Review: the Tesco Bank Mastercard credit card

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This is my review of the Tesco Bank Mastercard credit card.

It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether of not they are worth applying for. These posts will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page. My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

(EDIT:  This article was updated on 1st August 2020 and all of the information was correct as of that date.  Ignore the November 2019 publication date.)

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Experian Credit Score.

Key link: Tesco Bank Mastercard application form

Key facts: No annual fee

The representative APR is 19.9% variable based on the ‘Purchases’ version of the card which I cover here.

About the Tesco credit card

The Tesco Bank Mastercard is issued by Tesco Bank, which is now wholly owned by Tesco following its acquisition of Royal Bank of Scotland’s stake a few years ago.

Tesco Clubcard MasterCard credit card review

What is the Tesco credit card sign-up bonus?

There is currently no sign-up bonus on the card.  Occasional promotions used to offer 1,000 bonus Tesco Clubcard points for signing up but we have not seen one of these since May 2018.

Any other benefits?

The core version of the Tesco Bank Mastercard offers 0% interest on purchases for up to the first 20 months.

This version of the card has a representative APR of 19.9% variable.

Alternative versions of the card are also available with different interest rate and balance transfer terms.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You earn 1 Clubcard point for every £8 spent on the card on a ‘per transaction’ basis.

It is important that you understand what ‘per transaction’ means. At the most extreme, if you bought 100 items at £7.99 in separate transactions, you would earn zero Clubcard points. A £15.99 transaction would only earn one point, whilst a £16.00 transaction would earn two points.

You earn 1 point per £4 spent in Tesco.

How does that convert to Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles?

One Clubcard point is worth 2.4 Avios or 2.5 Virgin Flying Club miles, so every £1 spent on the card gets you up to 0.3 Avios or 0.312 Virgin miles.  This rate is doubled for spending at Tesco.

You will receive a statement once a quarter containing your Clubcard vouchers, and you can convert these online to Avios or Virgin or redeem them for any of Tesco’s other ‘Clubcard Boost’ deals. You can even spend the vouchers in-store at Tesco at their face value, although this is a poor use of them.

Compared to alternatives, this is an acceptable Visa or Mastercard rate for earning Avios at 0.3 Avios per £1.  However, this is still very poor compared to the 0.75 Virgin Atlantic mile per £1 offered on the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard.

If you meet the stringent wealth criteria for a HSBC Premier current account, remember that the HSBC Premier Mastercard offers an unbeatable 0.5 Avios per £1 and is free.

Any other quirks?

Yes. Your Tesco credit card doubles up as a standard Tesco Clubcard.

It is perfectly acceptable to hand over your Tesco credit card in a Tesco store and ask them to swipe it as a Clubcard. You can then pay for your shopping on a more lucrative credit card!

What is an Avios point worth?

This post outlines my view of what an Avios point is worth, based on some typical redemption patterns.

However, one key benefit of Tesco Clubcard points is that you do not have to convert to Avios. Unlike dedicated airline credit cards, you have the option to convert to Avios or Virgin miles, but there is also the flexibility to use them for any other good Tesco deals that come along. I used to use a large pile of vouchers to pay a regular Safestore bill and then moved on to using them for Uber.  Both of these deals are now dead so I have moved back to Avios, but it was good to have the choice.

Is this a good card to use when travelling?

As Tesco Bank adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad. Unfortunately there are no travel rewards card without a foreign exchange fee.  One option is to get a free Curve Card – see this HFP article – and link it to a miles-earning Visa or Mastercard.

If you link your Curve Card to your Tesco Bank Mastercard, however, do not use Curve for cash withdrawals as Tesco adds a fee for these.  Most other credit card issuers still treat cash withdrawals on a Curve Card as a purchase and so award miles and points for it.

Conclusion

With no sign-up bonus, there is no reason to get the Tesco Bank Mastercard for a quick points boost.

Assuming you convert your Clubcard vouchers to Avios points, the earning rate of 0.3 Avios points per £1 is pretty much as good as it gets if you don’t qualify for HSBC Premier.  That said, you could be earning 0.75 Virgin Flying Club miles per £1 with the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard.  Our review of the free Virgin Atlantic Mastercard is here.

Whilst you rarely see conversion bonuses from Tesco to Avios these days, conversion bonuses of 10%-20% to Virgin Flying Club from Tesco are more common. You may rate the card higher if you collect Virgin miles.

The application form for the Tesco Bank Mastercard can be found 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. Mr John Calvert says:

    I only use my Tesco credit card to buy petrol as it gets 1 clubcard point for every £1 I spend there + a bonus Clubcard point for every £4 . If I use another form of payment I only get 1/2 clubcard point for every £1 I spend. However are you saying that if I were to use the Tesco credit card as the swipe card I then could use say an Amex card to pay for the petrol, I would still get the full 1 Clubcard point for each £1 of petrol purchased.

    • Shoestring says:

      bit of Sunday morning reading for you, read the comments as well
      https://www.headforpoints.com/2017/12/31/best-way-collect-avios-buying-petrol/

      some of it is out of date but I think the Tesco stuff is all still OK

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      If you use the Tesco Debit Card, rather than Credit Card, then you get 1 point per £1 plus 1 point bonus per £1 rather than the per £4 of the Credit Card.

      More lucrative to use their Debit Card for petrol.

      If you use a Tesco Credit or Debit Card as a Clubcard you get 1 point per £1 and can use your Amex.

      I find spending on the Debit Card more lucrative though.

      • Stephenhp
        What is the earnings rate on this tesco debit card on npn Tesco spend pls? We have a lot of debit card spend which curve was great for. Thinking will have to apply now!

        • Jonathan says:

          It’s the same as the credit card, when a Tesco debit card is used outside Tesco, it’s earning rate is exactly the same as the their credit cards, it’s only inside Tesco is that the earning rate on the debit card is better

        • CardiffJock says:

          1 CC point per £8 outside Tesco. Only get a point for each ‘whole’ £8 spent though.

  2. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    The foreign exchange fee is 2.75%

  3. Shoestring says:

    Got a change to my Tesco CC T&Cs by email yesterday, out of very mild interest, anybody care to tell me what they are referring to?

    2. We’ve added another reason why we may close your credit card
    We reserve the right to close your card if your eligibility is dependent on you paying a subscription to another Tesco Group company and you cancel, or stop paying, the subscription. However, we won’t close your card for this reason until at least 12 months after your last subscription payment and we’ll give you at least 2 months’ notice before we do it. We’ve added a new paragraph to Section 12 of your General Conditions ‘Ending this agreement’ to clarify this.

    • A new card proposition coming for Clubcard Plus subscribers?

      • stevenhp1987 says:

        https://www.tesco.com/clubcard/clubcard-plus

        “Clubcard Plus Credit Card from Tesco Bank coming in the new year”

        • I joined Clubcard plus this week primarily for our Xmas spend. I will easily recoup the £7.99 via the 2 x 10% off shops plus the double data I’m now getting via Tesco mobile. You can cancel at anytime, so I’ll review it in January / February . It certainly looks like another credit card will be coming from Tesco, and no doubt it will be chargeable, I just hope it’s lucrative enough to earn some decent points from it.

          • Mr(s) Entitled says:

            I’d happily sign-up for this if the 10% discount was not in-store only. That makes it very limiting in the age of online deliveries.

        • Jonathan says:

          I don’t think that’ll mean any enhanced earning rates on their points, I’ve heard somewhere that it’s simply 0% FX fee, which is okay, but given the fee it could be a lot better. We’ll have to see what they decide to put on market when this new card of theirs is launched

  4. You would still be better continuing to “double dip” as we refer to it here. If you have your 241. Continue to use another amex to pay with. And scan your tesco card as a clubcard at the till. Or use a supplement card on your OH card. Shame not to continue to earn extra amex MRs if you have the chance.

  5. Alastair Actually says:

    When ultimately paying with your Amex in store, is there some benefit of swiping your Tesco MasterCard rather than swiping your actual Clubcard?

    • Shoestring says:

      instore I always swipe my Tesco card or Clubcard (to get Clubcard points) then pay with Amex (or Virgin) – I only have the Tesco credit card and the earning rate is pretty poor

    • Charlieface says:

      Only for petrol it gets double points even if you pay with another card.

      • On pay+, I set up the club card number as that of my debit card and payment card the debit card. Then simply pay everything in Tesco with pay+ incl petrol. No need for an extra swipe of the Tesco debit / credit card as club card

  6. I use my Tesco cc to buy currency as it’s treated as a purchase rather than cash advance. Tesco bank usually has a decent exchange rate, not the absolute best but close enough that I’m happy with it. (Haven’t found the Ts and Cs to verify it’s a purchase, but various other forums agree.)

    • Shoestring says:

      confirm I bought £1000 of FX on Tesco credit card & it was treated as a purchase – caveat a couple of years ago

      but you can do far better than Tesco exchange rate, if you’re after cash try https://www.currencyonlinegroup.com

      • Just depends how much you’re exchanging so whether you’d get free delivery, if you’re not close to a branch. I usually change smaller amounts, so need to factor delivery fees into my comparisons.

      • I’ll have a look at this is as not using Cash Passport any more. Do you get charged for paying by MC or Visa or would it need to be a debit card? (Eternal problem of buying currency, lack of points-earning opportunities!)

        • Shoestring says:

          I never used them as I don’t need to get cash FX in the UK – but other people here gave them good recommendation and easy to see their rates are competitive – Free Next Day Delivery over £750

        • Sorry can’t reply below the latest part of the thread but *have* read to the end… If you use a Tesco Mastercard credit card to buy currency, it is treated as a purchase so no additional fees. However no points are awarded.

          • this is the thing with the Tesco cards, they let you use the card but no points….so no point! ;o)

  7. whilst you very rightly point out that a £7.99 purchase ears you zero points … “the earning rate of 0.3 Avios points per £1 is pretty much as good as it gets” isn’t consistent with the previous warning !

    depending on your spending profile, you’re more likely to earn about 0.1 Avios per £1 … which is far from being as good as it gets !

    • Why not purchase, let’s say, an £80 gift card, get the max points and then use it on small purchases under £8 in Tesco

      • ankomonkey says:

        I did exactly this when I had a Tesco credit card many years ago. Then I discovered Amex PRG that offered double points on supermarket spend back in the day, so I ditched the Tesco card.

      • PJJ
        They don’t give you Clubcard pts on Tesco GCs annoyingly as l discovered. Yes you will get MRs pts using an Amex card, but no Tesco pts.

        • This is like a discussion the good ole days!

          What ever happened to the 3v’s after we put them out of business?

          Thought they sold out? and then was expecting a MasterCard?

          We will need something to jump to once we have killed Curve

          • The Urbanite says:

            Taken over by Pay.Com who did release a Mastercard after the plastic cards went. Free credit card loads without attracting cash advance fees. However that door shut in September 2019 as they withdrew the card!

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