How and why Tide gets to know you – KYC explained

As a business owner, your time is valuable. That’s why we believe you should be able to set up an account with us in minutes.

To do this, we balance asking as few questions as possible while still understanding enough key information about you and your business. This process is known in the industry as ‘KYC’. This stands for Know Your Customer, and it’s a vital part of keeping everyone safe.

What is KYC?

KYC is a standard practice in which banks and banking providers make sure they know key details before offering someone an account. 

These details can include the type of business that’s applying, how it makes its money and what industry it operates in, as well as checking that everyone involved is who they say they are.

Why is KYC important?

KYC is important for many reasons. We need to be sure that we know exactly who is applying for an account. They must be able to prove key information such as their identity and their right to operate in the UK. This helps protect Tide and our members against fraud and other financial crimes. 

As Tide is fully registered with and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, we must act in line with their regulations to protect against bad practice. Making sure we know who is applying for a Tide account, how their business operates and how they’ll use our services are all vital parts of this responsibility. 

We also need to understand the risk of any business that applies for a Tide account. If businesses are too high risk, we don’t currently have the infrastructure to serve them to the high standards we provide for our members.

A Tide account might not be for everyone. KYC allows us to understand whether a Tide account is right for you, and whether your business and its level of risk is right for us and our members.

Passing our KYC checks

Our KYC checks, and the regulation that underpins them, are focused on making sure that you are who you say you are, that we understand your business and how it will use our services, and that your business carries a level of risk we can manage effectively. These checks and regulations do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of political beliefs, religion, race or any other characteristic protected by law.

The majority of people who apply to join Tide are accepted within ten minutes. All documents can be verified automatically, saving you valuable time and giving your business quick access to our powerful financial platform.

Some applications may take a bit longer. This will be because we need more documents to complete our KYC checks. Our team will ask you for these documents and help you to find them if you need. This process can take a few days, but our team is always on hand to help. We want to empower small and medium-sized businesses to do what they love, and so we’ll help you and your business in every way we can – even before you’ve joined.

Not everyone can pass these checks. If your documents can’t be verified or we can’t be sure you are who you say you are, we won’t be able to offer you an account.

We also won’t be able to offer you an account if your business is too high-risk. These can include businesses that accept donations, particularly if we or the business owner are unable to trace where these donations are coming from. This is also the case for businesses operating in high-risk industries.

Our ongoing commitment to safety

KYC doesn’t just happen when you apply to Tide. As businesses can change how they operate or how they’re funded, we need to carry out KYC checks on an ongoing basis. 

This is part of our mission to keep all of our members safe, as well as our commitment to the regulatory requirements stated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

So from time to time we may have to ask you for more documents, or simply check-in to make sure everything you’ve provided is up to date. We’re also legally required to keep the data collected during the KYC process for five years after you end your business relationship with us.

If we do need to check this information, our team will be in touch with all the information we need, and will again be there to support you in providing it.

Can Member Support help me with KYC?

Our KYC team are experts in the field and fully dedicated to everything KYC involves. Because KYC is so important to us, this team is separate from our Member Support team. As a result, Member Support won’t be able to help you with KYC, but they can point you in the right direction towards any KYC messages you may have received. 

To make sure all KYC checks happen as smoothly and quickly as possible, it’s best to continue one chat with the right team member instead of sending multiple messages to different teams. We understand that KYC checks can cause anxiety, but this is the best way to reach the best outcome for everyone.If you have any questions or comments about this, get in touch at and we’ll be happy to support you.

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