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Tide Follows Starling In Online SMB Banking Push

online banking on laptop

Another U.K. challenger bank is expanding its mobile-first strategy to the web.

Tide, which targets small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers, announced it will now allow SMBs to sign up for accounts online, according to AltFi reports Friday (Sept. 6). The company hopes to accelerate growth by adding another channel through which SMBs can become customers, having previously only accepted new account signups through its mobile app.

The online account opening tool will go live Monday (Sept. 9).

“Unlike for consumers, web — in addition to mobile apps — is a must for small and medium-sized  businesses,” said Tide Chief Executive Oliver Prill in a statement. Small businesses want “a dedicated and focused partner that will help them grow their business and save them time on their banking and admin,” he added, according to reports.

Last week another U.K. challenger bank, Starling Bank, revealed its own plans to launch a web platform. The initiative was revealed within its biannual update to Banking Competition Remedies, with the bank noting that adding support for online, as well as mobile banking meets small businesses needs.

“Starling understands that many SMEs want to manage their banking online as well as through mobile applications and to support this, it will launch its web portal in Q3 2019,” the bank said. “Construction of this portal is underway and on track for launch in September 2019.”

The filing is part of Starling’s requirement to update Banking Competition Remedies of its growth plans after securing a portion of the $1 billion in RBS funds, which Banking Competition Remedies is in charge of issuing.

Tide also secured RBS funds, noting that the investment provided the bank the “opportunity to add additional time-saving products for small businesses to the platform.”

Tide and Starling are often pitted against each other as top rivals, with analysts pointing to the race to sign up the most small business clients as a tight one. The most recent reports said Tide secured about 1.75 percent of the U.K.’s small business banking market, with aims to obtain 8 percent.

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