Tide Business Account Review

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Tide has been at the forefront of revolutionising the financial market for SMEs in the UK. For the longest time, high-street banks have set the rules and requirements for businesses to get accounts, and new and small businesses have always been locked.

With the Tide Business accounts, the playing field is now levelled. Businesses can now do it in a few hours instead of taking weeks or even months to set up an account with a traditional bank. With the account, businesses also get access to various features that reduce administrative work and make it easier for businesses to manage their finances.

But is the Tide Business Account the right option for you? Here’s a closer look at what the account offers to help you decide.

Tide Business Account Overview

Tide is an emerging financial services solution that has attracted over 500,000 customers since its launch in 2015. Tide aims to modernise what can be a long account opening process for businesses and make it easier to run the account and manage business finances. If you’re in a rush and want a business account that won’t be a pain to open and has minimal requirements, Tide is an excellent choice.

Besides the swift account opening process, Tide also offers various features and tools that make the account user-friendly. The account can be managed from your smartphone, so you always have the financial heart of your business in your palm, even when on the move.

One of the unfortunate things about Tide and other neobanks is that there are no physical branches. That poses a problem to customers who prefer that physical presence, especially when sorting out a problem. But they do offer other methods of reaching customer support and completing your business without branches.

Who is a Tide Account Best For?

One of the upsides of a Tide business account is its flexibility. It is a great account for any 21st-century business needing an account quickly. As long as your business doesn’t use cheques and doesn’t work with international payments, this could be a great account for you.

The account is also great for cash-based businesses. It works fine with online payment providers such as PayPal, Stripe, Zettle and GoCardless. That makes it ideal for various businesses such as;

  • Startups
  • Sole traders
  • Micro-entrepreneurs
  • Micro-businesses
  • Self-employed
  • Small companies
  • Small shops
  • Independent traders
  • Freelancers
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Builders
  • Joiners
  • General all tradespeople

Tide business accounts help small business owners manage their finances while offering transparent, low-cost banking services. It’s also a great option for freelancers who can benefit from Tide by separating their personal and business finances.

A Tide business account can help simplify the business’s accounting and tax season preparation. It makes financial management more efficient and reduces administrative hours.

Besides helping businesses avoid the hassle of traditional banking, some of Tide’s business accounts can help you keep overheads low and are an excellent option for budget-conscious users.  

When looking at Tide business accounts, most people wonder if the account is really free. However, there are different types of accounts you can choose. There is a free account with no monthly fee; you just pay 20p for transfers. However, there is no phone support for this account.

How a Tide Account Works

A Tide business account merges the most essential features of traditional banking with modern digital features that make running a business account easier. You can use the Tide business account to receive and make payments like a traditional business checking account. You can also track expenses, which consequently eases tax reporting.

Besides making financial management a breeze, a Tide business account also integrates with some of the best accounting tools, reducing manual data entry, enhancing accuracy in financial records, and allowing you to share your business’s financial transaction history with your accountant.

Getting the Tide business account up and running is just as easy. The entire process is managed online, helping you avoid queues and long waiting times and saving you the trouble of making an appointment.

According to Tide, most accounts can be opened within ten minutes, and they provide you with a full UK sort code, account number, and business Mastercard.

How to Open a Tide Account

The process of opening a Tide account is online or via the Tide App. You can get a message with a link to download the app.

Submit your basic business information, which includes your name, phone number, email address and limited company name.

Use the app to scan your ID and take a selfie for verification purposes. You can scan a driver’s license, passport and most European national ID cards, which are among the accepted forms of IDs on the app.

Provide any additional details about your business, such as the number of directors and what your business does. It’s vital to be as clear as possible to ensure Tide understands the nature of your business.

Most business accounts on Tide are approved within minutes, and once approved, the account is active immediately. You will receive a bank card delivered to you within a few days.

The streamlined nature of the application process allows you to quickly establish a business account and change your focus to getting new customers and managing your business.

Requirements

To open the account, you need to meet several requirements. First, you must be 18 years or older and have a valid UK phone number.

  • Your company should be a limited company registered with the UK Companies House or a sole trader registered with the UK tax authority (HMRC).
  • You need a valid UK residential address
  • You must have a device registered to a UK app store such as the App Store or Google Play. The app is necessary to download the Tide app, which is essential to the account opening process.
  • Individuals not based in the UK but with European identification documents and a company registered with UK Companies House may be eligible to open an account with Tide.

You cannot open a Tide business account if your business is in any of the following industries;

  • Third-party funds
  • Businesses that hold, manage, or control a client’s funds in a Tide account
  • Insurance companies or brokers
  • Trading of cryptocurrencies
  • Whole of precious stones and metals
  • Investment (including real estate investment)
  • Money services
  • Casinos, prize draws and other gambling or betting activities
  • Sales of unlicensed pharmaceuticals or health supplements
  • Sale or trade of CBD products s
  • Trading of weapons, armaments or explosives
  • Unlicensed trading and processing of scrap metal
  • Unlicensed waste management
  • Community Interest Companies and charitable incorporated organisations

You can get the full list of industries restricted from having a Tide business account to determine whether your business can open the account.

Key Features of a Tide Business Account

Tide offers its users an extensive range of features depending on your account type. Understanding the features and how they can transform your banking experience is vital as it will help you determine the right Tide business account for you. Some of the key features you will get with a Tide business account include;

Pay from almost anywhere

With the Tide Mastercard, you receive after opening your account, you can pay for your business essentials, book a trip abroad or even buy drinks for your team. The card is accepted almost anywhere that accepts in-store and online card payments. You just have to keep an eye out for the Mastercard logo.

An additional benefit is that when you use the card outside the UK, you won’t pay any extra charges on top of the standard Mastercard fees.

Pay using contactless

Another time-saving feature you get to enjoy with the Tide business account is contactless payments. You just have to look for the contactless symbol. The feature works with Apple Pay but has a daily limit of £300. However, with Tide, you must enter your PIN after every 6th contactless transaction you make.

Keep track of your spending

Tide offers tracking and categorising of your business expenses. The account has a receipt importer on the Tide app and Tide on the web. The importer helps to match the receipts to the relevant transactions.

Different account categories will save you valuable time and unnecessary headaches. Additional features and tools on the Tide account help you keep accurate financial records that help you show your true earnings for taxation purposes, and should your business need a mortgage, you can get a better deal.

Cash withdrawal

You can use the Tide Mastercard to access cash whenever you need it. You can withdraw cash from any ATM with the Mastercard logo in the UK and most overseas countries. The standard fee for making the withdrawal is £1 per withdrawal.

Member Perks

As a member of Tide, you can enjoy a wide selection of deals on products and services that your business needs. These include business support, legal and funding support and even digital marketing services. However, most perks are only available to premium account members.

Spending limits

Spending limits is not a term businesses want to hear, but it is one of the safety and security features digital banks employ to prevent fraud. Tide has a monthly limit set for your card payments to minimise your exposure to potential fraudsters and their chances of taking more of your money.

The spending limits are carefully considered and varied depending on the type of business ownership. Sole traders have a spending limit of £25,000 per month and £20,000 per day. The spending limit for limited companies is £75,000 per month and £20,000 per day.

Pay by PIN

Tide has an additional layer of security that requires you to enter your PIN for every 6th contactless transaction you make with your Tide card.

You can safely access your PIN in your Tide app by tapping the card icon and then “Show PIN.” This is a handy feature that comes in handy when you need to refresh your memory. However, it doesn’t apply when you make payments via Apple Pay.

3D Secure (3DS)

This is another security feature available on Tide that confirms that it’s really you spending your money. With 3DS, you will be asked to complete an additional verification step when paying online using the Tide card or any Expense Card.

Zero liability protection

Mastercard guarantees that you won’t be held responsible for any unauthorised transactions made on with your Tide card. This applies to ATM transactions and any kind of online or in-store purchases.

You are protected by this policy as long as you use the card safely and report any loss or theft of your money to Tide as soon as you know it.

Now that you know the key features you get with a Tide Business account, you’re better equipped to determine if it is the right account for your business and whether it has the features you need to help it flourish.

Types of Tide Business Accounts

As mentioned earlier, Tide offers various business accounts. Some are free, and some are premium. Premium accounts offer more features and tools to help you manage your finances easily and more effectively.

Tide Free

This entry-level plan offered by Tide is ideal for small businesses and freelancers looking to improve their financial management without parting with a monthly fee.

Like other Tide plans, the free version lets you hold up to 5 business accounts and order up to 50 expense cards for your team members. From the account, you can schedule payments, among other essential features.

Under this plan, Tide users don’t have 24/7 legal and phone customer support. You will also be missing out on the member perks that are reserved for exclusive members.

Tide Plus

You should consider the Tide Plus account if you’re okay with paying a small monthly fee to get more premium features. Being an entry-level premium plan means you get access to more features without paying through your nose for it.

The most notable feature you get from this account is access to Tide’s excellent customer support and exclusive member perks, which are missing from the free version.

The member perks you get with a Tide Plus account introduce you to a world of discounts with Tide’s partners that provide various services. Some of the member perks include;

  • Hot desking (as you’d find with some of the best UK VoIP services)
  • Business insurance and legal advice
  • Marketing boosting capabilities

You still retain access to all the handy features you get with the free account and one expense card free of charge, and you don’t pay fees for 20 transfers each month.

Tide Pro

A quick look at all the perks you get with a Tide Pro account suggests that the monthly fee is a small price to pay for all the benefits you will be getting.

This premium Tide business account offers unlimited free transfers per month, and you get 2 free expense cards that you can give to your team or co-workers.

Customer phone support is available for longer hours, and you have access to a 24/7 legal advice helpline. You also get member discounts and a matte black card. All this for £18.99 a month.

The account is an excellent option for scaling businesses that need more features and tools to keep up with their growing demands.

Tide Cashback

The Tide Cashback account is the most advanced premium business account under Tide, with stellar features that keep your business in touch with the fast-changing financial world.

You have to part with £49.99 a month for the Cashback account. It’s worth noting that the account gives you 0.5% cashback, hence the name when you spend using its debit card. That means your cashback subscription can pay for itself if your business spends over £10,000 a month on stock or any other expenses on your Tide debit card or your team’s expense card.

With the cash account, you also get dedicated account management that is available nine hours a day during business hours, customer support services, and support with trademark filing and disputes, among other benefits you get with the free and Pro accounts.

You can also integrate the account with accounting tools such as Xero, Sage, Quickbooks, etc. The only feature you don’t get on Cashback is the unlimited free transfers. However, you won’t pay any fees for 150 transfers per month.

Before you sign up for a Tide business account, here is a rundown of some of the benefits and drawbacks of working with Tide.

Benefits of a Tide Business Account

  • Tide has a simple and easy-to-use app that makes financial management easy and effective.
  • The account offers reasonable charges and fees compared to competitors
  • You can create business invoices and share details with your accountant by using the app
  • Tide is safe and secure. It is covered by the PRA and the FCA

Drawbacks

  • There is no direct customer service. Only phone contacts
  • International money transfers can’t be made using the account, but you can withdraw cash abroad using the Mastercard
  • It doesn’t have all the features of a traditional bank account, like lending. It might be unsuitable for some businesses and startups
  • You can’t pay in cheques or cash when using Tide

Is Tide Safe?

Safety is a huge concern for banks that don’t have a physical presence, and there is a similar concern with Tide. It started as an e-money service. While some customers might still have e-money accounts, it is not a bank and such accounts are provided by PrePay Solutions (PPS).

You don’t get Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection with the PPS account. Also, most Tide customers are likely to have a ClearBank account. If you have a clear bank account, your money is protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, FSCS.

You can check your account sort code to determine your account type with Tide. You can also request an Account Verification Letter.

Besides being backed by the FCA, Tide also has plenty of security features, including PIN security for the accounts, thumbprints and Face ID. All payments must be authorised through your smartphone, limits can be placed on payment amounts, and cards can be frozen immediately if lost or stolen.

It’s safe to say that Tide has done everything in its power to provide customers with plenty of security features, and it is regulated by the FCA, so it is a safe place for your business to start its financial journey.

Tide Credit Builder

When you sign up for a Tide account, you can also sign up for the Tide Credit Builder. This unique tool allows you to improve your small business’s credit score. It is available to limited companies that have been incorporated for less than two years and have had no CCJ raised against them in the last six years.

With the credit builder, you can take out a structured loan of £240 and pay it over a period of 12 months. The payments are then reported to the credit reference agencies, which in turn should help you improve your credit score.

At the end of the 12 months, you will have the £240 you have paid returned to your Tide account, and Tide will keep the interest.

The credit builder service does not charge fees for early or late payments. However, it is advisable to cancel the Tide Credit Builder loan if you are having difficulties keeping up with the payments because late payments will damage your credit score even further. 

Tide Business Account Alternatives

After reading this analysis, assuming you’re not convinced that a Tide business account is the right option for your business or doesn’t suit your business needs, what other options are there for you?

Tide Vs Pay iO

Regarding business accounts, Pay iO is one of the best challenger banks to consider. It is designed to serve small and large businesses and offers multiple solutions to international transfers, which is one of Tide’s pitfalls.

With Pay iO, you can send and receive money internationally, and it also incorporates other crucial features like account management and integrations like Tide, but only at a fraction of the price. Being business-oriented means that Pay iO understands business needs and even provides an API that allows online businesses to receive payments directly into their accounts. Simply put, Pay iO ties up Tide’s loose ends and then offers some amazing additional features like multi-currency accounts that help businesses save money by saving on currency conversion costs.

Tide Vs Starling Business

Another possible alternative for Tide Business account is Starling Bank. Starling doesn’t charge a monthly fee to run the account or make any payments, making it an ideal option for businesses that prefer to avoid monthly fees.

Like Tide, you can make deposits into your Starling account at the post office. However, Starling charges 0.7% to deposit the money, while it would cost about £2.50 with Tide.

Starling also offers free withdrawals, while Tide charges £1. However, Starling doesn’t offer access to other business tools and products through its marketplace.

Tide Vs Revolut Business

The other option you could consider in place of Tide is Revolut Business. Revolut is an attractive option for many reasons, including its cross-border presence. You don’t have to be registered in the UK to open an account. Also, the account can hold multiple currencies. There’s the option to go for a basic free account as well as other subscription accounts. But the allowances have higher restrictions.

For example, the free account charges £5 for international transfers and only allows 5 free monthly local transfers.

Tide Vs Monzo Business

 You could also consider a Monzo business account. Although relatively new in the fintech world, Monzo has quickly caught up with the rest of the pack. It offers a basic free account and a Pro business account for £5 monthly. The Pro account has additional features such as tax pots, multi-user access, invoicing, and other exclusive business offers.

Monzo is a fully regulated bank account, and your money is protected by the FSCS, giving it an edge over other neobanks.

It costs just £1 to deposit money at any PayPoint with Monzo, while Tide takes up to 3% to deposit the cash. Cash withdrawals with Monzo up to £200 are free every 30 days and 3% afterward. Tide charges £1 for each withdrawal.

Closing Remarks

Tide has a unique product and service offering that appeals to businesses located in the UK that conduct all of their business locally. While the account provides some handy features like a Mastercard that you can use on your travels, there are no meaningful business features for international transactions. Therefore, larger companies or any company or business with business relationships and partnerships outside of the UK might not find Tide to be much help. But businesses operating locally can fully utilise the features the account offers. And it is worth noting that the monthly fees for the premium accounts are quite competitive.

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