Tide vs Mettle: Comparing business bank accounts

Tide vs Mettle: Comparing business bank accounts

Looking for a new business bank account?

You’re in luck. Now is a great time to get a new business account, because a wave of startups are transforming the way businesses manage their money. Opening a business bank account is a key action to take when you’re considering starting up on your own. It should be considered alongside writing a business plan, deciding on your company name, and determining your marketing strategy, It’s particularly invaluable if you’re looking to secure funding for your new venture.

With so many new business banks to choose from, you might find it challenging to choose. In this article we compare Tide and Mettle, so you can see how these two are similar, and where they divide.

But first, a bit of context on this explosion of business banking choice…

Table of contents

What are the challenger banks?

Not so long ago, the banking landscape was dominated by a handful of major players. Your choice was limited to one of the high street banks, which usually treated business accounts as a secondary service stream. Innovation was rare and the choice usually boiled down to which bank had a branch near your business.

Then the financial crisis of 2008 happened. As the credit crunch crumbled the banking sector, governments recognised the need for change. New rules were introduced to encourage new banks and new kinds of financial services.

And this new era of financial regulation launched a wave of challenger banks (so-called because they are ‘challenging’ the established players). These new banks are characterised by their digital technology, their agility in responding to consumer demand, and their ability to meet the needs of niche markets.

As Tide and Mettle are two such challengers, let’s see how they stack up.

Tide vs Mettle: the similarities

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

Both services are also intended to simplify typical business banking tasks, such as invoicing and book-keeping. 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 December 2021

Tide vs Mettle: Key differences

The big differences begin at the core of these two services.

Bank vs e-money account (and FSCS protection)

For new members Tide offers a full bank account (provided by ClearBank) and existing members can upgrade to this too. Tide is also covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which protects your deposits (up to £85,000). Read more about how Tide keeps your money safe in our article e-money vs bank accounts.

Mettle offers an electronic money account, which is not technically a bank account and is more akin to 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 the work is complete. You can also match payments against invoices and keep track of your unpaid invoices. 

Tide goes a few steps further with free invoicing and accounting features. As well as a comprehensive invoicing feature, Tide’s VAT registration feature will help 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. Cashflow Insights analyses your account activity and will forecast your cash flow situation up to 30 days ahead. As well as this, it will also provide tailored recommendations in the app for actions you can take to improve your cash flow situation.

Online account access

Mobile banking and accounting is brilliantly convenient, but there are still times when desktop access is handy, such as times when you need to look at lots of numbers, or compare data across two sources. 

Mettle is currently mobile-only. Tide offers the option of web access. This is particularly handy for things like checking your statements or processing your VAT returns. 

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 December 2021

Tide vs Mettle: add-ons and paid plans

Let’s look at the various upgrades and extensions that you can get for these two business bank accounts…

Mettle packages

Mettle does not offer any additional services or products. 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 packages

The free Tide account is free forever. But you can also bolt on additional features and upgrade your account as your business grows.

Tide Plus

With Tide Plus (£9.99 / month + VAT) you get 20 free transfers per month, as well as access to a legal helpline and telephone support. You can also get a free company expense card, which makes a smart alternative to old-fashioned expense claims and bundles of receipts. 

Tide Cashback

The Tide Cashback account (£49.99 per month + VAT) gives you 0.5% cashback on all purchases. This plan also includes a dedicated account manager, 150 free transfers per month, and 3 company expense cards. You get 0.5% cashback on all card spending, including purchases made with the company expense cards. 

Tide Invoice Assistant

All Tides accounts includes a free invoicing feature, so you can create, send, and track invoices from the Tide app (or online).

If you want to power-up your credit control and book-keeping, 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. This is an efficient way to get paid by clients – and is particularly helpful with regular clients (even if the amount you invoice varies each month).

Company formation service

Tide also offers a company formation service. If you want to create a limited company at the same time as registering your business, Tide will take care of the paperwork, and even pay the £12 fee to Companies House. You can use the Tide company name checker to see if your preferred business names are still available.

Wondering whether to go limited or operate as a sole trader? Read our guide: Limited company or sole trader? What to consider before you choose

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

Tide and Mettle operate similar policies: both accept cash at PayPoints and Post Offices. 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 2-5 working days
Replacement card fee Free Free
Information correct as of December 2021

Tide account sign-up

To set up a Tide business bank account, you’ll first need to download the Tide app from either the App Store or Google Play Store. 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.

Tide pledge that customer accounts can be opened in as little as ten minutes. You will only have to undergo a soft credit check, and your bank card is supplied for free. If you lose your Tide card, you can get a free replacement.

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. You will receive your card in 2-5 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 December 2021

You can use both Tide and Mettle cards abroad. Tide does not charge a fee for foreign transactions, but does charge £1 for each cash withdrawal. Mettle does not charge any foreign transaction fees.

Tide vs Mettle: the all-important customer support

Tide Mettle
Customer support via the app ✔️ ✔️
Customer support via telephone ✔️ ✔️
Information correct as of December 2021

With the free Tide account, you can reach their Member Support team through the app, or you can send an email to request a call back. There is a dedicated phone line for reporting lost or stolen cards. Tide Plus and Cashback members can access direct telephone support, as well as legal advice through a 24/7 helpline.

Mettle also offers in-app support chat. Alternatively you can contact Mettle by phone or 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 digital and mobile banking. Both services help to unite your banking and your financial information so you can speed up the processes of managing your money, while also gaining a clearer picture of your financial wellbeing. 

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. Whichever digital platform you choose, good luck with your next venture!

Join the Tide community 👷‍♀️👨🏽‍🍳

Over 370,000 fellow business owners, just like you, already love our features:

✔️ Register your business for free

✔️ Open a free business bank account with no monthly fees

✔️ Create and send free customised invoices

✔️ Predict your cash flow and improve your credit score

✔️ Unlock exclusive member perks and discounts

✔️ Get 24/7 legal support with Tide Plus and Cashback

Open your business account with Tide today 🚀

Sources used for this article

  1. Wikipedia – Challenger Banks
  2. Wikipedia – Financial Crash 2008
  3. Tide blog – e-money vs bank accounts: How Tide keeps your money safe
  4. Mettle website – https://faqs.mettle.co.uk/en/

All sources checked as of 26th January 2022

Caroline Wire

Caroline Wire

Senior Small Business Copywriter

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