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Paying HMRC? Clubcard Pay+ is now open to all and earns points on tax

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Last year, Tesco Bank trialled a new product called Clubcard Pay+. This is a prepaid debit card – which you load via bank transfer from an app – which earns 1 Clubcard point for every £8 you spend on it.

It’s not hugely exciting for the majority, as it is only useful if you spend money at places where debit cards are accepted, but not credit cards. There aren’t many of those.

What you CAN do, however, is pay HMRC with it. This gets you a small return on your tax payments.

Last week, after a series of trials, Tesco opened up Clubcard Pay+ to the general public so I thought it was worth another look.

What is Tesco Clubcard Pay debit card?

You can learn more about Clubcard Pay+ on its website here.

How does Clubcard Pay+ work?

This is how Clubcard Pay+ works:

  • Clubcard Pay+ is a Visa debit card
  • Clubcard Pay+ has no application fees or annual fees
  • You top it up by loading funds from your current account, which can be with any bank, via the Tesco Bank mobile app
  • You can use the card anywhere that debit cards are accepted
  • You earn 1 Clubcard point for every £8 you spend outside Tesco
  • You do not earn anything when you spend in Tesco, apart from the ‘base’ earning of 1 Clubcard point per £1 spent (Clubcard Pay+ replaces your standard Clubcard)
  • You earn nothing if you use Clubcard Pay+ to pay into bank accounts, NSI or other financial institutions (HMRC is OK according to HfP reader reports), share dealing accounts, gambling accounts or if you withdraw money via ATMs
  • There is a 2.75% foreign exchange fee, so there is no benefit in using this card when you travel

For the first 100 days, you will earn an extra 1 Clubcard point for every £1 spent at Tesco or in a Tesco garage. After that, you revert back to your standard Clubcard earning rate of 1 point per £1. This is instead of, and not on top of, the 1 point per £1 you would get for swiping a standard Clubcard.

What rewards would I receive from Clubcard Pay+?

The key issue is what you earn on general debit card spending.

Based on 1 Clubcard point per £8 spent, you would receive:

  • 2.5 Virgin Points per £8 spent
  • 3p of voucher per £8 spent

….. and so on. The full list of Tesco Clubcard travel redemption partners is here and of course there are many non-travel options too.

Clearly this is not very attractive compared to credit card rewards. It is even worse than it looks, because it is based on a ‘per transaction’ basis. A payment of £7.99 earns you no points. A payment of £15.99 only earns you 1 Clubcard point.

However, if you make substantial and regular payments by debit card – excluding payments to banks, gambling sites, NSI, financial institutions etc – then this looks like an interesting deal.

Readers have confirmed that it does work when paying HMRC. When you are paying large sums of VAT, PAYE, self-assessment etc even a tiny return like 2.5 Virgin Points per £8 will add up.

It may work for people who can’t justify the £150 annual fee for Curve Metal. Curve Metal allows you to pay HMRC using a Visa or Mastercard credit card for free, up to £10,000 per month, earning credit card rewards on the underlying Visa or Mastercard you link to Curve.

If you don’t pay money to HMRC – and I can’t think of many other places where you would spend large sums and where only debit cards are taken – I don’t see the attraction of Clubcard Pay+. You have to keep it topped up via manual transfers which adds extra faff to your life.

You can find out more about Clubcard Pay+ on the Tesco Bank website here.

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Comments (102)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • R says:

    Paid SDLT using it and got the points. Conveyancer was a little confused when I explained what I wanted to do but went along with it.

    • Alex W says:

      My Conveyancer was adamant I wasn’t “allowed” to pay it directly and demanded I send them a bank transfer!

      So I filled out my own SDLT3 form, paid it directly and sent the receipt to the conveyancer along with the completed SDLT3 form.

      They haven’t got a leg to stand on, SDLT is a personal liability. Technically it’s not even due until a month after completion, however, apparently the mortgage lender wanted to see proof SDLT had been paid before they would release the funds.

      • Paul says:

        Oh that’s a great idea. I have run into this too, conveyancer saying only via bank transfer. I buy investment properties every year so I’ll do this from now on. Thank you!

      • Alex Sm says:

        OMG, guys, what are you talking about, SDLT, conveyancer… sounds like a different world compared to what people normally discuss here

  • R001 says:

    Is there a limit on the amounts that can be spent? I.e. Would 6-figure payments to HMRC work?

  • James says:

    This is new to me but what is the best way to pay Stamp Duty in regards to earning points etc. Is there a way to do it? Thanks

  • Swiss Jim says:

    I should know this. If you use Curve Metal do all underlying credit cards recognise this as a purchase. i.e. none (that people are aware of) treat as cash advance. It’s all well and good what Curve says…. I guess that route there’s also a fear that the underlying cards eventuallh do a Creation.

    • Rob says:

      It is up to the underlying card as to what merchant codes are treated as cash.

  • Still learning says:

    This may be a stupid question, but from looking on the Tesco website it’s an app rather than a card, so how do you use that to pay HMRC?

    • Blenz101 says:

      You get a card as well. You need the app to load cash onto the card.

      • DZOO says:

        How long did the card take to arrive please – 31 Jan I believe is the deadline to pay SA so guessing may not arrive in time??

        • Rob says:

          No, deadline is end of Feb this year I think – there is a covid exception.

          • Charlie says:

            Apparently you’ll be charged interest from 1 February but you won’t be subject to a late payment penalty if you pay by 1 April.

        • Graham Walsh says:

          Just applied and they said the card will arrive in 5-7 days

  • TimM says:

    “It’s not hugely exciting”

  • Nate1309 says:

    Does anyone know the rules for paying HMRC with curve legacy black?

    • Alex W says:

      Can be done but you need to turn on ‘Curve Fronted’ in the app settings. Curve charges 1.5% for this.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      You can turn on Curve fronted by that costs 1.5% so this is essentially free points.

  • Alex W says:

    I can confirm Clubcard Pay+ also works when paying into the Government Tax Free Childcare scheme. For 2 kids we’re shelling out £22,400 per year in nursery fees. I’d say 2,800 Clubcard points is worth the extra effort.

    • john says:

      I use curve and a credit card for this.

      • Alex W says:

        Really? When did that start working? It wasn’t possible for a long time.

        • Alex W says:

          Just read up on this, it may have started working when Curve launched 3D secure. Brilliant news, but shame I have missed out on 9 months of points from Childcare payments! Thanks for the heads up.

          • elguiri says:

            This is with fronted on I guess? I never had any luck with curve and TFC, even after they added 3d secure.

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