I've banked over the years across several projects with many of the Big banks - HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and found various frustrations with them all. There is always it seems a daily need to pay something, process something, receive a donation etc.
A few weeks back I stumbled across a Facebook advert for Tide. An internet bank for business, which was 'fully automated', setup your account in five minutes they said, respond to your needs quickly they promised. So I thought I'll give it a whirl.
The App is linked to your phone (So don't loose it). I downloaded, went through a two minute verification of company number, registered address, my name, date of birth, and an upload of my drivers license and as they said, I was approved and up and running with sort code and account number in 5 minutes. At that point I sat up and took note - I was impressed.
You get a Mastercard through the post which is connected to your account, no seperate pin number - it all can be programmed through the app.
So I went to start move things to the app and to be honest it was as hassle free as they said.
I did notice that it took upto two hours for money I sent from my Traditional Bank to my Tide account - I guess the big boys are muttering under their breathe 'there goes another customer to tide', so I wondered if the big bank slowed the payment down behind the scenes. There was also a frustration that as yet, Paypal doesn't recognise this bank, so I couldn't link my paypal account to the tide account.
I also tried to get ready to make a payment to Hong Kong, and couldn't find an IBAN number for my account. I messaged the support guys at Tide (from within the app) and within a few minutes had a concise answer - they were working on overseas payments, which they hoped to add within a couple of months, but they also told me the two best lowest cost alternatives to send money overseas using the mastercard provided.
So I have to say (and no one paid me for doing so), I have been totally impressed.
I won't have to wait in an endless cue on the bank helpline number now, to get put through to an overseas call centre, who transfer me from department to department. I didn't have to endure a three hour appointment like I did setting up a charity account with HSBC, only to be told later the manager setup the wrong kind of account and I needed to start again, come into the local branch with all the paperwork - arghh
You don't get a cheque book (but when did I last write a cheque ?), I don't know about paying in cash (when did I do that last ?), most of my stuff happens through online payments through stripe. Paypal is an issue for me as some folk prefer that, but hey I'm sure they will have to sort that out and quickly.
All in all, I have been pleasantly surprised and delighted by the customer service.
I guess the question for the big banks now is - if this catches on - how will you compete ?