Over many years of self employment I’ve used business accounts from most of the big names. As I write this in 2022 more and more high street banks are closing and cash, like it or not, is rapidly becoming obsolete. In this Tide banking review I’ll explain what modern business banking looks like.
My experiences with big-name high street banks has, on the whole, been pretty dire. When all you want to do is run a business the last thing you need is obstacles being thrown in your path. More about that later on. For now let’s look at Tide – a modern approach to business banking. In this Tide banking review I’m not going to go in to the detail of managing your account. I’ve covered all that over on our sister channel here.
Instead I just want to explain what a Tide account is, how it works and why we opted to use Tide for our businesses banking on several occasions.
Tide banking review in a nutshell
If you’re a small business looking for a quick and easy bank account then Tide is definitely worth a try. Account opening is very fast, it can be used by sole traders or limited companies and there are no monthly fees. You pay a small fee per transaction (20p) but if you use the link on this page your fees will be waived for the first year AND you’ll get £75 cashback.
The account is very simple to use. When you apply you’ll be given an account number and sort code (almost straight away!) and you’ll receive a business debit card in the post. You manage the entire account online. There are no branches but I’ve found online support to be excellent.
My experience with high street banks
Over the years I’ve had accounts at loads of different banks. Here’s my lasting memories of high street branches:
Santander – OK but took FOREVER to open an account and I couldn’t actually do anything from the local branches. As I quickly found out the high street branches were largely reserved for personal banking. Business customers were pointed in the direction of the local Post Office to bank cheques etc.
Barclays – absolutely dire service. The online chat never seemed to work and getting through to anyone on the phone was a nightmare. I found it very difficult to open a limited company bank account, even though I was an existing customer, so I eventually gave up. Also their statement format, with daily sub-totals of transactions, really bugged me and made reconciliation difficult. The most efficient service I had was when I closed my account.
NatWest – Again, I found it very difficult to open a business account. Most of their high street branches seem to be closing and whenever I visited the branch they told me they couldn’t help and I “needed to do that online”. A visit couldn’t end without them trying to sell me something.
HSBC – Don’t get me started.
So when it came to giving an online-only account a try I was really quite open to the idea. That was several years ago and so far so good!
A bank for my handyman business
After a lot of searching around I decided to open an account with Tide for my handyman business and I had no regrets. It worked perfectly and support was amazing. I used a combination of Tide for my banking and Zettle to take credit cards. This combination worked amazingly well.
Using my Tide account to get paid by customers
I would do work for my customers and they would pay immediately by credit card using my Zettle card reader. A couple of days later the money would appear in my Tide bank account. Some customers preferred to pay cash but that was fine since I could bank the cash at the local Post Office.
I also allowed customers to pay by bank transfer. This was also easy – I simply gave them my Tide sort code and account number and it all worked perfectly.
Using my Tide account to pay suppliers
In terms spending money on supplies etc. that was equally easy. Tide gave me a business MasterCard. This functions like a normal debit card and funds come straight from the balance of the account.
I also had accounts at some suppliers and these were easy enough to pay by online transfer. I didn’t run in to any issues when it came to withdrawing money from the account.
Day-to-day management of the account
The account was a pleasure to use and much better than any online banking I’d ever used before. I could manage the account via an app. on my phone or through a web browser. Both worked seamlessly. Statements were easy to access and easy to read and it was simple to categorise transactions for my accountant.
So, to wrap this up, my experiences with Tide were good. There are limitations in terms of international transfers and you can’t use cheques but that didn’t impact me at all. Have a read of my in-depth review here where you’ll find a link to open an account and give it a try for yourself.