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How to use the Tesco Clubcard Pay+ debit card to earn points from HMRC

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The Tesco Clubcard Pay+ debit card is a product which appears to have no real purpose.

Unless, that is, you collect miles and points and have HMRC tax bills to pay ….

Clubcard Pay+ is a prepaid debit card which you load via bank transfer from an app. It earns 1 Clubcard point for every £8 you spent 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. There aren’t many of those, except for HMRC. All other obvious routes for washing through money, such as paying credit card bills or crediting bank accounts, are blocked.

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), 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

What rewards will you receive from Clubcard Pay+?

Very little, unfortunately. Based on 1 Clubcard point per £8 spent, you will receive:

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

….. and so on.

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.

Whilst it does work when paying HMRC, a tiny return of 2.5 Virgin Points per £8 arguably isn’t really worth the trouble of loading up the card and then making payments.

In recent weeks, I had also heard of some HfP readers having their Pay+ card forcibly shut down, presumably (it wasn’t stated) for paying HMRC. There are only a small number of these reports, but they do exist.

The only other option for getting some reward paying HMRC is via 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. The snag here is that many popular Visa and Mastercard products no longer allow you to use Curve for HMRC, treat it as cash withdrawal (adding 3%) or – looking at you, HSBC – refuse to issue points. Our forum has a lot of discussion on Curve if you’re interested.

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Comments (21)

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

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    Are you sure Clubcard Pay Plus is getting scrapped? I got an email saying Tesco Pay Plus is getting scrapped as a stand-alone app and functionality integrated into the main Tesco app.

    Tesco Pay Plus is different, it’s a standalone app where you scan a QR code to pay in Tesco. It doesn’t come with its own card. Most people only used it when there was extra points incentives to use it.

    So two different similarly named products, possible they’re both going but saying as your last paragraph refers to the Tesco Pay Plus functionality rather than Clubcard Pay Plus then it’s worth checking.

    As of this morning the application page for Clubcard Pay Plus is still active. Seems odd if they’re closing it.

    • Terry says:

      SECR is correct – It’s the Tesco Pay+ app that is closing, and being integrated into the Tesco Grocery & Clubcard app.

      The Clubcard Pay+ account is not closing.

    • Yuff says:

      That’s what I thought initially and then like you thought it was something different to Clubcard + and came to the conclusion now wonder they are closing it as it’s pretty confusing

    • Simon says:

      Thanks for posting this as I am also confused. I also use Tesco Pay Plus (when I can remember, and less often now you don’t get double points); and have the debit card (and a “bank” account sitting behind it). I read the message as the former being moved into the main app, not the latter closing. (Although I don’t really use the latter – assume I took it out because there was a sign up bonus at some point!)

  • kt74 says:

    Yes, seconded. Not sure this story is correct. Tesco confusingly has two products called Pay+. The Pay+ QR code payment offering was notionally rebranded as something else when Tesco Bank relaunched the debit card as prepaid… but they never changed the name of the app. AFAIK it’s the standing payment app being integrated into the main Tesco app, not the debit card

  • lumma says:

    You say it was a useless product, but there’s definitely a market among people in their 20s for giving themselves an allowance in a different account to keep their bills money in their main account (I know a lot that use Monzo for this).

    I believe that this was the market Tesco were aiming for with this product and the points were the hopeful sweetener to choose it.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      As my earlier comment mentions I don’t know for certain that this card is being scrapped. It’s possibly a brand confusion issue between Tesco Pay + and Clubcard Pay + which despite similar names have nothing in common.

      But for the niche market of people who want to collect points but don’t want or able to get a credit card the BA Mastercard is better, although they need to sort out their absolutely terrible IT which makes the airline IT look reliable. Most of January unable to top up, then a new app was launched, now it’s impossible to log in at the moment.

      But once they iron out the bugs I’d say the 1 Avios/£2 is better than 1 Clubcard point/£8 particularly as the BA card rounds up the totals so £7.99 on the Tesco card gets you nothing, but is treated like £8 on the BA card so gets 4 Avios. Neither are earth shattering but you can always move the Avios to Nectar.

  • Andrew P says:

    If I use curve to pay hmrc, are capital on tap, virgin or barclaycard still issuing points or treating it as a cash advance?

  • Chaz says:

    I agree the return isn’t great, but I stick about £250k through it to HMRC each year – usually £25k lumps. That turns into about £350 of Clubcard vouchers which you can get three times value at their partners. Probably 10 minutes of additional effort across a year for £1k.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      Have you actually had an email saying they’re stopping it? I got an email saying Tesco Pay + (something entirely different to this) is coming to an end and I think due to the confusing names it’s been assumed that Clubcard Pay + is stopping but I’m not so sure on that

  • captaindave says:

    Just to confuse things even more, there is also Clubcard Plus, where you pay £7.99 per month, and get 10% on 2 shops per month.

    I did the free month trial around Christmas to get 10% off 2 big shops, and cancelled before the 7.99 was due.
    My OH has just signed up for the free month as well.

  • Born2sKydive says:

    The Clubcard Pay+ card has been excellent for me. Not in terms of the earning rates of 1 point peer £8 spent, but for the sporadic yet consistent offers. E.g. 500 points for simply topping up with £10 and 500 points for using it to pay for groceries in Tesco on 2 x shops etc, spring to mind. I’ve easily earned 3,000 – 4,500 Virgin points for minimal effort (on top of normal tesco spend) since getting it.

  • Charles Martel says:

    On the subject of debit cards, not a game changer but Nationwide current account holders can get 5% back on up to £200 spend at most supermarkets. Doesn’t seem to exclude gift vouchers – details in the app.

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

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