a Plus, Pro, or Cashback account, customer service with Tide is very limited. You’ll need to upgrade and pay at least £9.99 per month – plus VAT – to access support within the app or over the phone. Tide Business account holders need to rely on email, so it may grow frustrating waiting for a reply to an urgent concern.

If you open a basic Tide Business account, you may not need to pay a monthly fee but a prepaid expense card will be chargeable at £5 per month, and you’ll pay 20p for every transaction in or out. Make 30 transactions in a single month and pay for a prepaid card, and it’s already cheaper to open a Tide Plus account – though you’ll still face transaction charges after completing 20 payments in a calendar month. At least this will grant you superior access to a customer support team and a dedicated account manager, though.

Tide does not offer a business overdraft facility, so you risk these fees sending your account overdrawn – and accruing penalty fees – if you operate at a minimal active balance.

Tide does not currently offer any facility for overseas transfers, so this bank account is only suitable for businesses and entrepreneurs that trade domestically unless you are willing to open a second account in a different currency.

What fees are involved with running a Tide business bank account?

If you decide to bank with Tide, you’ll need to be aware of the fees and charges involved. These vary according to the account you choose. All four of these accounts will charge you £1 for every ATM withdrawal made using a Tide debit card. 

Account nameMonthly feeTransaction feesPrepaid expense cardNotes
Tide BusinessFree20p per transfer£5 per monthBasic account with limited customer service support
Tide Plus£9.99 + VAT20 free per month, then 20p 1 free cardTelephone and in-app legal and tech support included
Tide Pro£18.99 + VATNone2 free cardsTelephone and in-app legal and tech support included
Tide Cashback£49.99 + VAT150 free per month, then 20p 3 free cards0.5% cashback on transactions completed using a debit card
Comparison of Tide business bank accounts

Consider how you go about your trading business, and consider whether you would be better served paying a subscription fee and accruing fewer charges.

What is Tide’s reputation among business banking customers?

Over at TrustPilot, Tide enjoys an Excellent ranking thanks to a score of 4.4 out of 5 from over 14,000 reviews.

With so many users at least some of those are negative, and it’s worth noting that Tide’s response appears to be a generic, “apologies for the convenience, let us look into this for you” copy-and-paste, but some 79% of all reviews offer 4 or 5 stars

We recommend you read through Tide’s reviews and assess whether you consider the negative feedback to be something likely to impact your business.

Tide business banking verdict

Tide has plenty to offer, especially if you are operating as a sole trader or microbusiness, but be wary of the restrictions – and potential for pay-as-you-go fees – associated with a free Tide Business account. Most people will decide that a Tide Plus subscription is the minimum requirement, so compare Tide with rival business accounts that charge for their services before making your choice.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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