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Is the Tandem Money cashback credit card worth £5.99 per month?

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For a long time, our recommended credit card for overseas use was from challenger bank Tandem Money.

It was a great product.  There was no annual fee, you paid nothing in foreign exchange fees and you got 0.5% cashback on all of your spending – even your foreign spend.

This was clearly a loss leader for Tandem which couldn’t continue.  The card was withdrawn for new applications late last year.  Existing cardholders received an email yesterday explaining that they are losing it too unless they pay a fee.

From March, cardholders have two options – they can either pay a £5.99 monthly fee to retain their card, or the card will be cancelled.

For most people, it will be ‘bye bye’ to Tandem Money.

If you have a bit of cash sitting around, there MAY be something for you.

What should replace your Tandem Money card?

The £5.99 fee also allows you to open a Tandem Money savings account with a ‘top of the market’ interest rate of 1.5%.  You can invest up to £250,000 although I doubt you would want to risk more than the £85,000 that is Government-protected in case of default.

If you DO have £85,000 in cash, there is an interesting angle here:

Invested in Tandem Money at 1.5%, you would receive £1,275 gross in interest

The best alternative deal at the moment is probably Marcus at 1.35% (£1,147 of interest)

You would be paying a £72 annual fee for your Tandem Money account BUT you would be receiving £128 more of gross interest.  Knock off tax at your marginal rate and you should be roughly quits, which means that the credit card benefits are all upside.

There is one more quirk as well.  From March, the interest rate on the Tandem credit card will be 0%.  Forever.  Tandem is basically offering you a 0% loan as long as you pay your £5.99 monthly fee.

You can find out more on the Tandem Money website here.

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Comments (217)

  • Mr O says:

    So what card is best if we stop using Tandem? Looking for a card to use abroad with no fees. Thanks in advance.

    • Shoestring says:

      nothing wrong with Halifax Clarity – fee-free and no FX fees/ withdrawal fees at ATM

      • The Original Nick says:

        I’ve been using the Halifax Clairty since last year when Halifax credited the account with a £20 offer too. Can’t go wrong with it.

        • The Original Nick says:

          Have been wondering what to get to use in Cuba next month though?

        • Shoestring says:

          Halifax Clarity – they don’t have a problem with you funding overseas purchases ‘immediately’, I think you get up until midnight on day of purchase to avoid any interest

          as with any interest card, it’s against the T&Cs to *pre-fund* the credit card before you go abroad & make purchases or get cash advances @ATM – but people do this as well to avoid interest

          • aston100 says:

            Can confirm, I have always managed to transfer funds to the Clarity Card (online banking) after making cash withdrawals at overseas ATMs.
            Have never been hit with any interest charges for said ATM usage.

    • Nick_C says:

      Revolut or Curve with the MC or Visa of your choice.

      • Nic says:

        Revolut is awful. My card failed to work properly on a trip to the US and again in France. It kept telling me I had put my pin in wrong, when i hadn’t even put the pin in at all. Both times customer service took ages to respond and then were rude, telling me I had put the pin in wrong and not listening when I said I hadn’t done it at all.

        I switched to Starling as it is fee free for both spending and withdrawals overseas

        • Anna says:

          I managed to withdraw cash (with no charges) in Vienna once I worked out how to switch off the security disabling feature, I think it’s excellent if it works!

    • David S says:

      I am in the same situation as yourself. Looking at Halifax Clarity, Revolut (preloaded debit card only though) or even virgin card. Haven’t decided yet.

    • Jonathan says:

      MBNA Horizon

    • NS says:

      Halifax clarity
      Revolut
      Curve (to a limit)
      Depends on your circumstances I guess.

    • Harry T says:

      Halifax Clarity is decent. So are Curve and Revolut. The new Nationwide member credit card gives you 0% on purchases for 15 months and is free to use abroad (need to have a NW account).

    • Pangolin says:

      What about the Barclaycard Platinum that gives 0% FX (till Aug 2023) and even has NO interest charges on ATM withdrawals (if monthly balance is cleared in full at end of period). For other cards, you have to zero out the balance after each withdrawal to avoid the interest accruals.

      Is this card still available for signups? Fortunately, I have it and also have the MBNA Horizon.

  • Hank says:

    The Tandem 0 percent interest rate can’t possibly last. Anyone know if this has been tried before?
    There are ways to transfer money from a card basically straight to a bank or savings account and simply earn free money indefinitely whilst Tandem is getting further screwed by inflation killing the value of your debt to them.

    • Andrew says:

      Not really free money. You’re still giving them £5.99 a month. I doubt anyone has a credit limit large enough to allow them to earn more interest them that.

      • Nic says:

        My limit is £10,000 with tandem, so maybe I could do some round tripping, but after tax it wouldn’t be worth the hassle

    • John says:

      If your maintain a maxed out credit limit of £5000, you are basically paying them 1.4% interest.

      • Yawn says:

        I think most have much lower limits. Mine is only £1,250 and when I complained I was told that was about average. There are better balance transfer offers available.

    • Spk says:

      Your credit score will also take a dive as every month it’ll be reported that you have not paid the bill.

  • Plates says:

    BA 241 question – I need to cancel flights booked on a 241. The card on which they were booked (the BA Amex through which the 241 was earned) has long since been cancelled though I still have an Amex gold card so the refund of fees paid will find it’s way back to me simply enough I’m sure.
    But what chance of losing the 241 voucher?

    • Anna says:

      The voucher will go back into your BAEC account. AFAIK the refund will go back into the closed card and you’ll have to contact Amex to get it transferred to your bank – I can’t remember what happens with the minus Avios balance you’ll then have! You could maybe get round this by cancelling by phone and asking for the refund to go to your other card, but they may charge extra for that.

    • Polly says:

      As Anna says, voucher returns. Balance goes back to cancelled card. You will then get a statement out of the blue for that card. Call up, they will transfer by bacs to current account, send a cheque, or transfer against a current card balance. Very flexible.
      Neg avios balance is immaterial at this point.

      • aston100 says:

        When I did an in-store refund somewhere, on a purchase made with a cancelled card, the refund automatically ended up on a different Amex.

        • Polly says:

          Wow, never happened to me. I still have an small outstanding refund on a cancelled BAPP must call up about. They keep sending me statements.

          • Graeme says:

            You’ll have to keep calling after they repeatedly cock-up the refund as well.

    • Matthew says:

      What flights/dates are you cancelling? Might help someone on HFP to pick them up…

      • Plates says:

        Thanks both.
        Matthew – F to Vancouver 18th March. Back J from toronto 28th March

  • Nick M says:

    For people with existing Tandem cards, what sort of limit do you have? – is it comparable to other providers or generally higher/lower? – The 0% deal could look attractive provided you have a limit of £10k or so

    • Qrfan says:

      £9k. Less than on most of my amex cards, but not dramatically so.

    • Andrew says:

      12k limit here. The interest earned from that would more than offset the new monthly fee. Interesting…

      • Shoestring says:

        breakeven is £4000, ie £4000 on your overdraft, £4000 invested @1.5% pa (giving £6/ month interest earned, disregarding tax)

        • Shoestring says:

          not overdraft but you know what I mean 🙂

        • Roger* says:

          Hmmm. My ‘rainy day’ fund is currerntly with Nationwide at 1.10% p.a. with instant access. Tandem offers a useful alternative and would help reduce my £85k liability with NW.

          • Mike says:

            Roger – My thoughts exactly , this account will help spread out the £85K “risk”, I never like to keep more than £85K with one bank

          • John says:

            There are plenty of other accounts which pay close to 1.5% and don’t have a fee.

            Natwest savings builder pays 1.5% if you open the current account (they had a switch offer recently which will probably be back one day) but has some stipulations.

          • Shoestring says:

            £1 – £10,000 – 1.5%
            Over £10,000 – 0.2%

            I don’t think there are ‘plenty’ of good a/cs at all – they all have the same problem, if they appear to pay a decent % – which is that’s fine for a few thousand £s but then interest % goes down

          • Nic says:

            I think Goldman Sachs Marcus is 1.35% up to £100,000. May be worth a look

          • callum says:

            If you have £85,000, surely it doesn’t all need to be in an instant access account? (Unless you’re on the verge of buying a house I guess)

            Even if you don’t want to lose access for very long, there are 90 day notice accounts available at 1.65%.

          • The Original David says:

            “Plenty” if you stay alert and take the opportunities when they arise. I currently have 1.6% in my Al Rayan instant access savings and 1.45% in my Marcus, both allowing up to £250k deposits. Both rates were available within the last 6 months, and anyone holding more than £0.5m in instant-access cash needs to google the stock market…

          • Shoestring says:

            https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/article-1621507/Best-savings-rates-Fixed-rate-accounts.html

            I accept there are plenty of 1 year fixed rate a/cs paying over 1.5%

          • callum says:

            Shoestring – I know you love the Daily Mail, but it’s not the font of all knowledge! Moneybox – 95 day notice – 1.65%

            I don’t know if it would work here, but in my foreign (higher interest abroad) notice account it lets me request the funds/cancel the requests as often as I want. If you had the desire/patience, you could therefore effectively cut the notice period to a few days (after the first 95 days).

          • Harry T says:

            The Original David is on the money here. Unless buying a house etc you just need a suitable emergency fund, and should invest the rest into low cost passive tracker funds (and perhaps overpaying mortgage).

          • Rob says:

            Mortgage OK, tracker funds, er, no. You need to understand your broader risk profile. If you work in the City, your biggest risk of losing your job is a sharp market fall (or disruption linked to a market fall, eg Lehman). You do NOT want to be unemployed just to find your ‘low risk’ tracker fund is also down 25%.

          • Genghis says:

            @Rob which is where your emergency fund comes in – for us enough to live for a year – until I get a new job. I don’t want too much capital standing idle when it could be working for me.

        • Sean says:

          4000 @1.5% p.a. is £5 per month. £4,800 is breakeven in your example

  • Tim W says:

    I recommend Albania as a fascinating holiday destination – get there before it gets on the regular tourist trail!

  • John says:

    There is a new Hilton Garden Inn in Tirana which is extremely cheap and excellent for the price.

  • Jason says:

    Albania is also 160 tier points! Recently booked Club Europe return for £208.

  • Adam says:

    The idea of free cash abroad is a good one. You still get it at 0% and still earn the 0.5% cash back on non sterling transactions. If you use this feature it’s not a bad deal for £6 a month.

    • Nic says:

      But Starling gives you free cash withdrawals abroad and spending abroad, so the only true value from the Tandem card is the cash back or the interest free period. And there is no way it will stay interest free.