If you are a business owner in the UK or would like to start a business there, you will either have or need to have a business account or an account with a payments platform or alternative financial services provider in order to do business.
According to small business lender, iwoca, 93 small businesses were created every hour in the UK in the first half of 2022. Despite the concerns over the economy, or perhaps because of them, individuals are choosing to take the leap to start their own business in their droves.
Access to a business account isn’t a given when you have a small business. Some providers can make it more difficult than others and licensed institutions tend to be more constrained by historical procedures and regulations (often no longer fit for purpose) that have many small business owners turning to alternative financial solution providers to get an account done and dusted so they can get on with doing business.
Where can you open a Business Account in the UK?
Both wamo and Tide provide UK business accounts and a useful raft of features that will enable you to run a business in the UK with greater ease. While the two have a lot of similarities in terms of what they offer, both platforms have differences worth thinking about when it comes to accessibility, pricing, and customer support.
Headquartered in central London, Tide offers a number of financial solutions to small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. The company has recently gained popularity for their exclusive member perks and low-cost plans. The team has scaled up to multiple plans and has enabled 450,000+ sole traders, freelancers and limited companies throughout the UK. Tide offers a company formation service that allows anyone with a registered UK company address, to register a LTD company with Companies House.
wamo is headquartered in London and Malta. wamo’s focus is on making a business account more accessible for anyone with a legitimate business. To open a wamo account in the UK you don’t need to be a UK resident. Like Tide, wamo has just launched its new feature enabling business owners to register a LTD company in the UK through Companies House. wamo also provides a virtual UK office in the registration process. Unlike Tide, wamo no longer offers accounts to freelancers and sole traders, turning its attention to finessing its subscription packages to companies of all sizes. wamo offers multiple accounts with the choice of either UK or GBP IBANs per account, multiple payment options and a promise of ‘friendly, personal customer service from people who really care about your business.’
Note that both platforms are financial service providers and not banks. wamo is a business financial platform providing e-money services, all in a business account. It is an EMD agent of Railsbank and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Tide is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and offers e-money accounts, provided by PrePay Solutions (PPS), as well as business bank accounts, provided by ClearBank.
If you are trying to choose between the two financial service providers in the UK, we have drawn a comparison between the two to help you decide which one best suits your business requirements.
Pricing & Transactions
Both wamo and Tide are licensed and regulated firms that you can trust with your money. If you compare each of the most popular plans are face value - Tide is a clear winner. However, comparing transaction costs for both platforms, Tide only offers 20 free incoming and outgoing transfers, after which you will be paying £0.20 for every transaction. Whereas, wamo offers unlimited SEPA transfers under their subscription plan. For example, if you are transferring £2000 monthly in local transfers from your Tide account, you will be paying an extra £40 towards the transfer fee.
When it comes to Tide's transactions, there's something very important to bear in mind: the platform does not enable you to make any international transfers. So if your business involves making and receiving international transfers at all, wamo is the obvious choice.
Number of Members
For small and mid-sized businesses, it's important to know how many members have access to your account. This is because digital financial technologies offer many advantages for such businesses and so do these two financial service providers. Tide offers up to 5 members in your business account setup and wamo offers up to 50 members. So if you are a growing business and you want to share your account with multiple members, wamo is a better option. But if you are a small organisation or a sole trader, based on this feature, Tide is the way to go.
Another aspect to consider is virtual debit cards for your business. These cards are an instant upgrade from physical cards in terms of speed and security but work exactly like a physical card (although for online transactions only). They come with a 16-digit card number and you can generate unique card numbers for individual vendors or customers. Unlike corporate credit cards, these cards can help you to track your transactions, set spending limits and avoid overspending. With wamo, you can generate unlimited virtual and physical debit cards, with free replacements and free worldwide shipping. Tide’s offers one virtual debit card and numerous card replacements, but you cannot issue any additional debit cards.
In all, your decision over which of these two providers to go to will depend on your kind of business. If you have an e-Commerce business or any business that makes international transactions, wamo is the obvious way to go. Remember that wamo offers multiple accounts with EUR or GBP IBANs per account which lends itself perfectly to cross-border business. However for smaller UK businesses, sole traders and freelancers, Tide is the obvious choice.
To open an account with either Tide or wamo, you will need a few personal and business documents, your ID and proof of residency. In some cases, you might have to complete additional checks in order to process your application. Unlike with traditional institutions, these applications are usually processed very quickly, are more flexible and offer more customisation.
If you are ready to get a business account for your business, it takes just 10 minutes to sign up with wamo, why not pop on over to the website and check out all the subscription packages to decide which one is best for you.