In this review and overview we’re going to take a look at a Tide business account. As a small business owner you really need a dedicated business bank account. This can take weeks or even months to set up through the traditional high street banks. However with a Tide business account you can be up and running in a matter of minutes. Accounts like this aren’t for everyone so let’s have a deep dive in to the pros and cons of a Tide account. Today I’ll give you my brutally honest opinion of Tide. Who is it for and is Tide even a bank account?

This is an honest review based on my own personal experiences. I used a Tide account for my own business banking before writing this review. As usual I want to be completely up-front with you, this article contains some affiliate links – these help to cover the costs of running this free website so if you think a Tide account suits your needs click here to give it a try and as a thank you Tide will give you £75 cashback *.

Key Takeaways

  • Great for ‘normal’ UK small businesses
  • No contract and no monthly fees
  • Fast account opening
  • Lovely user interface
  • Decent Trustpilot rating
  • Good customer service
  • Not great for international businesses
  • Stricter eligibility criteria
Tide business account review - is a Tide account right for you?

Table of Contents

Tide business account in a nutshell

In a rush? I used Tide for my own property maintenance business and it was great. If you run an international business it probably isn’t for you. Give it a try if you think it suits your needs – if you use this link Tide will give you £75 cashback and free transfers for a year *. There’s no contract and no monthly fees so if it doesn’t work out you can easily change.

Tide business account review

High street banks are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Whether you’re setting up a new business or are looking to switch from one of the big names, you’re probably wondering wondering if you even need a bank account? Well I’ve written an article all about that. TLDR? Yes, you really should have a business bank account. You’ll thank me in the long term! One of the many options you’re probably considering is an internet-only bank account and with that in mind let’s take a look at Tide.

If you’re in a rush, my personal experience with Tide has been great. I used it extensively for my property maintenance business and it worked great. Tide is definitely worth trying if you’re a relatively normal UK-based small business. If you have slightly more exotic requirements, such as international transfers and IBANs you may struggle. But read on and make your own mind up.

It’s ultra-fast, free (more-or-less) and very simple to use. If you don’t need a high street branch then it could be the perfect neobank account for you.

The benefits of a Tide business account in 2023

Tide operates like any normal bank account so should be fine for the vast majority of small businesses. It’s essentially free but you pay a nominal fee (20p) when you transfer money in or out of the account (free transfers for the first year using this link). Here are a few of the other benefits:

  • Fast account opening
  • Low cost
  • Suitable for Sole Traders and Limited Companies
  • You can set up direct debits
  • You can set up standing orders (known as scheduled payments)
  • You get full on-line bank statements
  • You’re provided with a Business MasterCard debit(ish) card and can have up to 35 ‘team cards’ for staff members etc.
  • You can pay-in cash at a Post Office (£1 charge)
  • You can withdraw cash at ATMs (£1 charge)
  • They have clever stuff like Cashflow Insights

What can’t you do with a Tide business account?

  • No cheques (in or out)
  • No physical branches
  • Limited international payments (no IBAN)

Tide business account review – who is Tide for?

In my experience Tide is great for any 21st century businesses who needs an account quickly, no longer uses cheques and doesn’t work with international payments. At the time of writing they are rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot with 14,382 reviews.

Tide business account review
Trustpilot rated Excellent – checked 27/12/22

Contrary to popular belief it’s even great for cash-based businesses! I’ve found it works fine with online payment providers such as PayPal, Stripe, GoCardless and Zettle. As such it’s ideal for:

  • Start-ups
  • Micro-businesses
  • Micro-entrepreneurs
  • Sole traders
  • Self employed
  • Small companies
  • Small shops
  • Independent traders
  • Freelancers
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Builders
  • Joiners
  • Generally all trades people!

Is Tide really free?

There are now four business accounts to choose from:

  • FREE account: The account itself is free (i.e. no monthly fees). You just pay 20p for transfers and they’re free for a year if you use this link. No phone support on this account.
  • PLUS account: £9.99+VAT per month, 20 free transfers per month, phone support included along with a bunch of other account perks.
  • PRO account: £18.99+VAT per month, unlimited transfers, otherwise pretty much the same as the PLUS account.
  • CASHBACK account: £49.99+VAT per month, 150 free transfers per month, phone support included, 0.5% cashback and access to the dedicated account management team.

For most businesses the free account is probably more than enough to get you started. It’s worth noting that if you spend more than £10,000 per month on stock etc. then the Cashback account may pay for itself due to the generous 0.5% cashback rate.

What is a Tide business account?

Tide are a privately owned financial technology company founded in 2015. They’re not the traditional high street bank you may be familiar with. It’s essentially a payment platform. According to their website “Tide also offers bank accounts provided by ClearBank (ClearBank® Ltd. is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 754568).”. However from my own personal perspective I’ve found my Tide accounts operated like any normal bank.

You get a sort code and account number. You can have direct debits, standing orders and all the usual stuff. However there are a few other key differences that set it apart from the traditional high street banks. In this article I want to dig a bit deeper in to what a Tide account actually is and how it all works.

How much does a Tide business account cost?

The really nice thing about Tide, especially when you’re just starting out, is that if you’re not making any money the account doesn’t cost you a penny. As your turnover grows there’s a small 20p charge for each transfer in or out of the account. Card payments are free and as an added bonus Tide are kindly waiving the 20p charges for the first year if you use this link to sign-up.

Open a Tide business account

I’ve read the odd report saying that Tide isn’t a ‘proper’ business bank account and I guess it all depends on your definition of a bank account. Tide offer most of the normal stuff big banks provide and a few extras that are a genuine breath of fresh air.

One slightly confusing factor is that when Tide first started out they provided e-money accounts by Prepay Technologies Ltd. They now offer accounts via ClearBank, apparently with full FSCS protection (so fully FCA and PRA regulated). They’re also offering older customers the opportunity to switch from their e-money accounts to their ClearBank accounts, which is great news!

The fee structure is up-front and simple – I really appreciate this. I’ve seen some business accounts where the fees are explained in 8-point font over a 10 page PDF. Not with Tide:

Tide Account Fees
Tide’s Account Fees
  • Card payments: FREE
  • Transfers between accounts: 20p
  • Transfers between Tide accounts: FREE
  • Cash withdrawls: £1
  • Cash deposits: £1
  • Replacement card: FREE

Tide business account review – the real benefits of Tide

What sets a Tide business account apart from the pack, in my view, is ease of account set-up and management. I’ve never known a bank account that’s so easy to open. Ever! In under 5 minutes I was up and running with an account number and sort code. If you don’t believe me watch this:

How to open a Tide business bank account
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By way of a comparison, I recently opened a business account with Barclays. I applied online and provided all of the ID they asked for electronically as requested. It was 3 weeks before I received an account number and sort code. With Tide it was almost instant.

The real joys of account management then come in to play once you start making full use off their mobile app. and the associated web interface.

Tide bank web Interface
Tide Web Interface

Tide have really put a lot of effort in to making account management as simple as possible. Everything is a real pleasure to use. It’s fast too! Access to the web interface is controlled by scanning a QR code on the screen from your phone. Access is then granted instantly and I MEAN instantly.

What if you’re a limited company?

For me the application process for a limited company was also very fast. They even offer a service where they’ll set up the limited company for you for free!

Tide bank account review for a limited company - how long does it take?
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Logon to the app itself is instant via fingerprint recognition. You also have a passcode as backup. Face recognition technology is also used for certain tasks, but generally your fingerprint will be sufficient for most stuff.

  • iOS and Android compatible
  • Account management via app. or web
  • Accounting integration
  • CSV exports
  • Read-only account access e.g. for accountants
  • Multiple Accounts (coming soon!)

There’s some really nifty features such as transaction categories and the ability to upload pictures of your receipts to associate with each transaction:

Tide bank category management
Tide Category Management is Lovely!

Above all, IT’S SO FAST!! It’s very rare that I would describe management of a bank account as being ‘pleasurable’ but Tide have really ticked all the boxes here. Everything within the app. and via the web is a joy to use. Hats off to everyone involved in designing this – nice work. Very nice work.

How ‘fast’ are Faster Payments?

Faster payments seemed to be slightly slower than with other banks. I carried out a test transfer IN to my new Tide account from NatWest and it took about an hour to come through. A similar transfer from NatWest -> Halifax was instant. I tried another NatWest -> Tide transfer on the off-chance it was just due to it being a new payee and it still look 56 minutes. Not a problem, just slightly slower than normal. I must confess I haven’t tried this since they switched to using ClearBank so this might have changed.

I also tried a test transfer OUT from Tide -> NatWest and that was much faster, at around 10 minutes. Halifax -> NatWest was instant though.

Apparently Faster Payments are processed every 30 minutes and cleared within 2 hours, so that would be close-ish to the above timings. Just for information, BACS payments ‘officially’ take 3 working days and CHAPS are same working day. It’s all Faster Payments with Tide though and the above timings shouldn’t be a problem for most people. Obviously as larger sums are involved additional security checks may be implemented. That might slow things down a bit, but I’d rather they kept security as their top concern versus receiving a transfer a few minutes sooner.

Is the Tide card a credit or debit card?

So you’re provided with a ‘Business MasterCard’ when you open your account – this is actually a ‘prepaid card’ and is marked  ‘Commercial Preferred Prepaid’. The card is issued by PrePay Technologies Ltd (“PPS”) under a license from Mastercard International. Apparently PPS is authorised by the FCA for the issuance of e-money. It seems to function like a normal debit card, drawing on existing funds from your account. So it’s not really a credit card and it’s not really a debit card.

Tide bank card - What is it?
Tide Card – What is it?

For the vast majority of situations this should be fine, however it could cause some complications. A prime example is HMRC who still charge a fee for business credit cards (cheeky!) but paying your tax using a business debit card is free. There have been some reports of the card not being accepted with certain providers and it’s probably down to the vague nature of what it actually is. Apparently Tide are working on releasing a normal debit card so watch this space! I haven’t had any problems with it so far though.

What is Tide Accounting?

Accounting software for your business can sometimes be a real headache to learn. Tide have developed some easy-to-use accounting software as an add-on to your standard Tide account. It allows you to send personalised invoices and track payment within the app. You can easily match incoming payments to invoices so you keep a handle on who’s paid and who hasn’t.

Tide accounting software

You can also track outgoing expenditure, schedule future payments and see what you owe at a glance. As with most of the Tide user interface, the software is beautifully written and easy to use.

Tide accounting software

It is also MTD (Making Tax Digital) compliant for VAT. This means if you’re VAT registered you can submit your quarterly returns using this software since it’s recognised by HMRC.

Tide Accounting costs £9.99+VAT per month but they do sometimes offer a trial free period. Open a Tide account and you can then add the accounting software.

Who is a Tide business account NOT for?

Tide are really shaking up modern business banking but it’s not for everyone. Here are a few of the main differences:

  • No cheques
  • No international transfers
  • No IBAN or BIC / SWIFT code
  • No overdrafts BUT see below

The biggest change is no more cheques. Now I haven’t written or received a cheque for many years but I know some businesses still rely on this. If you’re still in a sector where you get presented with cheques on a regular basis then this probably isn’t the account for you. Likewise, you don’t get a cheque book so you can’t write cheques. Why cheques still exist is beyond me.

Also, at the moment there are no international transfers. You don’t get an IBAN so accepting payments from foreign sources could be tricky. Apparently you can get around this using providers such as TransferWise but for me this didn’t work with Payoneer. If this means nothing to you then you can probably skip this bit.

Apparently some Tide members with limited companies can have a Tide International Currency Account but when I applied for one of these in June 2020 I was told this service is temporarily ‘paused’.

They also don’t offer overdrafts, however they’ve partnered up with Iwoca for business loans, which is essentially what an overdraft is. So you can potentially get up to £150,000 of credit straight through the app.

Who CAN’T have a Tide business account?

Tide do have quite strict eligibility criteria to open an account. This is to protect all Tide members. To open a business account for an existing limited company you’ll need to be registered with UK Companies House as a director of that company. To open a sole trader account you’ll need to be a UK-based sole trader or freelancer. On top of that you must be:

  • Aged 18 or over
  • Have a valid UK phone number
  • Have a valid UK address
  • Hold a compatible device registered to a UK App or Google Play store

Tide acknowledge that certain business types are more complex so the scope of businesses they offer accounts to is quite focused. At the time of writing they’re unable to offer accounts to the following types of business:

  • Trading of cryptocurrencies
  • Trading of precious metals and stones
  • Money services (such as foreign exchange, loan providers, money transfers)
  • Casinos, prize draws and other betting or gambling activities
  • Sale of unlicensed pharmaceuticals
  • Sale or trade of cannabidiol (CBD) products
  • Trading of weapons, explosives or armaments
  • Unlicensed trading and processing of scrap metal
  • Unlicensed waste management
  • Sale, import and export of used vehicles or heavy machinery
  • Escort services and other services in the adult industry
  • Bidding fee auctions
  • Modelling agencies
  • Travel agencies
  • Car wash services
  • Political parties
  • Charities
  • CICs and CIOs

Tide and the TRIGGERnometry podcast debacle

Tide are particularly twitchy about certain types of business. I suspect this is to retain their relationship with ClearBank but this is unconfirmed. I was surprised and disappointed to learn about Tide terminating their relationship with the excellent TRIGGERnometry podcast, hosted by Konstantin Kisin and Francis Foster. TRIGGERnometry do accept payments / donations from SubscribeStar, PayPal, Patreon and Bitcoin. However as far as I’m aware they don’t fit in to any of the business types listed above.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence but TRIGGERnometry had Nigel Farage as a guest on the show around February 2023. Tide closed TRIGGERnometry’s account around May 2023. On 29th June 2023 Nigel Farage announced that his bank (not Tide) were closing his accounts for (as yet) unknown reasons. Since then Nigel has apparently been rejected by 9 further banks:

On one hand I’m amazed TRIGGERnometry managed to get their Tide account working at all due to limitations surrounding international transactions! (see ‘Tide for content creators’ below). However it does all seem to have happened around the time of the Nigel Farage debanking story. This could obviously just be coincidence.

All I can say here is no account is safe from this sort of treatment these days. Read about Yorkshire Building Society and Rev Richard Fothergill for example. BlackBeltBarrister has been covering the Nigel Farage story in some depth, including some legal analysis. Obviously I’m not a lawyer so watch Daniel’s videos and make your own mind up:

This is Getting Rather Serious. Banks Liable for Discrimination?
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On the plus side this shouldn’t impact your average plumber or electrician and I’ve genuinely had a great experience with Tide over the years. Obviously it would be interesting to hear more on this subject so if you have any insider information please get in touch.

Tide business account review – Cashflow Insights

Tide seem to be constantly innovating new products and services. One of their latest offerings is Cashflow Insights. This is quite a nifty service, included for free – it makes predictions about your spending habits to warn you if you’re likely to run in to problems. For small business owners this is a really handy feature and certainly something worth looking in to.

Cashflow Insights from Tide
Cashflow Insights is a nifty feature to help with cashflow management

If you already have a Tide business account you can access Cashflow Insights from the ‘more’ menu within the app. I’ve written a whole separate overview of Cashflow Insights here.

What about Tide for content creators? E.g. YouTubers?

This is where things get a little more complicated. There must be tens of thousands of content creators in the UK who need a bank account to manage their various revenue streams. At first glance Tide would be the PERFECT account for the tech savvy folk who are receiving money through a variety of sources.

One of the biggest frustrations with Tide, and it’s not really their fault, is that the account would appear to be incompatible with a number of international online payment providers. For the content creator market (such as myself) this could be problematic.

Payoneer immediately rejected Tide as a valid destination account. This is potentially a big problem for any affiliate schemes that pay out via Payoneer, such as Patreon and Spring. Also, Amazon Affiliates requires an IBAN and BIC code, so that straight away rules out Tide. Having said that, you may find now that Tide are using ClearBank some of these limitations might change.

Here’s a quick run-down of my experience for all the fellow YouTubers out there:

PayPal: FINE

Using Tide as a destination account to accept PayPal payments appears to work fine. Fast with no issues.

Zettle: FINE

Fine for receiving credit card payments via Zettle. Less fine for receiving affiliate payments as this requires an IBAN & BIC – this is a pretty niche limitation though.

Ebay: FINE

I’ve yet to try accepting normal payments via Ebay to Tide but have been assured these work fine. Payments via the Ebay Partner Network (affiliates) work fine too.

Stripe: FINE

I added my Tide account to a Stripe payment gateway and it worked fine without any problems.

GoCardless: FINE

Apparently fine but I haven’t tested it.

YouTube / Google AdSense: FINE

Payments from Google Ireland for AdSense revenue worked fine.

Payoneer: NOPE

In all honesty I find Payoneer quite a frustrating platform so I’m not surprised there were issues. When I tried to link my Payoneer account to Tide I received an e-mail from Payoneer saying they don’t support the account that was added. I escalated this within Payoneer but they didn’t bother getting back to me. Tide suggested I try using TransferWise, which I did. A somewhat convoluted way of getting money out of Patreon (Patreon to Payoneer, Payoneer to TransferWise, TransferWise to Tide) but once again ‘computer said no’. The TransferWise account was rejected by Payoneer (so not Tide’s fault!). Payoneer would appear to only work with traditional bank accounts so that’s quite annoying. You can of course pay out from Patreon and Teespring via PayPal but Payoneer would seem to be more fee-efficient. It’s also worth noting that this may now work with Tide’s ClearBank accounts. Please let me know if you’ve tested this!

Spring: FINE-ISH

Spring (formerly Teespring) pay out your funds via Payoneer or PayPal. So Payoneer isn’t an option but PayPal should be fine.

Patreon: FINE-ISH

Similar to Teespring, Patreon pay out via PayPal or Payoneer. If you have a Tide account you’ll need to route the funds via PayPal.

Amazon Affiliates: NOPE

I don’t know how many Amazon Affiliates there are in the UK but I bet there’s quite a few. At the time of writing you need an IBAN / BIC code to receive money from Amazon and that just ain’t an option with Tide at the moment.

Tide bank and Amazon Affiliates Payouts
Amazon Affiliates Payout Options

So, if you’re a content creator all is not lost BUT you might have to do some creative account management to get around the odd limitation. Amazon is probably the biggest hurdle but there will be other affiliate and influencer schemes that rely on IBANs and BICs. Let’s see how this one progresses as I imagine Tide don’t want to miss out on this potentially huge market!

Account limits

Tide don’t seem to publish their default account limits any more but on an account I set up for a limited company in June 2020 the limits were as follows:

  • Maximum account balance: £1,000,000
  • Monthly limit: £250,000
  • Single outbound transaction limit: £50,000
  • Card transactions: £50,000 monthly limit & £10,000 daily limit per account
  • ATM limits: £500 cash per day max

You can also raise a request to increase the limits via the app. so no problems there.

Is my money safe?

In short, I think so! In January 2019 Tide joined forces with ClearBank. In 2023 this is what it says on the Tide website:

“Tide Platform Limited (Tide) designs and operates the Tide website and app. Tide is not a bank.

Tide is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 under firm reference number 900843 for the issuing of electronic money and the provision of payment initiation services and account information services under the Payment Services Regulations 2017. Tide is also authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in relation to its credit and insurance broking activities (firm reference 718743).

Tide offers bank accounts provided by ClearBank® Ltd (ClearBank) (account sort code is 04-06-05). ClearBank is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 754568. Eligible deposits with ClearBank are protected up to a total of £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), the UK’s deposit guarantee scheme. For further information visit

Some of Tide’s members also hold e-money accounts provided by Prepay Solutions (PPS) (account sort code is 23-69-72). PPS is a trading name of Prepay Technologies Ltd which is an electronic money institution authorised by the FCA under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 under firm reference number 900010 for the issuing of electronic money. PPS holds an amount equivalent to the money in Tide current accounts in a safeguarding account which gives customers protection against PPS’ insolvency.

Tide Cards may be issued by both Tide and PPS, who are licensed by Mastercard International for the issuance of cards. The issuer of your Tide card will be identified on your monthly card statement.”

So it certainly looks like accounts are provided with full PRA and FCA regulation and FSCS protection of up to £85,000. Would I leave my life savings resting in the account? Probably not. Would I be comfortable leaving a normal amount of working capital in the account? Yes, but obviously that risk is entirely up to you.

Of course remember that if you’re still using one of Tide’s older e-money accounts then the ClearBank safeguards wouldn’t apply. So I would really consider asking Tide to switch your account over to one of their newer FSCS protected accounts.

What about customer support?

If you want phone support you’ll need to stump up for either their Plus or Cashback accounts. The free account only includes web support. Having said that, their in-app support has been excellent for me. I’ve always received a response well within 24 hours and their staff have been friendly and helpful.

To put things in perspective I also had an account with Barclays and their business support was dire. I tried calling them about an urgent matter. I spent more than an hour on hold on two separate occasions and nobody picked up, so I gave up. I then tried to send them a secure message via my online banking (several times) and it just didn’t work at all. I tried visiting my local branch but there was a queue around the block. I literally had NO WAY of getting in touch with Barclays. So I closed my account.

The moral of this story, just because high street banks have phone lines doesn’t mean you can actually use them. Tide on the other hand have always been a pleasure to deal with. Online chat has always been fast and very helpful.

£75 cashback from Tide

If you just want to give it a try and get your business off the ground, Tide are offering Small Business Toolbox readers a special introductory offer of £75 cashback AND 12 months of free transfers. Please read the full terms & conditions at the bottom of this article. To make use of this offer simply use this link or use the code BUSINESSTOOLBOX when you sign up. There’s no minimum contract and no obligation to stay with Tide.

So should I get a Tide business account?

It’s worth opening an account just to experience the joys of what 21st century banking should look like! In a nutshell it’s all down to whether the limitations outweigh the benefits for your business. For most small businesses who serve customers solely within the UK, Tide is a great option to consider.

I’ve been blown away by the set-up time and ease of use. The account is a genuine pleasure to use. It’s free to set up an account so give it a try and see if it works for your business.

Tide business account review

Remember if you want to take advantage of Tide’s offer of £75 cashback and 12 months free transfers, just use the code BUSINESSTOOLBOX when you apply, use the above link or click here.

* Tide offer terms:
Tide’s offer is valid for new accounts only. To be eligible to receive the offer applicants must first successfully open a sole trader or limited company business current account with Tide. Account opening eligibility criteria and customary know your customer checks apply. To activate the offer the applicant must use the referral (partner) code: BUSINESSTOOLBOX. The applicant is required to either enter the referral code while signing up via the partner landing page or through the mobile app. The offer is limited to one £75 cashback reward per applicant. £50 minimum funding within 3 months of account opening. The reward will be paid into the applicant’s new Tide account. It can take up to 8 weeks from the date the applicant successfully opens their account for the reward to be validated and paid. Tide reserve the right to modify these terms and conditions or withdraw this offer at any time. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other Tide offer or promotion. 12 month free banking offer is by no means guaranteed. Please verify the offer is still valid when signing up.

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Last Updated on 26 September 2023 by Andy Mac