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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 Hotels.com 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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You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

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Earning miles and points from small business cards

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Comments (102)

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

  • SteveJ says:

    Whereas many places now take credit card, this may be a good option for a used car purchase, where often you’d pay by debit card.

    • flyforfun says:

      Not just used cars, new cars too. I was only allowed to put £2K of my deposit of my new car on credit cards, the rest had to be debit cards. We quickly got Curve cards and routed them to our credit cards. The dealer thought it was a credit card until I flashed the debit logo at him.

      • QwertyKnowsBest says:

        Just convinced new car dealer to take £10K plus on Amex. Happy days

  • Ben says:

    Chase gives 1% but not on HMRC or NS&I.

  • John Pagani says:

    Can this be used to pay VAT?

  • jonnyfly says:

    What’s the typical application-to-card-live time? Is this likely too late for 31 Jan SA this year?

  • Jeremy says:

    My Tesco banking app stopped working when the bank closed.
    How else can I pay in?
    Has this happened to anyone else?

    • Alex W says:

      Tesco Bank isn’t closed, only the current account. You should be given access to the Tesco Bank app when your application for Pay+ is accepted.

  • The Original Nick. says:

    I need to pay my SA by the end of January. I only have the basic Curve card. I was hoping to pay my SA using my Virgin CC or BAPP which I thought I could use Billhop? Please correct me and direct me if possible? Thanks.

    • MrIO says:

      Upgrade to metal just for the month and get £10,000 HMRC free. To be honest I kept metal on Curve. I actually used the insurance when I broken an iPad on travel and they paid up.

      My only frustration with Curve is their customer service is shocking. There is no way to call them; once my card kept decling for the Burj in Dubai. They took a week to answer my “urgent” comment. You cannot run a card business with that length to reply. As a result you need more than one card with you. Turns out the Burj is a well known fraud method so Curve block them just for your information!

      • J says:

        I think there’s a £50 fine if you cancel metal less than 6 months into signing up.

      • Sam says:

        Dont you have to hold metal for a min of 6 months?

      • Peter K says:

        You can’t have curve metal for just a month. If you pay monthly it’s a minimum 6 months. If you pay yearly it’s a minimum 1yr.
        You really need to work the figures out on that one too see if it works for you.
        Billhop is something I’ve used numerous times with amex, but again you have to work out if the 3% fee works the maths in your favour.

        • MrIO says:

          You do but within 14 days you can cancel as it’s a cooling off period.

        • Triath5 says:

          If you pay for one year but cancel after 6 months do you get a pro-rata refund for the £150?

          If not, for someone who only wants 6 months of Curve Metal, is the best route to go monthly and not renew after 6 months?

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            You’re also trusting that all the other factors that make Curve Metal useful to you (such as underlying card behaviour) will not change within that 12 months. I definitely don’t and am happy to pay monthly and pay a little more to retain flexibility of cancellation. Not saying I’m right, though; decide for yourself.

          • Sundar says:

            Yes, was pro-rata.

  • Nigel W says:

    I paid my father’s SA bill to HMRC last week via Clubcard Pay+ and I can confirm the points have come through!

  • Andrew. says:

    PAW fans also have the option of buying pre-paid Mastercards e-codes with a 1% rebate (maximum loadable per card £200). These can be paid for using an MBNA Horizon card with a 0.5% rebate or other card of your choice.

    Probably more effort than it is worth though.

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