Customers outraged as Tandem closes free cashback credit card

by Brean Horne from Moneywise |

Tandem cashback credit cardholders must join new fee-paying membership scheme or lose the card altogether. 

Challenger Bank, Tandem, will introduce a £5.99 monthly fee for its cashback credit card from 9 March 2020.

Launched in February 2018, the Tandem Cashback credit card offers fee-free spending overseas as well as 0.5% cashback on purchases worldwide.

Tandem invited existing cardholders to join the new Tandem Membership scheme which offers the following features:

  • 0% interest on purchases and cash withdrawals
  • No fees on overseas spending and cash withdrawals
  • Access to a linked easy-access savings account paying 1.5%
  • 0.5% cashback on all purchases over £1 worldwide

Customers who decide not to become members will be able to use their cards as normal until 9 March 2020.

After this date, their cards will be deactivated, and their credit agreement will remain in place until the credit card balance is repaid.  

What do Tandem customers say?

Existing Tandem customers have been less than impressed with Tandem, with some finding the membership fee to be too expensive:

Couldn't agree more, how many customers could possibly justify the membership fee? Already applied for an Aqua card, same cashback and travel benefits with no fee.

— Maddie Deaton (@two4theroad) January 8, 2020

Yep, I'm off too come March. Originally got it for a specific trip abroad but there are others available for next time. Kept it for the 0.5% cashback on spending, but as I don't spend enough on it to earn more than the fee each month, Tandem membership would lose me money! Oops!

— Jonathan Gadsby (@JG_Jonno) January 8, 2020

£72 a year charge for the card, and REMOVAL OF SERVICE FOR EVERYONE WHO DOESNT SIGN UP? Why not offer two levels, paid and unpaid?

— Craig (@MrCraigDuncan) January 8, 2020

What does Tandem say?

The introduction of the Tandem Membership scheme was prompted by customer research amongst existing cardholders, according to the challenger bank.

Its new feature structure aims to offer all Tandem customers a “well-balanced deal.”

Ricky Knox, co-founder and chief executive of Tandem, says: “We want to continue to offer products and services that make a real difference to our customers, but we also need that offer to be sustainable.

“That’s why we’re taking the opportunity to test a membership model that preserves all of the benefits of the cashback card and more.”

Alternative cashback credit cards

If you would like a new cashback credit card there are several options to consider. 

The Amex Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card has no annual fee and has an introductory offer of 5% cashback on spending for the first three months, up to a £100 limit.

After that cardholders will earn 1% cashback on spending over £5,001 per year and 0.5% on spending below this amount.

The aqua Reward Mastercard gives customers 0.5% cashback on all spending up to a limit of £100 per year.

This card is designed for those with a poor credit history (although anyone can apply) so beware of the high interest rate.

You'll need to pay this card off in full every month to avoid paying a high rate of interest (34.9%) on your balance.

Check out our guide to the best cashback credit cards for more information. 

This article was originally published in our sister magazine Moneywise. Click here to subscribe.

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