Tide, Starling Ramp Up Rivalry Over SMB Customers


The rivalry between U.K. challenger banks Tide and Starling continues to heat up as Tide signs on its 100,000th small business customer.

Reports in The Telegraph on Monday (Aug. 5) said the companies continue to compete for the small business customer base. Tide has on-boarded 100,000 small business customers, described by the firm’s chief executive Oliver Prill as a “very significant milestone.”

Currently, Tide controls about 1.75 percent of the small business banking market; according to reports, the company is aiming to acquire 8 percent.

Reports last week said Starling hit the 60,000 small business customer mark, with reports in AltFi noting that the bank beat its rival in launching a feature that allows small businesses with multiple directors to obtain access to a business banking account.

The surge in competition between small business challenger banks Tide, Starling and other players in the market comes at a time when analytics expect SMBs to accelerate bank-switching behavior.

Last week, reports in Computer Weekly said new data from Pay.UK, which operates the U.K.’s Current Account Switch Service (CASS), revealed 17,687 small businesses switched bank account providers in the second quarter of this year – compared to just 8,000 that switched in the same time frame a year prior. Analysts points to efforts in marketing and consumer awareness as factors behind the acceleration.

“There can be many benefits gained from switching current accounts, and our aim is to continue to ensure that consumers are aware of the options available to them, and to switch providers simply and easily in the event they choose to do so,” said Pay.UK chief operating officer Matthew Hunt in a statement at the time.

Reports noted that another U.K. challenger bank, Monzo, is expected to launch its small business current account service, which will ramp up competition in the sector even further.