Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Has Tesco blocked Pay+ debit cards from paying HMRC?

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

Last week we ran a long article about Tesco Bank’s new Clubcard Pay+ card.

This is a prepaid debit card – which you load via bank transfer from an app – earning 1 Clubcard point for every £8 you spend on it.

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

It looks Tesco Bank was a bit taken aback by the huge number of applications following our article. We tracked over 1,000 clicks to the website.

Yesterday morning I heard the first story of payments to HMRC with Pay+ failing.

Later, another reader got in touch to say that he had called Tesco Bank, to be told that it is no longer being accepted by HMRC. Tesco Bank helpfully let him transfer his pre-loaded funds back into his current account.

Two examples is still a small sample. To be honest, I would have expected more reader emails if Tesco Bank really had pulled the plug. However, there is also one report of problems in the Pay+ thread in our forums.

It is not 100% certain that this route to paying your tax has been closed (the first failure could have been due to the size of the transfer and the second due to a badly trained phone agent). That said, if you were thinking of applying I would hold back until we get more data.

EDIT: the comments below are split between people struggling and those for whom it is working fine. A reader emailed to say he paid £25,000 yesterday with no issues and another has paid £95,000 this week. All very odd. It may be that you need to wait a couple of days after transferring money in before trying to spend it, or that you should build up via some smaller transactions.

Our original article on Tesco Bank’s Pay+ card is here.

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

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2023 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ card is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points. Apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus (to 13th June) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (51)

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

  • Ian says:

    It’s only a matter of time before Tesco Bank realises that letting people pay huge tax bills in order to get Clubcard points isn’t what they intended. They’ll stop this very soon, and rightly so.

  • jonnyfly says:

    T CC Pay+ working for me. Second funding ‘go’ in one day got paused by funding bank (after ‘duplicate’ request) but was released once phoned them. Had previously ‘christened’ the new card with a small supermarket transaction (chip’n’pin). Today have done three rounds of funding in the same day and paid HMRC out immediately on each receipt. £10k seems OK (in and out).

    Previously HMRC had refused the card with an error about the card type not accepted (or something like that) but was accepted a few hours later.

  • Christopher says:

    Pre-loading £95,000 onto a card with no certainty that it will be easily and quickly offloaded, for a return of 28,500 Virgin Points is pretty ballsy.

    • Rob says:

      I’d be more concerned about the faff required in moving £95,000, given the pathetic daily limits most of us have. Even as super-top-tier HSBC Jade I can’t move more than £10k per day via the app.

      • Dave N says:

        Barclays Premier allow £50K a day via then web banking (less through the app – with £10K or £30K I think) – maybe worth checking out the HSBC web banking service Rob to move more?

      • Filipino_Chino says:

        I know that Santander and Lloyds have a work around, not sure about HSBC – normally if you transfer between accounts within the same group, they have no limit, so i tranfer £20/25k to a savings account and then transfer the money to Tesco, then i will take another lump from my current account, then again from another account. For my Lloyds i can do about £75k a day, while Santander is about £100k (depends on how many accounts you have).

  • Ramsey says:

    Didn’t work when first transferred, but worked the following day for a couple k payment to hmrc

  • Ruth4325 says:

    If I have an old and a new style 241 voucher and wanting to book a return to TYO next Spring am I best to use the old or new style? The reason I ask is because I’d like to use one of the vouchers for a trip to NYC in May and I can use either voucher for that.

    • Rob says:

      NYC availability is pretty easy, Tokyois generally pretty hard, so the new-style 241 with better availability will be best used for the latter.

  • Andy says:

    Can someone who understands this industry explain *why* Tesco would seek to block payments to HMRC? Presumably Tesco make a % on each payment, and presumably they have worked out that that (and any other revenue they make from the card) more than pays for the Clubcard points. You’d think they would be actively *encouraging* people to use the card in this way! It’s paying tax, it’s not fraudulent, nor is it comparable to shady areas such as depositing to NS&I for the sole purpose of withdrawing and recycling.

    • Axel says:

      Sorry to burst your bubble Andy, you can withdraw any self assessment overpayments you made in March up to about July when the 2nd payment is due.

  • Simon says:

    Mine was blocked from HMRC on the day I activated the card. After calling Tesco Bank they said it can up to 24 hours from activation before some merchants/retailers accept a new card. Tried the next day and all fine. The points landed 2 days later. Thanks again Rob!

  • Rhys says:

    Don’t know if people will see this comment on an ‘old’ article but wondering if it is possible to pay stamp duty over more than one transaction. I have to pay about £110,000 but the Tesco Pay Plus rules state that debit card transactions of £100,000 or more are excluded, which would defeat the purpose of getting it if I have to pay the stamp duty in one go.

    • Rob says:

      In general, HMRC doesn’t care. I paid my self-assessment in 25 chunks last year to get it through my Miles & More Mastercard. Not sure why SDLT would be different.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.