Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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  The card was withdrawn for new applications late last year.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.

(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.)

Comments (217)

  • L Allen says:

    I’m going to Tirana in March, I may check the hotel out!

  • Andrew says:

    Bits:- British Airways Carnet/Option Town

    I’ve done the obvious thing and emailed OptionTown, but they’ve responded without answering the question…

    I’m thinking about buying a 9 return over 12 month LHR-EDI (30 day) BA Carnet with Option Town (mentioned recently by Rob). It seems good value. But sometimes I drive up to Perthshire for a break, but fly back to London for a few days in the middle of the holiday.

    Anyone know if the OptionTown Carnets can be booked in reverse? Ie they work for both LHR to EDI returns and EDI to LHR returns.

    • Lady London says:

      IIRC without looking it up carnet covers both directions. Its quoted as journeys not return journeys so I would expect to use them singly. Would you kindly post when you get it confirmed?

      • Andrew says:

        It is indeed sold as Journeys, but it’s clear from the terms that they do need to be booked as an out/back pair.

    • I often buy NCL-LHR ones. You can definitely book them in any order but they need to be booked as a return.

      Sometimes I do NCL-LHR-NCL and other times I do LHR-NCL-LHR. This is not a problem.

      I have the ‘freedom option’ that lets me book fully flexible tickets right up to 4 hours before departure. I can alter my return flight any time with this one. With the other packages that require advance booking I don’t believe you can change the return after flying the outward.

  • RussellH says:

    UK tour operators to Germany were always pleased to find themselves put up in Maritim Hotels during the Germany Travel Mart and other educationals. A general feeling that the service was at least one notch above other chains.
    The UK sales team were also very friendly and supportive.

  • Waribai says:

    Just missed out on tickets. Let me try this evening! OT….I just called Amex Plat Insurance to check whether the insurance covered ski equipment. Interestingly, she said it would provided that the flights or the hotel had been paid for on my AMEX plat. I remember though that Rob mentioned Amex had gone back on that stipulation?

    • Rob says:

      Some bits of the insurance still require some form of Amex payment – you need to read the policy.

      • Waribai says:

        Thanks. Yes, I mistakenly thought it was still like the old days. So it seems personal possessions requires payment with the card………

  • RussellH says:

    I think I may have seen something about this posted here before, but never really commented on.

    On my first Virgin Atlantic Credit card statement it clearly says:-
    “Important information about using your card abroad
    From 15 December 2019, we’re changing how you’re charged when you use your card or withdraw cash in any of the 31 countries of the European Economic Area (EEA). When you pay for something in Euros, Swedish Kronor or Romanian Lei, we won’t charge you a Non-Sterling Transaction Fee.

    When you take money out in those currencies from a cash machine in the EEA, you won’t have to pay a Non-Sterling Transaction Fee either – but you will still need to pay a Cash Advance fee.”

    So, for the Eurozone, Sweden and Romania, there is now a travel rewards card that is free to use! I am curious as to how this is paid for, though! I would be surprised to learn that the Clydesdale Bank (who issue the card) has significant income in EUR, RON or SEK that it needs to offset?

    • AlexT says:

      Not publicized, but works in BGN too, so I assume it works in any EEA currency, not just the three listed explicitly.

    • Dev says:

      All thanks to the EU Payment Services Directive legislation, with more to come for the benefit of consumers.

      Once we sail off into the arms of anyone else willing to have us as best friends, in accordance with current government policies I’m avoiding saying that Br word, then no doubt our legislation will diverge at some point of time from EU legislation.

      Enjoy it while you can 🙂

    • Harry T says:

      I’m still fairly sure this is a trap and will continue to use Curve (which has a much better app and free cash withdrawals up to £200). I think Virgin will just add another type of fee and call it by a different name.

      • jc says:

        The main difference is on weekends, Curve will apply a 0.5% surcharge above the Mastercard rate and Virgin won’t. Sure Virgin might introduce a new “fee” in future, but that’ll take MINIMUM one month

    • Rob says:

      I think you’re about to see another fee introduced which isn’t called a fee but still costs you 3%.

  • Benilyn says:

    OT: 5.5hr stopover in AUH with Etihad. Any tips for what to do? I have dufry lounge passes ready as backup. Anyone seen any good Careem discount codes, someone mentioned to me they were doing free pick ups from the airport. Aim is to keep costs low. Been 10x+ to AUH/DBX so done most touristy things. A spa or something could be a shout.

  • Heran says:

    1.5% interest rate is good but if you have children, you can open children’s accounts that easily beat this rate (all easy access; you still controls the money): Virgin Money Young Saver 2.2% up to £25,000 (per child), 3% Nationwide Future Saver up to £5000 (per child) etc. If you can wait your money a little longer, moneybox from Investec offers 95 Day Notice Savings Account at a rate of 1.65%.

    • Andy says:

      Is it worth getting a child to take advantage of the savings rates?

      • EwanG says:

        Don’t ask that, it’ll start that whole climate debate again!

        • The Original David says:

          Is it any more onerous to get a “child” for a bank account than it is to get a “pet” for an insurance policy?

          • Shoestring says:

            Halifax current a/c opening – they wanted to see the kids in person – the actual a/c opening took 2 mins online, the meeting in branch 5 mins – but you need a passport/ ID & a real kid

  • Craig says:

    OT: AerClub collect on card worked nicely for Odeon, took about 4 days for the Avios to appear in the account.

    • Polly says:

      Didn’t know, how does that work, we use odeon quite often, but dread dealing w aerclub.