Tandem Bank review

11 min Read Published: 01 Oct 2020

complete tandem bank review

With so many app-only banks trying to crack the UK market it can be difficult to choose which one is best for you; if any?

The thought of trusting a new challenger bank with your money can be daunting and so we have taken a look at Tandem to see how it works.

What is Tandem and how does it work?

Launched in 2015 by founders Matt Cooper, Michael Kent and Ricky Knox, Tandem was created to 'get you and your money moving in the right direction'. Tandem is a fully-fledged bank account which means that up to £85,000 of your money is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Tandem became a fully-fledged bank account in 2017 after it acquired Harrods bank, allowing it to operate from the previous licence that Harrods Bank held. Prior to this Tandem was in the process of applying for its UK banking licence but it had to voluntarily return it after funding was revoked by Chinese company The Sanpower Group (former owners of the department store House of Fraser).

Tandem offers 1, 2 and 3 year fixed savings accounts and autosavings features similar to rival challenger banks such as Monzo and Starling Bank.

To join Tandem you just need to download the app from the App Store for iPhone, or Google Play Store for Android and register for an account. You are required to enter your Title, First and Last name as well as an email address and finally a secure password.

The next step is to enter your mobile number, this is required so that Tandem can send you a unique 6-digit code. Tandem then asks for further personal details including your date of birth, nationality and address. Finally, you'll need to enter in your current account details so it can connect to your account. Tandem advises it does not support prepaid cards, cash cards or money transfer accounts.

Tandem features

  • Fixed savings accounts - Choose from a 1, 2 or 3 year fixed savings account
  • Automatic saving - Tandem uses artificial intelligence to analyse your spending and suggest amounts to save
  • Roundups - Save as you spend by rounding up transactions to the nearest £ and saving the change
  • Easy access account - Earn up to 0.5% interest in a Tandem easy access savings account
  • Regular deposit - Easily save a weekly/monthly amount in just a couple of clicks
  • FSCS protection - your money is protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to £85,000

Tandem easy access savings account

Tandem offers an easy access savings account and savers can earn 0.5% interest on the balance. You can save regularly via direct debit or standing order directly into your Tandem account or alternatively you can make manual transfers from your linked bank account. Money you have saved can be withdrawn by transferring it into your linked bank account.

You can connect your bank account to your Tandem account via open banking and by doing so, you'll get access Tandem's automatic saving features.

Tandem account features:

  • Your money is protected up to £85,000 with FSCS
  • Tandem will analyse your bills, income and spending with 'Safe to Save' and automatically transfer an affordable amount each week.
  • You can set the automatic saving level
  • Round up your spending to the nearest £
  • Withdraw money into your connected bank account
  • You can hold a maximum of £250,000
  • Interest is worked out daily and paid monthly

Tandem eligibility to apply:

  • 18+
  • A UK resident with 3 years address history (in the UK)
  • Have a UK current account

Tandem 'fixed savers' savings accounts

Tandem offers the choice of three fixed-savings accounts with very competitive interest rates. A fixed savings account guarantees the interest rate for a period of time but you cannot access your money until the account matures at the end of the term. Below is a comparison table with the Fixed Savings accounts that Tandem currently offers. For the best fixed-savings rates in the UK, and to see how Tandem compares, see our Best Buy tables.

 

Fixed Account Term Minimum deposit Maximum deposit Interest rate (AER*)
1 year £1,000 £2,500,000 0.60%
2 years £1,000 £2,500,000 0.65%
3 years £1,000 £2,500,000 0.70%

 

Tandem 'fixed savers' account features:

  • Your money is protected up to £85,000 with FSCS
  • Fixed interest rates in accounts for 1, 2 and 3 years
  • No withdrawals for the fixed term
  • Only one deposit allowed (you have 14 days to make the deposit)
  • Interest paid annually

 

Tandem eligibility to apply:

  • 18+
  • A UK resident with 3 years address history (in the UK)
  • Have a UK current account

 

Alternatives to Tandem

In the below comparison table we highlight the key differences between Tandem and its competitors.

Tandem Monzo Starling Bank Chip Plum
Automatic Saving
Roundups
Current account
Savings Account *
Interest
Investing account
Loans
Overdraft
FSCS protection

*Monzo does not offer its own savings account but there are options to save with partner banks through the app

Tandem bank is similar to the challenger banks Monzo and Starling Bank but despite having a UK banking licence it doesn't operate as a fully-fledged bank account.

Monzo and Starling Bank do offer the ability to save money but not with their own savings accounts. Monzo allows you to open easy access or fixed cash ISAs but they are underwritten by other providers such as Paragon or Charter Savings Bank. Starling Bank offers the ability to earn interest on current accounts. Tandem bank, however, just offer fixed savings accounts with competitive interest rates up to 0.70% AER.

Chip and Plum also use artificial intelligence to analyse your spending and automatically save money. With Chip and Plum, your money is stored as e-money and therefore isn't protected by the FSCS. Chip also charges a £1 fee if it manages to save you over £100 in a 28 day period. Plum is free to use unless you open an investment account which comes at a monthly cost of £1. For more information read our Chip review and Plum review.

Is Tandem safe to use?

Tandem is a registered bank which means that your money is protected up to £85,000 with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This limit applies to all money you may have with Tandem across different accounts, therefore if your savings exceed the value of £85,000, anything over the threshold will not be protected.

Tandem also advises that your bank details are safe with them as they use encryption software to keep your personal information safe.

How does Tandem make money?

Tandem makes money just like any other bank, making money from the interest it charges on its products. Put simply, the interest it charges credit card customers is far higher than the interest it pays to customers who save with them.

Tandem Bank customer reviews

Tandem Bank has a score of 3.4 out of 5.0 stars on Trustpilot from over 900 reviews. 47% of users rate the bank as excellent citing 'great service' and a 'brilliant autosaving' feature.

31% of users rate Tandem as bad with users claiming 'bad support'. It is worth noting that a lot of the negative reviews are related to problems with Tandem's credit cards which it no longer offers.

Conclusion

Pros of Tandem Bank

  • Free
  • Easy to set up
  • Keeps track of spending
  • FSCS protected
  • Chat to customer services 8am-6pm 7 days a week

Cons of Tandem Bank

    • The only way to access it is via an app on your mobile
    • Hard to navigate website
    • Unable to increase credit limit (despite claiming the journey credit card limit is reviewed)
    • Only offers fixed savings accounts and basic auto-saving features

 

Overall, Tandem's appeal has diminished since it no longer offers credit cards to customers. Tandem stated that 'after a lot of customer research and discussion, we’ve made the decision to discontinue our credit card offerings, inclusive of Tandem Membership, and refocus our attention on building the best savings products for our customers to help them with their goals.'

Tandem says it is currently working on something new and hopes to reintroduce a spend feature at a later date. For now, the Tandem savings accounts offer competitive rates (although not market-leading) and your money is protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Tandem will no-doubt be a good fit for some but I found the lack of clarity on its website frustrating and the recent run of poor reviews gave me cause for concern. For now, there is a little way to go to rival other app-only banks and savings apps such as Starling Bank, Monzo, Chip and Plum.

 

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