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Review: the Tesco Bank Mastercard credit card

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This is our review of the Tesco Bank Mastercard credit card.

It is part of our series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether of not they are worth applying for. These posts are linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards‘ area of the menu bar. Our other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

Key link: Tesco Bank Mastercard application form

Key facts: No annual fee

Review Tesco mastercard clubcard credit card

The representative APR is 21.9% variable based on the ‘Purchases’ version of the card which I cover here.

This article was updated on 1st September 2022, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

About the Tesco credit card

The Tesco Bank Mastercard is issued by Tesco Bank, which is now wholly owned by Tesco following its acquisition of Royal Bank of Scotland’s stake a few years ago.

What is the Tesco credit card sign-up bonus?

There is no sign-up bonus on the card.

Any other benefits?

The core version of the Tesco Bank Mastercard offers 0% interest on purchases for up to the first 23 months. You may be offered 14 or 18 months instead.

This version of the card has a representative APR of 21.9% variable.

Alternative versions of the card are also available with different interest rate and balance transfer terms.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You earn 1 Clubcard point for every £8 spent on the card on a ‘per transaction’ basis.

It is important that you understand what ‘per transaction’ means. At the most extreme, if you bought 100 items at £7.99 in separate transactions, you would earn zero Clubcard points. A £15.99 transaction would only earn one point, whilst a £16.00 transaction would earn two points.

You earn 1 point per £4 spent in Tesco.

Review Tesco mastercard clubcard credit card

How does that convert to Avios or Virgin Points?

You will NOT be converting your Tesco Clubcard points to Avios. The partnership with Avios ended in January 2021.

Luckily, if you want to earn Avios points from a Visa or Mastercard, you still can. In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two excellent Avios credit cards with big sign-up bonuses:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

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

You can still convert your Clubcard points to Virgin Points although this isn’t the best way to earn them.

One Clubcard point is worth 2.5 Virgin points, so every £1 spent on the card gets you up to 0.312 Virgin Points.  This rate is doubled for spending at Tesco.

You will receive a statement once a quarter containing your Clubcard vouchers, and you can convert these online to Virgin Points or redeem them for any of Tesco’s other Clubcard partner deals. You can even spend the vouchers in-store at Tesco at their face value, although this is a poor use of them.

If your goal is Virgin Points, do not get the Tesco Clubcard credit card. Get the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard instead which earns 0.75 Virgin Points per £1. It earns more than double the number of Virgin Points per £1 spent.

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

Any other quirks?

Your Tesco credit card doubles up as a standard Tesco Clubcard.

It is perfectly acceptable to hand over your Tesco credit card in a Tesco store and ask them to swipe it as a Clubcard. You can then pay for your shopping on a more lucrative credit card!

What is a Virgin Point worth?

We value Virgin Points in line with Avios, at 1p each. Where British Airways and Virgin Atlantic compete, mileage costs and taxes are close enough to justify this.

Virgin Points are relatively worthless in small quantities, however, if your aim is free flights due to Virgin’s lack of short haul options. Whilst you can redeem for many non-flight items, the value you get is low at around 0.5p per point.

One key benefit of Tesco Clubcard points is that you do not have to convert to Virgin Points, of course. Unlike the dedicated Virgin Atlantic credit cards, you have the option to convert to Virgin Points, but there is also the flexibility to use them for any other good Tesco deals that come along.

I used to use a large pile of vouchers to pay a regular Safestore bill and then moved on to using them for Uber.  When those deals died I moved back to Avios – and have now moved across to Virgin Points – but it was good to have the choice.

Is this a good card to use when travelling?

As Tesco Bank adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad.

Unfortunately there are no credit cards with 0% foreign exchange fees worldwide which earn airline or hotel points. (The Virgin Atlantic credit cards have 0% FX fees in the Eurozone.) Currensea is a simple but clever idea. You pay abroad with your Currensea Mastercard debit card. Currensea translates the cost to Sterling with just a 0.5% fee (83% less than the Tesco card) and withdraws the money from your bank account. You can find out more by clicking here. Currensea is free so there is no risk in giving it a try.

Conclusion

With no sign-up bonus, there is no reason to get the Tesco Bank Mastercard for a quick points boost.

Assuming you convert your Clubcard vouchers to Virgin Points, the earning rate of 0.312 points per £1 is not attractive.

You could be earning 0.75 Virgin Flying Club points per £1 with the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard.  Our review of the free Virgin Atlantic credit card is here.

Whilst there is some value in the greater flexibility offered by the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard, due to its wider range of redemption options, this is not enough to justify accepting 0.312 Virgin Points per £1 when you could be getting 0.75 per £1 on Virgin’s own card.

Even the occasional conversion bonuses of 10%-20% to Virgin Flying Club from Tesco do not go anywhere near justifying the gap.

The application form for the Tesco Bank Mastercard can be found 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’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibly to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

Comments (10)

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

  • Rich says:

    A quirk to be aware of is that using the Tesco credit card as a Clubcard at the pay at pump gets you a point per pound spent rather than the usual point per litre purchased and so with the recent price increases it is an even better deal.

    This quirk worked when I last filled up at Tesco, but I have switched elsewhere and so apologies if this loophole has been closed.

    • Lev441 says:

      It’s a point per pound using the credit card as a Clubcard rather than point per £2 spent..

  • SRF. says:

    I drive for a living and most of our company vehicles have Fuel Genie fuel cards, which can use at Tesco (and Sainsburys).

    I have kept the Tesco CC for years purely for the additional clubcard points I receive. Prob 300-400 extra points a week.

    • Genghis says:

      Not filled up at Tesco for ages as I’m burning Nectar points. However, does the Tesco CC need to be “active” to earn the extra 0.5 point / £ spend?

      • SRF. says:

        Not really. Every year or so, I get a letter saying I need to put a transaction through the card to keep it active so will buy something for couple quid. Other than that, only other time card leaves wallet is to be used as clubcard for fuel before paying with company fuel genie card or my amex.

        If looking to pay with different card, just be careful not to tap the card on payment terminal – insert instead 😉 – so don’t accidentally pay due to new £100 tap limit.

        Cashier and pay at pump both ask if want pay on different card once clubcard number has been lifted from Tesco CC.

        • Genghis says:

          Not quite what I was getting at. My former Tesco Debit card cc number is my cc on Pay+ and still seems to be working OK at Tesco shop but not sure if works as wanted at the pump.

  • Jack D says:

    What’s are the best ‘easy to get’ Mastercard or Visa credit cards for Avios purposes? Thanks.

    • Jonathan says:

      This isn’t the right article to be reading for credit cards that can earn Avios but aren’t Amex cards. For UK residents, the options are very limited, for a lot of people, there’s only one choice, and it’s not a very good option at all for everywhere use

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

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