Tide vs Monzo: Comparing business bank accounts

After spending £500 billion on rescuing the UK banking system, the sector’s regulators and UK government were keen to make sure the 2008 financial crisis could never be repeated. Their strategy to encourage more competition in banking helped to start a digital revolution in the sector.

Savvy entrepreneurs saw opportunities to bring new technology into the sector, and encourage a move away from the traditional high street banking model. These new, digital-first providers were known as the challenger banks.

Challenger banks defined

The challenger banks differ from traditional banks by putting digital practices at the heart of what they do. Many of them rejected the traditional high street branch model, preferring instead to operate through online-only banking or a mobile app.

Although not regulated as a bank, Tide is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Our ClearBank-provided bank accounts all have Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection. We are also one of the leading providers of digital business banking services in the UK.

In this article, we’ll explain the various products and services on offer from both Tide and Monzo – two of the UK’s most popular challenger banks.

Table of contents

Tide vs Monzo: the similarities

Feature Tide Monzo
Cash deposits ✔️ ✔️
Mobile and online banking ✔️ ✔️
Freeze/unfreeze card in the app ✔️ ✔️
Instant payment notifications ✔️ ✔️
Accountancy software integration ✔️ ✔️
Scheduled payments ✔️ ✔️
Apple Pay ✔️ ✔️
information correct as of November 2022

Established in 2015, Tide was one of the first digital-only finance platforms to provide bank accounts for small businesses. Monzo added a business-focused product to their portfolio in early 2020.

Both Tide and Monzo offer business bank accounts that can be opened and accessed using a smartphone app. With all accounts, you receive a payment card and there are no charges for payments made by debit card between Tide or Monzo accounts.

They also both offer easy integration with a host of popular accounting software. With Monzo, this is specifically QuickBooks, Xero, or Freeagent, whereas Tide accounts will integrate with a wider range of accounting software, including Sage.

Another similarity is that neither Monzo nor Tide has a branch network, preferring instead to use an online-only banking model.

Tide vs Monzo: how much do accounts cost?

Feature Tide Monzo
Monthly account charge Free Free
Transfer costs Free between Tide accounts 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 PayPoints) (max payment of £300 in one go and up to £1,000 every 6 months)

Fee for payments in or out 20p Free (UK only)
Fee for Direct Debits 20p each Free
Fee for replacement cards Free 2 free per year, then £5 each thereafter
information correct as of November 2022

It’s free to open a Tide account and there’s no monthly fee for our entry-level business account. There are also no fees for transferring money between Tide accounts. Transfers to or from other bank accounts cost 20p.

As with Tide, it’s free to open a Monzo account and there are no monthly charges if you open a Monzo Lite account. Monzo allows you to move money easily with instant, free bank transfers in the UK. For those travelling abroad, neither Tide nor Monzo makes any charge for overseas spending.

Tide vs Monzo: account tiers and paid plans

Monzo Business Pro

Both Tide and Monzo offer paid accounts that give you access to extra features. For £5 per month, Monzo’s Business Pro account provides a host of features – including the option to set aside a percentage of any incoming payments for future tax purposes.

The Monzo Business Pro account also comes with:

  • virtual cards for your main account or tax pots
  • multi-user access for limited companies
  • integrated accounting with Xero, FreeAgent, or QuickBooks
  • 6 months free use of accountancy software Xero.

Other features include the ability to automatically label your expenses and add receipts to your payments. All Monzo accounts are FSCS-protected up to £85,000.

Tide Invoice Assistant

Within the Tide free account, automatic labelling of your transactions comes for free. It’s also free to upload receipts, and to create and send invoices electronically. 

However, for £10 +VAT per month, you can upgrade to Tide’s Invoice Assistant bundle and benefit from:

  • automated matching and payment of invoices
  • automatic chasing of invoices
  • 2 free Direct Debits per month.

Perfect for sole traders and owners of limited companies.

Tide Plus and Cashback

As well as the free standard account, Tide also offers upgrade options to support you as your business grows. For £9.99 per month +VAT, the Tide Plus account gives you:

  • telephone support
  • a 24/7 legal helpline
  • up to 20 free transfers in and out, and 
  • a free company expense card, to manage your business purchases.

At £49.99 per month + VAT, Tide Cashback is great for those scaling their businesses or running larger companies. As well as a dedicated team of account managers, you will receive:

  • 150 free transfers per month
  • 0.5% cashback on all spend on your Tide card, and
  • 3 company expense cards for you and your team.

How easy is it to pay in cash?

If you need to deposit cash, Tide lets you do this at Post Offices for a charge of £2.50 on deposits up to £500 – or 0.5% of the cash amount for deposits over £500. You can also use PayPoints with a Tide account with a fee of 3%.

Monzo doesn’t offer a Post Office cash deposit service, but you can deposit cash at PayPoints for a fee of £1.

How easy is it to open a business bank account with Tide vs Monzo?

When it comes to deciding to open a bank account for your business, both Tide and Monzo have made the process pretty seamless with no long forms to fill in.

Feature Tide Monzo
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 2 free, then £5 each
information correct as of November 2022

Tide account sign-up

Before you apply to open a business bank account with Tide, you’ll first need to download the Tide app. You will then need to provide a form of ID: either a driving licence, passport, or European National ID card.

You may also be asked to provide evidence that your business is already up and running, such as HMRC registration, evidence of your qualifications, or signed contracts.

There will be no 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.

Monzo account sign-up

As with Tide, the application process for a Monzo business account is very straightforward. You can apply directly from your phone via the Monzo app. To open a Monzo account, you must be at least 16 years old and a UK resident.

In terms of ID, a valid passport, driving licence, National ID card, or biometric residence permit are all acceptable. You will need a smartphone with a camera so you can photograph your ID. Monzo says the account sign-up process can take just 10 minutes.

As with Tide, no hard credit check is conducted and you’ll receive a free bank card within 2 to 5 working days by post once your application is accepted.

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

Feature Tide Monzo
Free foreign transactions Unlimited Unlimited
Foreign ATM withdrawals £1 each Free in European Economic Area
In other countries – withdraw £200 for free every 30 days. After this 3% charge applies
information correct as of November 2022

Both Tide and Monzo offer free card transactions when spending in the UK. Monzo also allows you to withdraw up to £400 per day for free from UK ATMs.

If you travel abroad, you can use your Tide card anywhere that Mastercard is accepted. You’ll also receive the Mastercard exchange rate with no additional fees. Unlike many other digital or high street banks, there is also no limit to how much you can spend abroad for free. However, you will still be charged £1 to withdraw cash at an ATM (the same charge as applies in the UK).

You can also enjoy free international spending with no limits with Monzo. Like Tide, the Mastercard exchange rate will also apply with no extra fees. If you use an ATM to take out cash within the European Economic Area, there is no withdrawal fee. In non-EEA countries, you can withdraw £200 for free every 30 days – but a 3% charge will apply beyond this limit.

Tide vs Monzo: customer support

Feature Tide Monzo
Customer service via the app ✔️ ✔️
Customer service by phone ✔️ ✔️
information correct as of November 2022

With a free Tide account, you can contact Tide Member Support through the app, or you can also send an email with your contact number and request a call back during working hours. There is also an automated telephone service to report a lost or stolen card.

Members on the Tide Plus, Pro or Cashback plans have access to telephone support, as well as a 24/7 legal helpline for help with any tax or contractual issues. Tide Cashback members also benefit from their own dedicated team of account managers.

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.

Monzo provides 24/7 support to business customers through the in-app chat, as well as email and telephone assistance.

Tide vs Monzo in conclusion: similar yet different

The business bank accounts on offer from both Tide and Monzo have many similarities:

  • they are both digital accounts, which you can manage from the convenience of a mobile app
  • you can apply for a free business bank account with no monthly charges with both Tide and Monzo
  • their free accounts are packed full of smart features – with the option to upgrade to paid accounts or bundles to suit your business needs.

However, while Monzo offers both personal and business bank accounts, Tide’s sole mission is to help start-ups and entrepreneurs save time and money.

From company registration, VAT registration and setting up a virtual office address, to invoicing, expense management and managing your cash flow, Tide supports small business owners at every step of their journey.

Souces used for this article

  1. Monzo Business – https://monzo.com/i/business
  2. Monzo Business Help – https://monzo.com/i/business/help

All sources checked November 2022

Caroline Wire

Caroline Wire

Senior Small Business Copywriter

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