UK SMB Challenger Bank Competition Ramps Up

U.K. challenger bank Tide is closing in on surpassing the market share of competitor The Co-Operative Bank, reports in AltFi said this week, highlighting the traction that new market entrants are gaining.

The publication said Monday (June 17) that Tide now has 85,000 small business customers, meaning it is only 1,000 SMB customers away from the surpassing customer market share of The Co-Operative Bank.

“We have had an extremely strong start to 2019 and are delighted with the growth the business is experiencing,” Tide CEO Oliver Prill said in a statement. “People who work for themselves come to us because they want a dedicated and focused partner that will help them grow their business, and save them time on their banking and admin.”

Tide’s current customer count means it has 1.5 percent of the U.K.’s small business banking market.

The only challenger bank with less market share is Starling Bank, which, according to CYBG data from 2018, has 30,000 small business customers. Ahead of Tide and Co-operative Bank are Metro Bank and TSB, each with an estimated 100,000 small business customers. In first place is CYBG, with about 190,000 current small business accounts, reports said.

Tide first launched in 2017 with a focus on making it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to open a bank account and obtain digital financial services. The company offers current account services and automated bookkeeping, invoice management and payment, and smart current account opening features like passport or license scanning for identity verification.

Earlier this year Tide secured a portion of RBS funds allocated to promote competition in the small business banking sector after the challenger bank teamed up with ClearBank to apply for a portion of the grant.

At the time, Prill said it would use the funds to finance its pursuit of greater market share, “and we plan to match this with further investment of our own,” he added.