U.K. challenger bank Tide is planning to roll out a paid tier of its banking services for small businesses, connecting users of its upgraded offering with elevated customer service.
An announcement on Tide's company website on Wednesday (Sept. 18) said the firm is readying to release Tide Plus after testing the paid service with a group of SMB customers. The paid tier offers a range of services, including dedicated phone support during normal business hours, prioritized in-app messaging support and a 24/7 legal helpline operated by a law firm.
Users of the paid services can also gain access to a matte black Tide Plus card and 20 free monthly transfers. Tide will charge £9.99 per month for the service, which will be available to all members at the end of the year, it said.
"Tide recognizes the diversity of small and medium-sized business owners," said Tide VP of Member Engagement Sarah Young in a statement. "Tide Plus is for businesses that, in addition to the digital channel support, prefer high-quality phone support. The upgrade is visually supported by a very smart black card and offers additional benefits, such as legal support tailored to small business needs."
According to internal surveys, Tide said that more than 60 percent of current SMB users would be willing to pay for enhanced services. The company said the added features of Tide Plus are a response to what small businesses have said they would want. The challenger bank plans to introduce additional features moving forward.
In another statement, Tide CEO Oliver Prill pointed to the bank's collaboration with ClearBank, which helped it secure a portion of the $1 billion in RBS funds that are up for grabs to promote small business banking competition. When Tide was granted £60 million in RBS funds, the bank made commitments to launch new features for small business owners. Tide Plus, Prill said, is a part of those commitments resulting from the grant.