ClearBank and Tide awarded £25 million to step up our challenge to High Street banks

ClearBank in partnership with Tide has been awarded £25 million from the RBS Alternative Remedies Package to strengthen our challenge to High Street banks.

With this grant, we’ll be able to develop even more useful features to small businesses. We’ll open up access to our digital finance tools and improve options for funding.

Both Clearbank and Tide have made gains in market share in the last 18 months. The initiatives we’ll be developing build on these gains, as we further break down barriers to competition in business banking. 

Ultimately, our aim is to give small and medium-sized businesses the tools they need to turn the Covid-19 crisis into opportunity. 

The initiatives we’ll be working on, funded by this grant, include:

Open access to more customers

Use Open Banking to enable customers of other banks to use Tide

We plan to use Open Banking as it was intended: to allow businesses to use an existing third-party business current account on the Tide platform. 

Customers will be able to make payments and use our smart features such as invoicing, expense management and VAT Manager. 

There will be no need to move the existing account to Tide. One of the issues with business banking is the perceived barriers to switching – this initiative makes it easy for small business owners to move their payments and finance admin without moving their business bank account.

Improve opportunities for funding

Create unparalleled access to credit and equity

Funding providers need to match businesses’ diverse requirements with a broad range of options, rather than offering one-size-fits-all credit.

Building on our Pool A deliverables, ClearBank and Tide will partner with third-party lenders. We’ll make ‘beyond Open Banking’ data available through a Tide Lending API and build on our own lending by enabling overdrafts.

For more complex lending, ClearBank and Tide will develop and launch solutions to bring together borrowers and investors, both angel and venture capital

Help small businesses be more digital

Support digital payments and business development

ClearBank and Tide will introduce ‘request to pay’ (by sending a handy link with your invoice, making it simple for your clients to ‘pay now’), confirmation of payee and digital cheques.

For our members, Tide will help them grow by creating, curating and maintaining an online member directory, for businesses to showcase and advertise services. And to help our members save even more time, we’ll also create a network of selected accountants and payroll providers to help with their business admin.

A word from our CEOs…

Charles McManus, Group CEO of ClearBank, said: 

“The pandemic has created deep-seated uncertainty, particularly among UK SMEs who are among the hardest hit. This grant will help us ensure SMEs not only survive this but are able to seize the opportunities available and thrive in the long-term. 

“By securing the additional funding from Pool E, we’ll be able to have even more impact, building on our on-target Pool A delivery.  

“We’ve committed to integrating with at least 25 SME partners. These businesses will help us offer innovative solutions for SMEs. We believe these partnerships, along with powerful new tools, will make Clearbank and Tide’s services an even more compelling alternative to the High Street banks.”

Oliver Prill, CEO of Tide, said: 

“We’re grateful that the BCR has granted our partnership with ClearBank this opportunity to create a genuine alternative to the oligopoly that has dominated the UK SME business banking market for too long. 

“Competition and choice is more important than ever and this grant will help us address it urgently. Switching accounts is tricky, with old barriers remaining, reinforced by the Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis. For example, repayments under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme will link millions of SMEs to the ‘big five’ banks for many years.

Suzanne Worthington

Suzanne Worthington

Senior Writer

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