Tide Business Account Review 2022

Business bank accounts used to be famously complex. But the tides are changing. Our full Tide bank account review breaks down this inventive, zero fee provider.

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At just six years old, Tide is one of the most popular banking platforms amongst SMEs.

We rate Tide highly as a modern platform that’s shredded the frustrating aspects of bank management. Zero monthly fees also mean it is much more competitively priced compared to rivals.

0 out of 0
Price per month (billed annually):
Price per month (billed monthly):
Plan-specific features:
Overdraft?

Tide Basic

Tide Plus

Tide Cashback

  • Up to 5 accounts
  • Accounting integration
  • Scheduled payments
  • User hierarchies
  • Priority support in-app
  • Phone support
  • Legal helpline
  • 0.5% cashback
  • 150 free transfers per month

Managing capital is hugely important for SMEs – particularly in the current cost of living crisis. Our recent analysis scored Tide well for user-experience, as a clever product that facilitates greater control over your finances.

But, as with any young software app, you need to stay on top of every Tide deal and discount, hidden fee, and secret perk in case of updates.

Startups’ expert team has been carrying out extensive research into small business bank platforms for over six years.

Below, we’ll take you through the pricing, pros and cons of the platform so you can make a confident decision about whether or not to open a Tide business bank account.

Tide bank review: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Modern platform that’s regularly updated
  • Super easy-to-use, app-based business bank account
  • Quick setup time with ability to register new businesses
  • Zero monthly or annual fees
  • Accounting integrations for invoices
Cons
  • Doesn’t accept cheque deposits
  • Balance limit of £100,000 for limited companies (£25,000 for sole traders)
  • Some hidden fees including £1 for post office deposits and cash withdrawals

Is Tide right for your business?

Tide
4.3
Tide is a clever, app-based small business banking provider that facilitates greater control over your finances.
  • Free trial? 30-days
  • Zero monthly fees
  • Quick setup time with ability to register new businesses
Summary We rate Tide highly as a smartly-designed app that has considered, user-focused features at its heart. Every banking task is available on this one, modern platform. Plus, it's all available for zero monthly fees. You can create invoices, build your credit score, and even take out a loan thanks to Tide's partnership with iwoca. Small business account holders don't even need an account to make use of full range of finance and admin products available on the platform. That being said, more-established customers will be held back by hidden surcharges for large transactions, as well as a monthly transaction limit of £200,000 for limited companies.
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What sets Tide apart from its rivals?

Tide’s unique competitive advantage is its innovation. We rate it highly as a smartly-designed app that is dragging small business banking into the twenty-first century.

Considered and user-focused features are at the heart of the app’s backend. Last year, it became the first ever major player to allow SMEs to connect any existing business account to a Tide account using open banking.

Tide screenshot

That means small business users save time and money by using the full range of finance and admin products available on the platform, without needing a Tide business account.

Another distinctive selling point is Tide’s zero monthly fees. Compared to a platform like CardOneMoney, which charges £12.50 per month, Tide is a bargain for SMEs.

Which type of small business is Tide best for?

Our examination shows that a Tide money account is generally marketed towards SMEs.

However, we think its specific feature set and limitations make it best-suited to startups (firms founded in the past five years) and microbusinesses.

Effective tools for building credit are available with every Tide product. In-app invoicing is available for small teams, without an accounting department, to effortlessly monitor payments and cash flow.

Thanks to a partnership with business loan provider, iwoca, account holders can also apply for up to £150,000 for growth.

All Tide business account holders must also

  • Be aged 18 or above
  • Have a valid UK phone number and address
  • Have a compatible smart device to download the app
  • Be registered on UK Companies House or be a sole trader based in the UK

Those who are newly-launched have the option to register your business while opening a Tide account – convenient for new business owners.

Tide products, pricing and features

0 out of 0
Price per month (billed annually):
Price per month (billed monthly):
Plan-specific features:
Overdraft?

Tide Basic

Tide Plus

Tide Cashback

  • Up to 5 accounts
  • Accounting integration
  • Scheduled payments
  • User hierarchies
  • Priority support in-app
  • Phone support
  • Legal helpline
  • 0.5% cashback
  • 150 free transfers per month

In terms of account-wide features, every Tide plan has:

  • Up to 35 business mastercards for entire team
  • Apple pay integration
  • Instant payments alert
  • Desktop and mobile apps
  • Credit builder tool
  • PDF monthly statements

As well as this, Tide also has a 30-day free trial which you can use to test out the platform without needing to commit to any plan.

Does Tide have any hidden fees?

While Tide can truthfully boast of having zero outright monthly fees, the platform does hold some secret surcharges that account holders should be wary of.

 Tide BasicTide PlusTide Cashback
Free transfers per month020150
Expense cards£5 per month (+VAT)£5 per month (+VAT) + 1 free card£5 per month (+VAT) + 3 free cards
Cashback? xx0.35% per transaction
Replacement cardsFreeFreeFree
Deposits (Paypoint)3%3%3%
Deposits (post office)£1£1£1
Card transactions (UK and abroad)FreeFreeFree
ATM withdrawals£1£1£1
Transfers between Tide accountsFreeFreeFree
Transfers (in/out)20p20p20p

Does Tide have any account limits?

Tide has a few spending and balance limitations. These differ depending on whether you are operating as a sole trader or a limited company.

 Sole TraderLimited Company
Balance limit£25,000£100,000
Single transaction limit (receiving)£25,000£50,000
Single transaction limit
(spending)
£10,000£50,000
Monthly transaction limit£100,000£200,000
Card transactions (monthly)£10,000£10,000
Card transactions (daily)£10,000£50,000
ATM withdrawal£500£500

How does it compare to rivals?

Against competitors, Tide stands up well in terms of both feature limits and affordability. Only Mettle, which is currently 100% free to use, performs better in terms of value for money.

However, Mettle is not in the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). That means Mettle customers will not receive automatic protection of funds of up to £85,000.

0 out of 0
Best For
Monthly/Annual Fees
Key Features

Tide

Cashplus

Revolut

Starling Bank

Soldo

Mettle

Countingup

CardOneMoney

Best overall

Freelancers with steady work

International payments

A quick and easy set up

Business expense management

A free account

Businesses at all stages of development

Those with a poor credit rating

  • Free replacement card scheme
  • App-based for on-the-go mobile banking
  • Integrates with accounting software
  • Create invoices for billing clients
  • Minimal background checks
  • Easy overdraft extension with iDraft
  • 24/7 phone support available
  • Exchange 29 currencies, spend in over 150
  • Exclusive discounts and perks from partners
  • Support team available to help 24/7
  • Deposits protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
  • Almost no fees
  • Super quick set up time
  • Central hub for all employee card payments and company purchases
  • Unlimited bank card allowances
  • Useful tracking features for spending reviews
  • 100% free (for now)
  • Setup an online account in minutes
  • Backed by NatWest Group
  • Free trial
  • Calculate taxes through the app
  • No monthly charges for first three months
  • No credit card checks
  • UK-based call centre for customer support

Given that banking providers are often opaque when it comes to plan details, it’s important to regularly compare quotes from other platforms to ensure you’re still getting the best value for your money.

We've designed a Startups' exclusive quote comparison form so you can do just that. Use it to compare costs and benefits from the top bank account providers in just one minute.

How easy is Tide to use?

Ease-of-use is definitely an attribute of the Tide platform. Hosted on a modern and highly-navigable platform, business owners can access every facet of their account intuitively.

For more complex account management, Tide can also be integrated with finance software like Xero and Sage.

One aspect we think could be improved is availability. While we love Tide’s mobile app, it is the only way to access and manage the account. 

For those after more comprehensive online banking platforms, the desktop version features the same functionality as the app. However, you will still need a mobile account to access it.

How do I sign up?

SMEs can easily sign up to the Tide app. Get instant access to your business bank account balance in just five steps:

  1. Download the app
  2. Scan your ID
  3. Take a selfie
  4. Fill in some details, and wait five minutes for approval
  5. Your business mastercard will arrive with you in 1-3 days

And the best part? There are zero credit checks to open an account with Tide

Is Tide secure?

Our Tide bank review found the application performs well for security and compliance.

Unlike rival apps, Tide is fully FSCS-compliant which means your balance will be protected from cyber attacks up to £85,000.

The platform also has a solid amount of security features including:

  • Card freezing tools 
  • PIN verification 
  • Thumbprint verification 
  • Face ID verification

Is the Tide mobile app good?

Tide screenshot invoice

Our Tide bank account review found that the mobile app acts as a straightforward, cleanly-designed centre for all of your business banking needs.

Security features like card freezing and unfreezing are handily-available through your phone and on-the-go.

You’re also able to create and pay invoices straight from the app. SMEs that have multiple client direct debits will find this most beneficial as a way to send receipts and settle outstanding bills.

Another way that the Tide platform streamlines account management is its ‘expenses tag’ feature. This allows you to quickly label expenses and categorise them for future reference.

We also like that you can use Tide as part of a 30-day free trial, so you can train employees on how to use the platform before you’ve spent a penny.

What are the drawbacks of the Tide mobile app?

Accidents happen. Because customers manage their banking through the mobile app, you’ll unfortunately lose access to the account if your business phone breaks or is stolen.

The good news is that, once your ID is scanned with a new phone, you can get back up and running almost instantaneously.

What do Tide’s customers think?

Tim Prizeman is director of PR agency RB Public Relations. Prizeman said: “Getting started [with Tide] is fast and simple, and the interface is very easy and clear.”

However, Tim was less impressed with Tide’s costly help and support tools.

“I do not know if you can make payments to EU bank accounts with Tide, and when I asked the question on the Support function a month ago I didn’t get a response.”

Our methodology: How did we evaluate Tide for small businesses?

We’ve been helping small businesses for over two decades. In that time, we’ve carried out extensive research into the best bank account providers based on our knowledge of specific pain points for SMEs.

These include:

  • Accessibility – can you manage your bank account from anywhere?
  • Ease of use – is it overly-complicated to carry out banking tasks?
  • Security – is small business cash under threat from fraud?
  • Pricing and hidden fees – will SMEs be secretly charged for certain activities?

Over the past six years, we’ve conducted various rounds of research into the top small business bank accounts using a mix of user testing and existing customer reviews.

We’ve also created a specially-designed tool to compare quotes from providers, examining how their prices align with SME budget constraints.

Tide: Final verdict

Tide is an excellent business bank account provider for startups and microbusinesses billing less than £200,000 per month. We like its quick setup time and user-focused feature list.

Firms with bigger client lists will struggle with Tide’s balance limitations.

Our scoring and verdict are based on thorough market research. From there, we’ve pulled out the most important information about our number one recommended brand for startups, the Tide business bank account.

Still, as the above guide has proven, it’s a good idea to carry out research into the top banking providers to avoid being caught out by hidden costs.

Before your organisation opens any business bank account, we advise using Startups’ exclusive online quote-comparison form. You’ll get personalised suggestions for the provider that best suits your firm’s goals and requirements.

Tide logo
Get started with Tide

Open an account with our number one-rated small business banking platform.

Try Tide Start your 30-day free trial now.
Tide FAQs
  • Is Tide a good business bank?
    Tide is an excellent business bank for SMEs. Our analysis shows it is ideal for small or micro businesses, thanks to new-user friendly traits like low fees and business loans.
  • Is your money safe with Tide?
    Tide is FSCS-compliant, which means your business bank balance will be protected up to £85,000. The platform has a solid amount of security elements including card freezing options, PIN, thumbprint, and face ID verification.
  • How does a Tide business account work?
    Micro or small business Tide users can not only keep closer track of their cash flow and payments, but also build credit and create accounting reports. Importantly, Tide lets you manage all of this easily online via the desktop or mobile app.

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Helena Young
Helena Young Senior Writer

Helena "Len" Young is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has also previously written for a popular fintech startup.

Included in her topics of interest and expertise are tax legislation, the levelling up agenda, and organisational software including CRM and project management systems. As well as this, she is a big fan of the films of Peter Jackson.

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