Doing business overseas? Discover the best multi-currency accounts in the UK to receive and send money abroad.
Digital banking is hugely popular in the UK. In fact, the UK is viewed as one of the most digitally engaged countries in Europe, with almost 85% of people using online and digital banking services overall¹. It’s no surprise then that digital business banking is also a big hit in the UK, with neobanks and alternative providers offering feature packed accounts for businesses of all sizes.
If you’re choosing between Starling Bank vs Tide for your business, this review is for you. We’ll compare Tide Bank vs Starling across features and fees, and also introduce an alternative - Wise Business. Wise is a great choice for businesses looking for multi-currency account options, with 50+ supported currencies, linked payment cards, and time saving tools. More on that later.
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So what are the key differences when it comes to a Starling bank business account² vs a Tide business bank account³? We’ll work through the features offered by each provider side by side in a moment - but as a starting point it helps to understand that Tide and Starling business accounts have a few important points of difference.
Firstly, Starling is a licenced UK bank, while Tide is a financial technology company. Both providers are properly regulated and safe to use - but they don’t have exactly the same services on offer. Starling, for example, can offer overdraft facilities, and also has international payment services. Tide doesn’t have these options, but does have a solid selection of account plans, including the cash back option which earns you rewards on card spending. Tide also offers extra services like help with registering a UK company, plus some business loan facilities.
Ultimately whether Tide, Starling - or another provider, like Wise Business - is right for you will depend on how you expect to transact. Let’s kick off with an overview of the features offered by Tide vs Starling - and some important fees.
|Service||Tide Bank⁴||Starling Bank⁵|
|Free business account||✅||✅|
|Paid business account||✅ plans for up to £49.99 per month||✅ add in extra features for a fee|
|Multi-currency account||❌||✅ USD⁶ and EUR⁷|
|International payments||❌||✅ to 35+ countries, fees from £5.5 + 0.4%⁸|
|Accounting integrations||✅ Xero, QuickBooks, Sage||✅ Xero, QuickBooks, FreeAgent⁹|
|Phone support||✅ paying account tiers only||✅|
|Manage and send invoices||✅||✅ £7 per month¹⁰|
|Bulk payments||❌||✅ £7 month|
Starling Bank is a fully licensed UK digital neobank which enables business clients, including sole proprietors, to easily manage their funds online and in the Starling app with minimal fees. The core Starling business account is a fee-free GBP account, which comes with a linked debit card.
Once you’ve opened a GBP business account from Starling, you can also set up a Starling USD account and a Starling euro account, plus account holders can access the Starling business toolkit and bulk payment features. The business toolkit offers time-saving tools for managing bills, invoices, tax, VAT, and more.
Starling can facilitate international business payments to over 35 countries. The fees vary, but typically include a 0.4% currency exchange fee if currency conversion is needed and a transfer fee of approximately 5.5 GBP per payment. Learn more about international payment fees from Starling bank here.
|💡 Read more: Revolut vs Starling business account: comparison for the UK|
Here’s a run down of the key fees involved in opening and using a Starling business bank account:
|Service/feature||Starling Bank business account fee|
|GBP account||No fee|
|USD account||£5 per month|
|EUR account||£2 per month|
|Business toolkit||£7 per month|
|Bulk payments||£7 per month|
|Cash deposit||£3 or 0.7% whichever is higher|
|UK ATM charge||No fee|
|Pros ✅||Cons ❌|
Let’s move on to our Tide business bank account review. Tide is a financial technology company¹³, rather than a bank, and has a selection of business accounts to suit different customer types.
You can get a free Tide account which has some service limitations, or choose to upgrade to an account tier with monthly fees, which also offers priority service, free transactions, free linked Tide expense cards and even cash back on card spending.
To access cash back on card spending you’ll have to upgrade to the top tier of Tide account, at 49.99 GBP per month. This account has all of Tide’s available features, with 0.5% cash back, too.
Tide expense cards can be used to spend and make cash withdrawals at home and abroad, with a Tide fee of 1 GBP per withdrawal. You can’t send Tide international payments with a standard Tide account - this service is only available to customers with a Tide International Currency Account, which has been discontinued for new users. However, you can still send your money overseas from Tide by using a third party service, like Wise Business¹⁴.
|💡 Read more: Tide vs Revolut Business comparison|
Here’s a run down of the key fees involved in opening and using a Tide business bank account:
|Service/feature||Tide Bank business account fee|
|Monthly fee||Free account - No fee |
Plus account - £9.99 per month
Pro account - £18.99 per month
Cashback account - £49.99 per month
|Expense cards||£5 per month per card - some plans include free expense cards in the monthly fee|
|Transfers in and out||£0.2 - some plans include free transfers in the monthly fee|
|Cash deposit||0.5% at Post Office, 3% elsewhere|
|Pros ✅||Cons ❌|
Not sure about either Starling vs Tide? Wise Business can be an ideal alternative for companies looking for a straightforward and simple multi-currency account with powerful international features. Here are some of the key features and services UK businesses can get from a Wise account:
- Open an account for a low one time fee, and no ongoing charges
- Hold and exchange 40+ currencies
- Send payments to 160+ countries
- All currency exchange uses the mid-market rate with low fees from 0.41%
- Local bank account details to get paid fee free in 9 currencies
- Get linked debit and expense cards for you and your team
- Accounting integrations and batch payments with no extra fees
- Add and manage user permissions to allow team members to access your account as required
You can even earn a return on the money you hold in multiple currencies. With Wise Interest, you can get a 4.82% variable rate on your GBP balance held in your Wise Business multi-currency account.
Capital at risk. Current rates do not guarantee future growth.
Variable rate is based on 7 day performance as of 10 Aug 2023. This fund has returned an 0.93% annual average over the last 5 years, excluding Wise and fund manager fees. See full 5 year past performance of funds
Here’s a run down of the key fees involved in opening and using a Wise Business bank account:
|Account opening fee||£45 no ongoing fees after this|
|Order a Wise card||£3|
|Receive payments||Free to receive payments in up to 10 currencies using local bank details |
Free to receive USD by ACH, with a 4.14 USD fee to receive a USD wire
|Send payments||From 0.41%|
|ATM withdrawals||2 withdrawals, to the value of £200 per month fee free |
1.75% + £0.5 per withdrawal after that
|Currency exchange||Mid-market exchange rate, with low fees from 0.41%|
You can open a Wise business account easily online or using your smartphone. Accounts are available for freelancers, sole traders and UK registered business owners. To open your Wise account you’ll need to:
- Download the Wise app
- Click Open an account
- Confirm you want to open a business account
- Enter your personal and contact information
- Add details of your business
- Complete a verification step by uploading ID and address documents, and business paperwork, which varies based on business type
While the paperwork you need for verification with Wise can vary a bit depending on the type of business entity you have, the process is straightforward and can be done by simply uploading clear snaps of your business and personal documents, right from your phone. If you don’t have everything you need to hand right away you can save your application and return to it later - and the Wise support team is on hand if you have any questions or issues.
As a UK business owner or entrepreneur you’re pretty spoiled for choice when it comes to digital business banking options. Starling and Tide are both good contenders, depending on the services you need most. Compare Starling Bank vs Tide business accounts to see which suits you, and don’t forget to also look at alternatives like Wise Business. Wise can be particularly handy if you work with customers, suppliers or staff overseas - or if you’re considering growing your business internationally in future. Hold and exchange 40+ currencies, and get paid fee free like a local from 30+ countries, so you can connect with clients all over the world.
- Statista - UK digital banking
- Starling business account
- Tide business banking
- Tide pricing
- Starling GBP business account fees
- Starling EUR business account fees
- Starling USD business account fees
- Starling international payment fees
- Starling accounting integrations
- Starling business toolkit
- Starling help - ATM and card limits
- Starling help - international limits
- Tide help - is Tide a bank?
- Tide help - international payments
Sources last checked April 28, 2023
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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