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Should you get the new Tandem Money credit card – with NO FX fees and 0.5% cashback?

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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.

Tandem Money Credit Card

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 credit card

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.

Conclusion

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.

The page to apply is here.

(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.

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Comments

  1. Pangolin says:

    Isn’t the Post Office card also FX free? And one of the Barclaycards?

    • Scott says:

      Do those cards earn rewards? That’s the benefit of this card vs other FX free cards.

  2. Mr Dee says:

    They auto declined me, would probably have used this for some 5 figure monthly spending too….

  3. Are they still available?

    • Grimz says:

      Nationwide CC has no FX fees

      • Only for Euros though isn’t it? If you are spending outside teh EU they add 1% to the exchange rate (although they still call this fee free – but it does have a cost)

      • There is also a fee for withdrawing cash overseas (unlike the Clarity and, apparently, the Tandem).
        I find this particularly useful with my Clarity card as it is the cheapest way to get cash for overseas spend.

      • Scallder says:

        My Nationwide CC is FX free everywhere. Their FlexPlus account (albeit at £13 a month, but as have a joint account gives us travel insurance, mobile phone insurance and European car breakdown) also has FX free cash withdrawals globally

      • Its not worth the £13 a month for us. Due to pre-exiisting meds the travel insurance is worthless, I’ve never insured a mbile phone and I have only ever driven our own car in mainland Europe a couple of times.

        If these things work for you then it is a good account – just not for us.

  4. Harry says:

    imagine the horror of former Harrods bank customers when they log into the millennial-pink tandem portal (check wayback machine for a chuckle)

    • More seriously, this is an issue. Last year Harrods Bank was being very aggressive with its savings rates. Now, when you are playing with large sums, the £85k compensation number is meaningless. You fall back on the implied covenant of the parent and a lot of people will have taken a gamble that – if Harrods Bank had hit trouble – the Qatari Government, as owner of Harrods, would have bailed people out for reputational reasons.

      This is the same reason I have a chunk of cash in Tesco Bank because they have very high savings rates and I trust the implied covenant from the parent.

      Now your Harrods Bank savings account is with Tandem you have zero protection from a wealthy parent above £85k if Tandem runs out of funding. I don’t know if anyone who had a locked-in no-withdrawals savings deal with Harrods Bank was allowed to break it or not.

  5. Grimz says:

    Yes I have this card!

  6. Is it fee free for outside the EU?

  7. WillPS says:

    If Nationwide Select gets a mention, Natwest Reward certainly deserves one… 1% at supermarkets (11% at Sainsburys this month!) and 0.5% elsewhere, paid in to rewards which can be paid in to your account as cash on demand when you reach £5 worth.

    Combined with the current account it’s an excellent proposition.

  8. Rob, I know you don’t like Revolut card, but now with free credit card top up treated as purchase (used to be 1% Fee). Would you consider it again? It has been working great withdrawing cash from my IHG Premium Card.

    • WeSwap is bringing in a credit card option so we might look at these together.

      • Thanks Rob.

        Forgot to mention, it’s free to get the first Revolut card until Sunday 11 March.

        • palcsaky says:

          Could I use revolut to withdraw € or US$ free of charge in one of those Travelex ATMs at Heathrow T2? Does anybody know if these ATMs charge any fees or if they use the dynamic currency conversion?

        • Albert says:

          https://community.revolut.com/t/foreign-currency-withdrawal-at-travelex-atm-heathrow-gatwick-etc/10530/2

          It works for moneycorp atms at Gatwick so presumably also for the travelex ones as long as you refuse their DCC and choose to withdraw in the requested currency rather than GBP…

        • RIccatti says:

          For above, somebody has to pay for that withdrawal, especially from prime airport location Travelex ATM..

          Why don’t you withdraw € or US$ from a normal bank at your destination. Euro withdrawals most definitely free across most EU locations/banks.

          US withdrawals always involve a fee. (only exception is your US bank ATM if you are lucky to have an account, same principle applies for Santander Gold Debit /Zero Credit issued in UK at the Santander branches/ATMs in the US Northeast.)

        • Riccatti

          It used ot be free in the US at machines at Publix supermarkets. Is that no longer the case?

    • Interesting, didn’t realise it had gone fee-free to top up via CC at both Revolut and credit card end (I was worried it’d appear as a purchase).

  9. James123 says:

    OT

    I need to fly to HK and Beijing in April with my partner. I’ve obviously missed the £2018 for 2 BA Chinese New Year deal, what’s the best way to do it Business Class (any airline) at the moment? Are there any good deals on?

    Thanks

    • George says:

      If you’re willing to position, try AMS-LHR-HKG on BA or DUB-L(HR / GW?)-HKG on VA – I’ve had good success with sub-£1200 business fares on both when I’ve needed to travel.

    • Use 75k Virgin miles for LHR-PEK return in F with Air China (you need to call virgin), then avios for PEK-HKG with CX

  10. palcsaky says:

    Nationwide Select is a Visa. Mastercard has more favourable FX exchange rates.

  11. Trevor says:

    We’ve had a Santander ZERO card for many years. It was withdrawn for quite some time but is now available again. No FX fees and we’ve always had great exchange rates. I can also monitor it in my banking app. Ease of use and good service overcomes 0.5% for me. They do have some decent introductory offers for new applicants [25% off in places] and I don’t work for ’em!

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