Tide vs Mettle: Comparing business bank accounts

With so many business banks to choose from, you might find it hard to decide which one has the account you need. The big high street banks may be well known, but newer ‘challengers’ are using digital technology, agility, and niche offerings to bring greater choice to business banking.

Among these new challenger banks are Tide and Mettle. Both provide business bank accounts that can be opened and used via a smartphone app, and both offer a range of useful features for managing your money. But is either one right for you?

In this article, we compare Tide and Mettle so you can see how these two are similar – and where they differ.

Table of contents

Tide vs Mettle: the similarities

Both Tide and Mettle offer business bank accounts with added accounting features. Neither Tide nor Mettle have physical bank branches, so they focus on creating brilliant mobile apps that put you in control 24/7.

Tide and Mettle both cater for sole traders and registered limited companies, and both also offer the option of web access via desktop and laptop devices. Mettle’s web access was in beta test phase when this post was last updated (November 2022).  

Both providers aim to simplify typical business banking tasks, such as invoicing and bookkeeping. Tide and Mettle both offer invoicing features, and both can be integrated with a range of accounting software packages.

Tide Mettle
Cash deposits ✔️ ✔️
Freeze/unfreeze card in the app ✔️ ✔️
Additional cards for employees ✔️
(£5 month on Free plan or free
with £9.99/ + VAT month plan)
Accountancy software integration ✔️ ✔️
FSCS protection ✔️
Information correct as of November 2022

Tide vs Mettle: key differences

The big differences between Tide and Mettle begin when we look at the core of their respective services: the accounts.

Bank vs e-money account (and FSCS protection)

Tide offers bank accounts that are provided by ClearBank and are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which protects your deposits up to £85,000.

Mettle offers an electronic money account, which is not technically a bank account and is more like a PayPal account. You can still use it to hold money and make payments, but your Mettle account is not covered by the FSCS.

Advanced accounting features + VAT returns

Mettle offers mobile invoicing, so you can quickly create and send invoices to your clients as soon as you’ve completed the work. You can also match payments against invoices and keep track of your unpaid invoices.

With Mettle’s Money Pots feature, you can also put aside money from your main account to save for things like tax and new equipment.

Tide goes a few steps further with free invoicing and accounting features. As well as a comprehensive invoicing feature, Tide’s VAT registration feature helps you prepare and process your VAT returns. Tide can also categorise your spending so you can easily see where your money goes.

Tide also has a business forecasting tool called Cashflow Insights, which analyses your account activity and forecasts your cashflow up to 30 days ahead. It then recommends actions you can take to improve your cash flow situation.

Tide vs Mettle: how much do accounts cost?

Both Tide and Mettle offer free business bank accounts.

Tide Mettle
Monthly account charge £0 £0
Fee for cash deposits £2.50 for deposits up to £500
or 0.5% of cash amount for deposits over £500
(at Post Offices)
or 3% at Paypoints
Fee for cheque deposits Cheques not accepted Cheques not accepted
Fee for payments in or out 20p each Free
Fee for direct debits 20p each Free
Information correct as of November 2022

Tide vs Mettle: add-ons and paid plans

Mettle does not offer any additional services or paid plans. However, they do offer a free account with FreeAgent, a popular online accounting service. The FreeAgent offer is free as long as you make at least one transaction per month. If no transactions are made, you will be charged a FreeAgent subscription fee.

Tide Plus

With the Tide Plus account (£9.99 / month + VAT), you get 20 free transfers per month, as well as access to a legal helpline and telephone support. You also get a free company expense card, which makes it easier to track and manage the spending that you and your employees do on behalf of the business.

Tide Cashback

The Tide Cashback account (£49.99 per month + VAT) gives you 0.5% cashback on all purchases – including anything you buy with a company Expense Card. This plan also includes:

  • a dedicated team of account managers
  • 150 free transfers per month, and
  • 3 company expense cards.

Tide Invoice Assistant

All Tide’s accounts includes a free invoicing feature, so you can create, send, and track invoices from your Tide account.

If you want to improve your credit control and bookkeeping, you can add the Invoice Assistant for £10 per month + VAT. This gives you automatic payment matching and automatic late-payment reminders. You can also set up 2 free Direct Debits per month – helpful for getting paid on time by regular clients.

Company formation service

Tide’s company formation service allows you to create a limited company at the same time as you open your business bank account. Tide will take care of the paperwork, and even pay the £12 fee to Companies House.

You can also use the Tide company name and web domain checkers to see if your preferred business names and website addresses are still available.

Tide vs Mettle: how easy is it to pay in cash or cheques?

Tide and Mettle both let you pay in cash at PayPoints and Post Offices, but neither accepts cheques.

Cash deposits are free with Mettle. Tide charges £2.50 for deposits of up to £500 or 0.5% of the cash amount for deposits over £500 at Post Offices, or a 3% fee on the total deposit at PayPoints.

Tide vs Mettle: how easy is it to open a business bank account?

Tide Mettle
Apply through the app ✔️ ✔️
Quick application ✔️ ✔️
Credit check
Card delivery fee Free Free
Card delivery timescale 2-5 working days 3-5 working days
Replacement card fee Free Free
Information correct as of November 2022

Tide account sign-up

To set up a Tide business bank account, you’ll first need to download the Tide app. You will also need identification, such as a passport, driving licence or a European National ID. You may also need evidence that your business is up and running, such as a contract or a letter from HMRC.

Mettle account sign-up

Mettle offers a similarly quick sign-up service. You give them your mobile number and they send you a text with a link to download the Mettle app. Within the app, the sign-up process takes just a few minutes and you will receive your card in 3-5 working days.

Tide vs Mettle: using your card in the UK and abroad

Tide Mettle
Foreign transactions Free Free
Foreign ATM withdrawals £1 each Free
Information correct as of November 2022

You can use both Tide and Mettle cards abroad without paying any transaction fees. Tide charges £1 for each cash withdrawal at an overseas ATM, and Mettle does not charge for this service.

Tide vs Mettle: the all-important customer support

Tide Mettle
Customer support via the app ✔️ ✔️
Customer support via telephone ✔️ ✔️
Information correct as of November 2022

With the free Tide account, you can reach Member Support through the app or by sending an email to request a call back. There is a dedicated phone line for reporting lost or stolen cards.

Tide Plus, Pro and Cashback members can access direct telephone support, as well as legal advice through a 24/7 helpline.

Members, on any plan, can call the Fraud Rapid Response team by calling 159. Use +44 20 4587 0366 if you’re calling from abroad. Lines are open 24/7.

Mettle offers support to all customers by in-app chat, phone and email.

Tide vs Mettle conclusion: similar yet different

As you can see, Tide and Mettle are both advanced business bank accounts with a focus on mobile and online banking. Both services help to unite your banking and your financial information to make it quicker and easier to manage your money, while also gaining a clearer picture of your financial health. 

Mettle may appeal more to small businesses without big ambitions, while companies with plans to grow may prefer Tide’s extensive range of business features.

Sources used for this article

  1. Mettle website – https://faqs.mettle.co.uk/en/

All sources checked as of November 2022

Caroline Wire

Caroline Wire

Senior Small Business Copywriter

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