How and why Tide gets to know you – KYC explained

How and why Tide gets to know you – KYC explained


We know that, as a small business owner, your time is valuable – and we believe it shouldn’t take all day to set up a new account. That’s why we keep the information we ask you to provide to a minimum, while still making sure our platform is safe and secure. When you open an account with us, we’ll ask you a few questions so we can get to know you and your business better. These checks are often referred to in banking as KYC, which stands for Know Your Customer – or, in Tide terms, making sure we know our members. Read on to learn more about this process and why it’s important.

Table of contents

What is KYC?

KYC is a standard practice in which banks and banking providers carry out checks to make sure customers are who they say they are. Tide is no different – we want to make sure our platform is safe for everyone who uses it. It’s also important we understand our members and their businesses because it reinforces our mission to save business owners time and money.

Passing our KYC checks

When we run KYC checks, we’re looking at your business and how it operates to make sure a Tide account is right for you. Fetching this information also helps us effectively manage who can connect to Tide via other banking providers. 

We work closely with small and medium-sized businesses to offer helpful features and guidance such as our Member Spotlights, small business tips and more – all curated with Tide members in mind. The KYC process goes a long way in ensuring that we don’t onboard businesses we’re not confident we can cater to. 

There are also types of businesses (in certain industries) that we’re not able to support at the moment. This might be because they’re too high risk, or they’d require a level of focus that we’re not able to provide right now. Most of all, we want to be able to continue to offer the best support to our existing member base.

Why are you asking me for additional documents?

Most of the time, when you give us the information we ask for, we’ll be able to get underway with opening your account. However, Tide is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and this means we have to conduct customer due diligence on every member. As part of these obligations, we’ll need to know about any changes to your business details or how your company operates. That’s why we’ll check in with you from time to time to double-check the information we hold for your business and make sure it’s still correct. 

We’re also required to keep all the data we collect during the KYC process for five years after you end your business relationship with us – we must do this to follow money laundering regulations. 

Timelines for our KYC checks

The time it’ll take us to carry out our KYC checks can vary from business to business. It could be a short conversation in your Tide app, or it might take us several days to gather everything we need to make a decision. The good news is that our teams work around the clock to manage these details – so the sooner you pass on the information we need, the sooner we’ll confirm if we can open an account for you, or if Tide is right for you. 

Can Member Support give me more information?

Our Member Support team are separate from the team that handles KYC for Tide. Because of this, they aren’t able to provide any updates on the status of your application or give you advice if you’ve been asked to supply more information relating to your account. However, Member Support can point you in the right direction to find messages related to your application.

Please bear in mind that opening new chats with the Member Support team won’t help speed up your application process – in fact, it might even confuse or prolong it because of the multiple threads. We kindly ask you not to do this: the KYC team will be in touch as soon as they can, and we appreciate your patience.

Why was my application rejected?

We hate to say no, but if we’ve told you that we can’t offer you an account with us, this decision is always in line with our policies and procedures. We understand that you’ll want to know exactly why we’ve come to this decision – unfortunately, we’re not able to provide more detailed information because of our risk controls. However, you might want to take a look at our KYC-specific FAQ which tells you more about the types of businesses we’re not able to onboard. 

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