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Exclusive: Tide to launch company formation in UK banking first

The SME digital bank wants to become a one-stop shop for starting a business in 2020.

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Upstart digital business bank Tide is working on a feature to let customers electronically register new businesses with Companies House, AltFi can reveal.

If the feature launches—a Tide spokesperson confirmed to AltFi that it is in-development, but isn't scheduled to launch until 2020—it could help Tide streamline the registering of a business and opening of a business bank account in one go.

Tide is not currently registered as a formation agent with Companies House, and would be the first UK banking provider to do so.

Other high street banks typically partner with formation agents or accountants and direct customers to these in order to help register new companies.

It comes as part of CEO Oliver Prill’s plan to position Tide as a one-stop shop for all things business, a plan that also involves the launch of its own accounting platform which Prill told AltFi about last month.

Read more -The Challenger: Tide’s Oliver Prill

Having recently jointly won £60m from the RBS Competition Fund, along with ClearBank,Tide is aiming to eventually capture 8% of the UK’s business banking market.

Switching will get Prill part of the way, and Tide’supcoming features like ‘trial switching’ and CASS Plus will help, but if the bank becomes the fastest way to register a new business it’s guaranteed to steal market share too.

Whether Tide will charge for company formation and how long the process will take (some online formation agents claim trading can begin within three hours), Tide declined to reveal.

"As part of the ClearBank Tide Business Banking (CTBB) proposition for the RBS Alternative Remedies Package it was announced that CTBB would launch the Starting-Out Proposition. This will allow Tide members to undertake company registrations, tax registrations etc. as part of the business account opening process. Starting-Out is currently on the CTBB roadmap and is set to launch in 2020," a Tide spokesperson said.

UPDATE 2019-04-17 - An earlier version of this story refered to Tide being the "first UK bank to do so", Tide does not have a banking license so this was amended to "banking provider".

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