Tide vs Monese: comparing business bank accounts


Taking the step to work for yourself is a big decision and the first of many along the road to setting up your own business. Along with writing a business plan, deciding on your company name, and determining your marketing strategy, deciding whether to open a business bank account may not be your number one priority. However, if you’re hoping to secure investment for expansion at any point, then it makes sense to open a business bank account from Day 1.

The next decision is who to open an account with. If you’re trying to choose between Tide and Monese for your business bank account, then we’re here to help. 

These two challenger banks may look very similar on the surface, but under the hood there’s quite a lot to separate them. In this article we’ll take you through all the key differences, as well as where they overlap, so you can make an informed decision. This article covers pricing, core features, accounting capabilities, invoicing, using your card abroad, and much more.

Before we start comparing the similarities and differences between the two, let’s explain the backstory and figure out why the banking scene has expanded so much in recent years.

Table of contents

The need for challenger banks

Before the financial crash in 2008, the UK banking sector was dominated by a handful of major high street banks. In addition to creating a dangerous concentration of risk, this monopolistic market failed to foster innovation and reduced customer choice to half a dozen lookalike services.

The government recognised the danger inherent in the financial market, and so created new legislation to encourage greater competition and the creation of new banks to challenge the status quo.

Since then, the financial sector has seen a wave of innovation from a flurry of technology-driven startups. The new ‘fintechs’ are characterised by their nimble ability to create new types of products and services, their web and mobile applications, and their ability to focus on niche customer segments.

Tide and Monese are two of these new challenger banks. Let’s look at what they offer.

So much more than a business bank account
At Tide, we support those who work for themselves. When you become a Tide member, you don’t just get a business account, but access to our business finance platform saving you time with your admin. You can register your company for free and get a virtual office address all in one go. And, once you’re up and running, you can easily send invoices, track your expenses, add expense cards for your team and let Cashflow Insights help you stay cash flow positive.
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Tide vs Monese: the similarities

Although both Tide and Monese offer cards, there are also a host of differences between the two.

While both provide business bank accounts, Tide also offers a digital platform with a host of built-in accounting and tax features.

Monese does offer a dedicated business bank account, which is suitable for limited companies. Sole traders can use the Monese personal account. Monese seems focused on convenient payment options and personal budgeting tools, and it seems to excel in these areas.

Let’s compare the core features of Tide and Monese accounts. For this comparison, we will compare the Monese Business Account. 

Tide Monese
Cash deposits ✔️ ✔️
Freeze/unfreeze card in the app ✔️ ✔️
Extra expense cards for employees ✔️
(£5 per month on Free account
or 1 free expense card per month
with £9.99 + VAT/per month Tide Plus)
Accountancy software integration ✔️
FSCS protected ✔️
Information correct as of 30 November 2021

Tide vs Monese: key differences

Let’s explore the ways that business bank accounts offered by both TIde and Monese differ.

FSCS protection

While both Tide and Monese use other providers to provide their core banking services, for new members Tide offers a full bank account (provided by ClearBank), while Monese offers an e-money account through PrePay Technologies.

While this difference doesn’t make a huge impact on how the cards function, it does make a difference to how the two companies are protected. 

Tide is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which protects your deposits (up to £85,000). Monese is considered to be an electronic money payment service, rather than a bank. As such, they are covered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA does protect your money, but in the event of a banking failure, you would receive a proportion of your funds once other creditors had been paid.

Accounting features

Monese began as a personal bank account provider, and more recently expanded to include a business account option. Currently, the accounting features are limited to a mobile invoicing service, giving you the ability to easily create and send invoices from anywhere. You can add VAT to your invoices, but Monese does not yet calculate or prepare your VAT returns. You do have the option to create ‘pots’ of money so that you can save for different purposes.

Tide provides business bank accounts through ClearBank and also has an app and online portal that are rich in accounting and tax features. You can use Tide to create invoices, record payments, prepare your VAT returns, and monitor your financial performance. We’ll look at these features in more depth later in the article.

Accounting integrations

At the time of writing, Monese does not integrate with any external accounting packages. The primary way to get your transactions into your accounting software is by downloading statements as Excel spreadsheets and then importing them into your accounting software.

Tide offers direct connections to a wide range of accounting packages. Tide will push your latest transactions to your accounts software every 24 hours. Tide works with Xero, Sage, Quickbooks, Crunch, ClearBooks, KashFlow and Reckon. 

Tide vs Monese: how much do accounts cost?

Tide offers a free business bank account, provided by ClearBank that comes loaded with accounting and tax features. While you can upgrade to a paid plan for additional benefits, you can also remain on the free plan for as long as you like.

Monese offers a single plan for business users, which costs £9.95 per month.

Tide Monese
Monthly account charge Free Free
Fee 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)
£1 at Post Office
2.5% at PayPoints
Fee for payments in or out 20p each Free
Fee for Direct Debits 20p each Free
Information correct as of 30 November 2021

Tide vs Monese: add-ons and paid plans

Monese packages

Monese does not currently offer any additional services or bolt-on packages. However, the standard account, for £9.95 per month, does include invoicing, Direct Debits, and up to 10 pots so you can save for a variety of purposes (useful for setting aside VAT and corporation tax).

Tide paid account plans

As well as the free Tide account with no monthly fee, Tide also offers some upgrade plans with additional features. Choose Tide Plus (£49.99 per month + VAT) to get 20 free transfers per month, as well as access to a legal helpline and telephone support. With this plan, you can also get a free Company Expense card – ideal if you are building a team and want to simplify the management of your expenses. 

The Tide Cashback plan (£49.99 per month + VAT) is best suited to established businesses that can benefit from 0.5% cashback on all card purchases. You also get a dedicated account manager, 150 free transfers per month, and 3 Company Expense Cards for your team. Cashback is earned on all card spending, including purchases on Company Expense cards.

Tide Invoice Assistant bundle

Tide includes a powerful invoicing system as standard – even with the no monthly fee account.

For £10 + VAT per month you can add the Invoice Assistant, which simplifies your invoicing and credit control processes. Automatic payment matching and automatic late-payment reminders mean you can spend less time managing your money and more time building your business. This package also includes 2 free Direct Debits per month. By setting up a Direct Debit agreement with your clients, you can get paid automatically on an agreed date. 

Company registration service

If you want to run your business as a limited company, Tide offers a simple way to register your company and open a bank account at the same time. Tide will even pay the £12 registration fee to Companies House on your behalf. The Tide company name checker makes it easy to compare the best available company names.

Not sure if you should go limited or do business as a sole trader? Read our guide: Limited company or sole trader? What to consider before you choose

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

Both Tide and Monese are very similar when it comes to paying in cheques and cash. As neither have physical bank branches of their own, users can visit Post Offices and PayPoints to deposit cash.

Tide charges £2.50 for deposits up to £500 or 0.5% of the cash amount for deposits over £500 at Post Offices, and 3% at PayPoints.

Neither Tide nor Monese accept cheques.

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

Tide Monese
Apply through the app ✔️ ✔️
Quick application ✔️ ✔️
Credit check
Card delivery timescale 2 – 5 working days 2 – 5 working days
Replacement card fee Free Free
Information correct as of 30 November 2021

Tide account sign-up

You can create your Tide account through the app, or online. Simply download the Tide app from the App Store or the Google Play Store. You will also need a form of identification such as a passport, European National ID card, or a driving license. You may also need to show evidence that your business is up and running, such as a letter from HMRC or a signed contract.

The Tide pledge is that 53% of new business customers open their accounts in under 10 minutes, 70% in under 60 minutes, and 81% within 48 hours. You won’t be subjected to a hard credit check and your accompanying bank card will be supplied for free. If you lose your card, there’s no fee to order a replacement.

Monese account sign-up

You can sign up for a Monese account online, or through their website. Monese recently added a web portal, so you can now also manage your account and view transactions through their website, as well as on the mobile app.

When you sign up for a Monese Business account, you automatically also get a Monese personal account.

Tide vs Monese: using your card abroad

Tide Monese
Foreign transactions Free 0.5% fee
Foreign ATM withdrawals £1 each 0.5% fee
Information correct as of 30 November 2021

Both Tide and Monese accounts can be used overseas. Tide does not charge for foreign transactions, and charges a flat £1 fee if you withdraw cash from an ATM. Monese charges a 0.5% fee for all foreign transactions and cash withdrawals.  

Tide vs Monese: the all-important customer support

Tide Monese
Customer service via the app ✔️ ✔️
Customer service via telephone ✔️
Information correct as of 30 November 2021

If you have a free Tide account, you can contact their Member Support team through the app, or you can request a call back by email. There is also a dedicated 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.

Monese offers support by email, or you can chat with Monese instantly through their app.

Tide vs Monese: similar, yet different

As you can see, Tide and Monese are quite different. While Tide is purely focused on business banking, Monese began as a personal bank account designed to make it easier to move money around the world. And while Monese has begun expanding into the business market, they have yet to offer the same degree of business features such as accounting integrations, advanced invoicing features, and tax calculations.

Monese might be a suitable option for you if your accounting needs are minimal and you plan to make frequent overseas transactions. 

With the breadth of business services and accounting features offered by Tide, it has a lot to offer both fledgling businesses, and those that are more established, or have plans to grow. Tide also offers full FSCS protection. 

Come and be part of the Tide community 👷‍♀️👨‍🍳

Over 350,000 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 customised invoices for FREE

✔️ 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 bank account with Tide today 🚀


Sources used for this article

  1. Wikipedia – Challenger Banks
  2. Wikipedia – Financial Crash 2008
  3. Monese website

Caroline Wire

Caroline Wire

Senior Small Business Copywriter

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