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.
Amex Cashback Cards
There are some things to bear in mind when considering the Amex Cashback cards as an alternative to Tandem.
First and foremost there are a lot of places, particularly small businesses, that just don't accept it. This might include places where you spend a lot of money, such as your local garage or dentist.
Note that you have to spend at least £3,000 a year to get ANY cashback, however any spend over £5,000 does earn a nice 1% on the Everyday card.
If you are going to spend more than £10,000 a year then you'd be better off with the £25 a year Platinum Cashback Card, as you'll earn more cashback.
After my Tandem account closes in March my plan is to use an Amex Cashback Everyday Card where I can and an Aqua Reward Mastercard everywhere else.