How does the idea of a free credit card which has NO foreign exchange fees and pays you 0.5% cashback on all your spending sound?
Tempting, I imagine, which is why we thought we would take a closer look at a new card product today even though it has nothing to do with ‘miles and points’. With the closure of the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card to new applicants, there is no longer a rewards card out there which has 0% foreign exchange fees when you are travelling.
(It is, for a few days, apparently still possible to apply for the Lloyds Avios Rewards card by phone or in a branch.)
Step forward Tandem Money. This is another new(ish) challenger bank which runs its business via an app instead of outlets on the high street.
Tandem’s first product was a money management app, helping users to manage their money. The app pulls data from your bank accounts and calculates your available spending money by subtracting bills from the balance. It also warns users of higher bills and finds better deals.
The reason there hasn’t been a real banking product until now is that Tandem has had some bank licence issues.
Having initially gained a banking licence in 2015, Tandem lost it in March 2017 due to House of Fraser – of all people – pulling out of agreed funding due to issues with HOF’s new Chinese owners.
However, in January 2018 Tandem Money bought Harrods Bank (yes, Harrods had its own bank with a branch inside the store) and thereby got a bank licence back. This allows Tandem Money to launch savings accounts in the future.
Tandem Money has now launched its first real product – a credit card with no FX fees and 0.5% cashback.
The Tandem credit card is a Mastercard and offers 0.5% cashback on everyday spending in the UK and abroad. There are no FX fees when you are travelling which save you 2.99% compared to the fees on the average UK credit or debit card.
In comparison, the Lloyds Avios Rewards card is the only loyalty credit card which doesn’t charge FX fees. With the Mastercard you earn 0.2 Avios per £1 spent and with the American Express card 1.25 Avios per £1. The Lloyds Avios American Express card remains the best deal for spending abroad but Tandem – with 0.5% cashback – is more attractive than earning 0.2 Avios on the Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard.
Tandem also imposes no fees for cash withdrawals abroad though you do have to pay interest from the moment you take out the money.
The Tandem cashback is added to your statement each month. It genuinely could not be easier.
Let’s be honest. With interchange fees of 0.3%, to me this credit card clearly seems financially unsustainable for Tandem, although Tandem claims that the credit card is profitable, and I’m assuming that this is just a way of luring in new customers. Tandem Money has a fixed term savings account in the pipeline which will exploit its new banking licence (you don’t need a banking licence to issue credit cards) and will be trying to get its credit card customers to eventually move their savings to Tandem as well.
Whether or not the card is unsustainable is not your problem though! If Tandem is willing to run up large losses then you should take advantage of them until their funding runs out as your money is not at risk.
(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards? Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.