Is Tide or Starling the Better Choice?

Tide vs. Starling: Which is best?

Deciding on the best bank for your small business can feel like a daunting task, with so many challenger and traditional accounts to choose from. 

The best business bank account should offer features that meet your company’s specific needs, such as low fees, convenient mobile banking options, and easy access to credit.

It should also provide good customer service and support, invoicing tools, and security measures to protect the business’s financial information.

Overall, taking the time to research and compare different bank accounts can help ensure that a business is getting the best financial services to help it thrive.

We’ll compare the pros and cons of two of the most popular choices: Tide and Starling

» MORE Read our full article on How to Open a Business Bank Account with Tide

Tide vs Starling Business Banking Features

First, let’s explore the key account features you’ll get from Tide and Starling.

Both offer all the services you’d expect, including business current accounts, debit cards, and online banking, as well as additional features such as invoicing and expense tracking.

Both banks also offer cash deposits, the ability to freeze/unfreeze cards in the app, additional cards for employees, accountancy software integration, scheduled payments and Apple Pay

In these regards, they’re quite similar offerings.

Here is a table comparing some key features of Tide and Starling banking to help you understand the differences between them:

Account TypesBusiness, PersonalPersonal, Joint, Business
ATM AccessFree at any Link ATM in the UKFree at any ATM in the UK
Debit CardIncludedIncluded
Mobile AppYesYes
Check DepositsNoYes
Budgeting ToolsNoYes
Overdraft NoYes (EAR averages at 11.50%)
Telephone Customer ServiceYesYes
International TransfersNoYes
Foreign Currency AccountsNoYes
Free Invoicing SoftwareYesNo
Fully regulated and FSCS protected
Euro and Dollar accounts
Fast account set-up
Why Choose Starling?
  • Fast account set-up
  • No monthly fees or fees overseas
  • Integrations with Quickbooks, Xero & FreeAgent
  • Fully regulated and FSCS protected
  • Phone and App based customer service 24/7
  • Pay Cash in via Post Office
  • Euro and Dollar accounts are available
But be aware that
  • There isn’t any overdraft facility
  • There are no branches
  • Starling charges for paying in money
  • You can’t earn interest
  • Depositing cash comes with a fee
Eligibility Criteria
All directors with access to the account must be UK residents. The business must not be a holding company, dissolved, in liquidation or engage in any activities set out in our terms and conditions. Evidence of your trading activities so we understand that your business does what you say it does. We can’t accept Companies House documents for this. Credit Checks May Apply

Tide vs Starling Business Bank Account Comparison

Tide and Starling are two popular options for business bank accounts in the UK. 

Tide is a digital bank specifically designed specifically for small businesses and freelancers. It offers a range of features, including no monthly fees, a contactless debit card, and 24/7 customer support. 

Starling is also a digital bank with a broader focus on businesses and sole traders. It offers features such as in-app budgeting tools, real-time spending notifications, and a debit card with competitive exchange rates. 

Both Tide and Starling offer online and mobile banking options, making it easy for business owners to manage their finances on the go. Both banks also have strong reputations for customer service and security. 

Overall, Tide and Starling are both solid choices for businesses looking for a convenient and feature-rich business bank account. There’s no clear winner between them at this time.

Tide vs Starling: how do the Account Charges Compare?

As you can see from this table, both accounts are very evenly matched, with Starling being very slightly cheaper on a couple of points.

Monthly account fee£0£0
Card transaction fee (UK)£0£0
Card transaction fee (abroad)£0£0
ATM withdrawal fee (UK)£1£0
ATM withdrawal fee (abroad)£1£0
Foreign currency exchange fee0.5%0.4%
Replacement card fee£5£5
Account closure fee£0£0
Fees for Cash Deposits£2.50 for deposits up to £500 or 0.5% of cash amount for deposits over £500 (at Post Offices) 3% (at PayPoints)0.7% or £3 minimum (at Post Offices)
Fee for Payments in and Out20p each£0
Direct Debits20p each£0

Tide vs Starling Interest rates

Neither Starling nor Tide offers interest on business current accounts.

Paying in Cash and Cheques

Both Tide and Starling allow customers to deposit cash at the Post Office. Tide also allows Paypoints.

If you’re depositing £500 or less, Tide will Charge you £2.50, or 0.5% if the sum exceeds £500. Starling charges you a standard 0.7% with a £3 minimum fee.

Starling allows you to deposit cheques, while Tide doesn’t accept cheque deposits.

Tide vs Starling Bank: Which Has the Better Mobile App?

It’s difficult to say definitively whether Tide or Starling’s app is “better,” as it will depend on your specific needs and priorities. Some users might find Tide’s small business-focused features more helpful, while others might prefer the comprehensive banking features offered by Starling Bank.

It might be helpful to take a look at the app store ratings and reviews for both apps to get a sense of how satisfied users are with them, as well as to see which app has the features that are most important to you.

Both apps receive positive reviews from users and provide a range of features, including the ability to view account balances, make payments, and track expenses.

  • The Starling APP has 4.5/5 based on 93.2K reviews on Google Play. (as of December 2022)
  • The Tide APP has 3.5/5 based on 15.3K reviews on Google Play. (as of December 2022)

Tide vs Starling Customer service Reviews

Both Tide and Starling Bank are known for their excellent customer service.

Tide has a live chat feature on its website and phone and email support. The company has received positive reviews for its customer service, with users praising the helpful and friendly staff.

Starling Bank also has a live chat feature on its website and offers phone and email support. The bank has received generally positive reviews for its customer service, with users noting that staff are helpful and responsive.

  • Tide has a 4.4/5 score, marked ‘excellent’ on Trustpilot out of 14,000 reviews
  • Starling has 4.3/5, marked ‘excellent’ on Trustpilot out of 33,000 reviews

Account Switching

Starling Bank provides a switching service similar to those available with personal bank accounts. However, Tide does not offer a switching service.

Therefore, if ease of switching is essential to you, Starling Bank may be the better choice.

Tide Vs Starling Bank Accounts: Which is Safer?

Both Starling and Tide offer FSCS Protection. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is a UK government-backed scheme that protects depositors if a bank, building society, or credit union fails. This protection covers accounts up to £85,000 per individual per institution.

Tide vs. Starling Summary

In conclusion, Tide and Starling are very evenly matched, both offering competitive bank accounts with good customer service.

We conclude that Tide may be the better choice for smaller businesses based in the UK.

Tide’s account is very specifically focused on startups and offers a free invoicing service. If you need additional services such as company formation, VAT registration or setting up a virtual office address, Tide will also be the better fit.

Starling may be the best choice for larger businesses that need international capabilities.

For businesses that work abroad and need features such as international transactions, Starling will be the better fit.