Tide Vs Starling Bank: Full Review

Read on as we pit Tide against Starling Bank.

Updated: May 27, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

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Tide and Starling lead the way in challenger banks, new banking services that are challenging the status quo of traditional high-street banks.

You can apply for Tide business loans and Tide business accounts, seek a Starling mortgage or implement a Starling crypto exchange deposit.

But, which banking service is better: Tide or Starling? 

In this article, we will compare Tide and Starling so you can determine which banking service offers greater benefits for you.

What Is a Tide Account?

Tide offers business bank accounts for all circumstances. Here are the different business bank accounts that you could apply for:

Tide Free Account

Open a business account absolutely free with Tide. With a free Tide account, you can set up direct debits, schedule standing orders, integrate your accounts, and download statements. 

You can add expense cards for your employees with this Tide business account at a price of £5 per month and you can create invoices to send to clients. In addition, ATM withdrawals will result in a £1 fee and transfers in and out will cost you 20p.

Tide Plus Account

The Tide Plus account will cost you £9.99 per month plus VAT, although Tide business accounts do offer the first month free when you sign up.

In return, you will receive 20 fee-free transfers each month as well as one free expense card, although ATM withdrawals will cost you £1. 

You will also receive legal advice 24/7 as well as phone support for your account and exclusive member discounts. 

Tide Pro Account

The Tide Pro account is the perfect account for a serious business person. You will pay £18.99 plus VAT for the Tide Pro account, with unlimited transfers both in and out of the account.

You will receive two expense cards free, although you will still pay £1 for every ATM withdrawal.

Tide Cashback Account

Receive 0.5% cashback on purchases made with the Tide Cashback account. The fee for this account is £49.99 plus VAT, although you will receive dedicated account managers and three expense cards with your account.

You can also transfer money in and out of your account 150 times each month with no fee to pay at all. You will also receive legal advice and support when you need it.

What Other Services Does Tide Offer?

Tide offers other services to businesses in addition to their range of business bank accounts:

  • Business loans: Apply for a business loan with Tide with varying options offered to suit your needs. You could apply for startup loans, invoice finance to pay your invoices upfront, and business cash advances as a short term finance stream.
  • Credit builder: If your business credit score is not high enough to secure funding, a Tide Credit Builder may help. The Credit Builder works to help you build your credit score in as little as 12 months, perfect for new businesses.
  • Cash flow: Tide’s Cash Flow Insights feature allows automated business forecasting for free. You can manage the money that flows into and out of your business, staying in control of your finances and improving your credit score.
  • Company registration: Tide provides a Company Registration feature so you can register your limited company when opening a business bank account. You can also obtain a virtual office address and check company names for free.

What Is a Starling Bank Account?

Starling bank accounts offer both personal and business bank accounts. Here are the main accounts offered by Starling:

Personal Account

A Starling personal bank account allows you to earn 3.25% AER (variable) interest on any balances up to a value of £5,000. This bank account is free so you will not pay any fees for this service. You could also apply for a joint account.

Starling Kite

The Starling Kite account is the perfect bank account for children aged between 6 and 15 years old. A free debit card is issued and can be used with the Starling app. You can set daily spending limits and manage family spending easily.

Teen Account

For 16 and 17 year olds, the Starling Teen account is the perfect step up from the Kite account. The account’s accompanying bank card is a Mastercard debit card which is issued and account holders can earn 3.25% AER (variable) interest on amounts up to £5,000.

Business Account

The Starling Business account is free to use and you will attain support 24/7. Starling business bank accounts are perfect for limited companies and can be integrated with Xero web-based accounting software.

Sole Trader Account

The Starling Sole Trader account has been designed especially for your business. This is a free account that can be set up in minutes with no hidden fees such as ATM transaction fees, or international fees.

Add a Business Toolkit to your free account for £7 per month, automating your bookkeeping and expenses.

Multi-Currency Accounts

If your business works across countries and currencies, choose the Multi-Currency account.

What Other Services Does Starling Bank Offer?

Starling offers other services to the individual and businesses:

  • Personal overdraft: If you have a Starling bank account, you could apply for a Starling overdraft. A variety of interest rates are available depending on your circumstances, with a typical credit limit reaching £1,200.
  • Business loan: Your business could borrow between £25,000 to £250,000 with a Starling Business Loan, with repayment terms ranging between 12 months to 72 months. A Personal Guarantee is required and you will receive fixed monthly payments.
  • Business overdraft: If you have a business account, you could apply for a Starling business overdraft of between £1,000 to £50,000. An arrangement fee and annual fee of 1.75% will be charged.

Tide vs Starling Bank: Similarities

Here are the main similarities between Tide and Starling banking services:

1. Business Bank Accounts

Tide and Starling both offer business bank accounts for a variety of circumstances. 

2. Integrations

All business accounts can be integrated with other accounting software to make your business tasks easier. 

3. Add-ons

You can also add-on other features to enhance your Tide or Starling account such as a Business Toolkit.

4. Easy Setup

Both Tide and Starling offer easy setups so you can acquire a bank account within minutes.

Tide vs Starling Bank: The Differences

Here are some differences between Tide and Starling:

1. Personal Options

Whilst Tide and Starling both offer business accounts and business loans, Starling provides options for the individual. 

Starling can offer the individual personal accounts and a personal overdraft, as well as accounts for children and teenagers.

2. ATM Withdrawal Fees

Most Tide bank accounts require a £1 ATM withdrawal fee whereas a Starling account allows for free ATM withdrawals.

3. Transfers

Tide charges a transfer fee of 20p, providing free transfers when you upgrade your account. However, a Starling account allows for free transfers.

Tide Pros and Cons

Do you want a clear list of the pros and cons of using Tide’s bank services? Look no further than this section:


✔️ Business bank plans: Choose from a free plan or a Plus or Pro plan for a fee. You could also acquire about the Cashback plan and receive 0.5% on purchases.

✔️ Credit builder: The Credit Builder feature helps you to increase your credit score within 12 months.

✔️ Business loan: Apply for a business loan, linked to your Tide business bank account.

✔️ Cash flow management: Use the Cash Flow Insights feature to monitor and manage the money that flows into and out of your business.


❌️ ATM fees: You may need to pay a £1 fee for each ATM withdrawal.

❌️ Transfer fees: Some accounts require a 20p fee for each transfer.

❌️ Lack of personal options: All Tide accounts and lending options are for businesses, not individuals.

❌️ Monthly fees: There is a free Tide account to apply for, although other accounts are charged at a fee.

Starling Bank Pros and Cons

Here is a succinct list of the pros and cons of using Starling’s banking services:


✔️ Business accounts: Choose a business bank account for your business, free of charge, including a Sole Trader account, perfect for sole traders.

✔️ Personal accounts: You can apply for a free personal account from Starling, and apply for a personal overdraft.

✔️ Children and teen accounts: Tailored children and teen accounts are available, with appropriate controls.


❌️ Lack of upgrades: Unlike Tide, a Starling business account does not offer a range of plans that include upgraded features.

❌️ Lack of business features: Although you can add-on a Business Toolkit, the business features offered by Starling do lack in contrast with Tide.

❌️ Business loan limits: A Starling loan is limited to a maximum £250,000.

❌️ Business overdraft limit: A Starling business overdraft is limited to a maximum £50,000.

Tide vs Starling Bank: The Verdict

So, which banking services are better for you?

Tide offers businesses a dedicated service that can be used for a variety of business sizes and industries. You can upgrade your plan as your business grows and apply for a variety of loans and overdrafts for your business.

However, Starling offers some great personal options, including children and teen accounts and multi-currency accounts. Starling’s options are mostly free to use, in comparison to Tide which does charge fees for ATM withdrawals and transfers, as well as some plans.

Related Guides:


Is my money safe with Tide and Starling Bank banking services?

Can I deposit cash in my Tide or Starling Bank account?

Can I deposit a cheque with Starling Bank?

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