Tandem Bank review

10 min Read Published: 30 Sep 2021

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this Tandem was in the process of applying for its UK banking licence but it had to voluntarily return it after funding was revoked by Chinese company The Sanpower Group (former owners of the department store House of Fraser).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 was previously best known for its innovative savings features where it used artificial intelligence to analyse your spending habits and suggest an amount for you to save. Users could also save money using its handy round-ups feature, however, in January 2021, Tandem announced that it was stopping its autosaving features to concentrate on other projects including a focus on 'green banking'.

Currently, Tandem offers 1, 2 and 3 year fixed savings accounts, as well as an Instant Access account.

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 and earn up to 1.41% AER
  • Instant Access Saver - Earn up to 0.55% AER
  • Tandem Mortgages - Buy-To-Let or Residential + Foreign Income mortgages from £500k - £5m
  • FSCS protection - your money is protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to £85,000

Tandem Instant Access savings account

Tandem offers an easy access savings account and savers can earn 0.55% 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 to Tandem's automatic saving features.

Tandem account features:

  • Your money is protected up to £85,000 with FSCS
  • 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 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 1.15%
2 years £1,000 £2,500,000 1.41%
3 years £1,000 £2,500,000 1.41%

 

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 is 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 some of its competitors. Tandem recently closed its autosaving features to focus on greener banking and its savings accounts so if you are looking for money management features in a digital bank then you may wish to look at the apps in the following comparison table. More information about the apps can be found in our reviews:

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

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

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 3.1 out of 5.0 stars on Trustpilot from over 1,000 reviews. 44% of users rate the bank as 'Excellent' citing 'great service' and a 'good company ethos'.

34% of users rate Tandem as 'Bad' with users claiming 'bad support'. Some users also express dissatisfaction with the bank relating to lost transactions and problems with ID verification. It is worth noting that a portion of the negative reviews are related to problems with Tandem's credit cards which it no longer offers.

Pros and cons of Tandem Bank

Pros of Tandem Bank

  • Free
  • Easy to set up
  • Committed to green banking and helping customers reduce their carbon footprint
  • FSCS protected
  • Chat to customer services 8am-6pm Mon - Fri

Cons of Tandem Bank

  • The only way to access it is via an app on your mobile
  • Hard to navigate website
  • Only offers fixed and instant savings accounts

Summary

Overall, Tandem's appeal has diminished since it no longer offers credit cards or autosaving features to customers. 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.