Is Tide or Starling Bank the Better Choice?

Tide vs. Starling: Which is best?

With so many traditional and challenger bank accounts to choose from, deciding on the best bank for your business can feel daunting. 

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.

In this review, I’ll compare two of the most popular choices: Tide and Starling Bank.

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

Tide vs Starling Bank Features

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

FeatureTideStarling Bank
Account TypesBusiness, PersonalPersonal, Joint, Business
ATM AccessFree at any Link ATM in the UKFree at any ATM in the UK
Debit CardIncludedIncluded
Mobile App
Cheque Deposits
Budgeting Tools
Overdraft ✓ (EAR averages at 11.50%)
Telephone Customer Service
International Transfers✓ (EUR)
Foreign Currency Accounts
Free Invoicing Software

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.

Tide vs. Starling Bank Summary

In conclusion, Tide and Starling are very evenly matched.

Both offer competitive bank accounts and 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.

Tide is also a better fit if you need additional services such as company formation, VAT registration, or setting up a virtual office address.

Starling Bank 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.

Tide vs Starling Bank Comparison

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

Tide is a digital bank specifically designed for small businesses and freelancers.

Tide 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 also have strong reputations for customer service and security. 

There’s no clear winner between them at this time.

Tide vs Starling Bank: How Do the Account Fees Compare?

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

FeesTideStarling Bank
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 at Post Offices.
0.5% of cash amount for deposits over £500 at Post Offices.
3% of total amount 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 Bank Interest rates

Neither Tide nor Starling 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 of up to £1,000, while Tide doesn’t accept cheque deposits.

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 has implemented two-factor authentication, biometric logins, real-time notifications and the ability to instantly freeze your card.

Tide is ISO 27001 certified, meaning your information is safe and secure.

Starling has implemented two-factor authentication, biometric logins, real-time notifications, options to lock/unlock your cards, and 3D security, where they send payment verifications to your phone when necessary.

Both banks are highly secure.

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.

You should look at the app store ratings and reviews for both apps to gauge user satisfaction and determine 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 an average rating of 4.6/5 based on 117.8K reviews on Google Play. (as of May 2024)
  • The Tide APP has an average rating of 3.6/5 based on 18.3K reviews on Google Play. (as of May 2024)

Tide vs Starling Bank Customer Service

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

Tide has a live chat feature on its website and also offers email support.

Phone support is offered to users on paid plans.

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 vs Starling Bank Customer Reviews


Tide has a 4.1/5 score out of more than 19,000 reviews, with 5-star reviews making up 72% of the total and 1-star making up 18%.

Positive Reviews

A common trend in Tide’s positive reviews is the helpfulness and fast response times of its customer support.

Tide is praised for its wide array of features and intuitive app design which, combined, help enormously with managing business finances.

Tide vs Starling Business Bank Accounts
Tide vs Starling Business Bank Accounts
Tide vs Starling Business Bank Accounts

Negative Reviews

Most of these negative reviews speak of their accounts being closed out of nowhere, with funds being frozen in the account while receiving little to no help from customer support and being unable to close the account.

There are some reviews where users state they encountered hidden fees when making transactions without being given a reason by Tide.

Tide vs Starling Business Bank Accounts
Tide vs Starling Business Bank Accounts

Starling Bank

Starling has 4.3/5 out of over 40,000 reviews. 76% of these reviews are 5-star, with a meagre 11% being 1-star.

Positive Reviews

Many positive reviews highlight Starling’s ease of use and helpful customer support, both of which are enormously helpful when running a complex business.

Some people also appreciate Starling’s lack of fees, which makes it a more affordable option than most.

Tide vs Starling Business Bank Accounts
Tide vs Starling Business Bank Accounts

Negative Reviews

Some users have reported being unable to open accounts despite providing the required documents and having no such issues with other brands.

Another area that users have found limiting is Starling’s lack of multi-currency services.

Tide vs Starling Business Bank Accounts
Tide vs Starling Business Bank Accounts

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.