With so many digital banks on the market, it can be difficult to choose which is the right one for you. And when you hear that the Tandem bank account isn’t actually a current account, you may think it’s not even worth considering. But the savings rates on offer might help you to change your mind.
For many years, the banking sector seemed to be dominated by a few large banks. And that wasn’t great for the consumer as it meant they were never inclined to give us good value for money or great service. But in more recent times, we have seen challenger banks come to the market and they have helped to shake things up.
Not only have these new banks come with more competitive rates, but they often offer a better mobile banking experience compared to traditional banks. And as more of us are moving away from computers, a decent mobile app is essential.
Today, we’re going to take a look at Tandem Bank, to see what this new account brings to the table.
What is Tandem Bank?
Instead of offering a current account and debit card, Tandem focuses on savings products, mortgages, and loans through its banking partner Oplo. Tandem sells itself as a fairer, greener digital bank.
Tandem Bank is owned by Tandem Money and was founded by Ricky Knox, Matt Cooper and Michael Kent in 2013. In 2018 Tandem, acquired Harrods Bank, which gave them a banking licence and full bank status. Tandem is a British company registered to an address in London.
Is my money safe with Tandem?
Tandem Bank is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). That means that if something should happen to Tandem, you are covered by the UK government for up to £85,000.
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Is the Tandem app safe?
Tandem uses security features such as bank-grade encryption to keep your account safe.
Is Tandem free to use?
There are no monthly fees attached to using the Tandem app.
First of all, we need to be clear that Tandem has changed a fair amount over the last few years and there aren’t as many features on offer. Some of the features removed include:
Initially, through the convenience of open banking, you could link your current accounts to Tandem which was a great way to keep track of your spending. There was a round up feature, which would transfer your spare change from your main current account over to Tandem and place it into your chosen savings accounts. But this option was removed a couple of years ago.
Tandem cashback credit card
Tandem’s credit cards were also a feature that should have appealed to many. You could earn cashback when spending and you received good exchange rates when using abroad. But the Tandem credit card was closed in February 2021.
So, what’s left?
Instant access account
If you want to earn interest on your savings over the short term and need easy access, Tandem’s instant account pays a fairly decent 3.40% interest, far above many of its rivals.
The fixed-rate saver allows you to put money away for a fixed term of between 1-5 years. The advantage is that you will earn more interest compared to a current account or most cash ISA’s. However, that money is there for that period and you cannot withdraw it.
The minimum you can deposit is £1,000 and the most is £2,500,000. As you can see, the rates are quite competitive when compared to a high-street bank.
Tandem offers bespoke, high-value mortgages for UK residents, expats and foreign nationals in the UK & abroad. The minimum amount you can borrow is £500,000 and the maximum limit is £5m. You will need to contact Tandem directly through the email address listed on their site for their latest rates.
If you take out a new second-charge mortgage, you could get a reduced rate of up to 0.5% based on the EPC rating of the property.
Through Tandem’s partner Oplo, you can apply for an unsecured loan. But with rates of 31.6% APR and an acceptance fee of almost £400, you can usually find better deals elsewhere.
If you would prefer, you can apply for a secured loan. The rates are lower, but you should always think carefully before securing any loan against your home.
What other people think
Trustpilot for Tandem Bank reviews shows that customers are generally happy with their experience using the app, scoring a great 4 out of 5. However, over a quarter of customers scored Tandem 1 out of 5. Many of the complaints are about difficulties in transferring products and poor customer service.
My Tandem Bank review conclusion
In all honesty, the Tandem account is now a little limited. It’s a real shame because the credit card and round up features were incredibly useful. I can only assume they were dropped because they were too expensive for Tandem to run.
And to say that the rates on offer underwhelm me if you take out a loan is a little bit of an understatement. If you have a decent credit score, I’m sure you can get better deals elsewhere.
But fortunately, all is not lost. There’s no doubt that the Tandem savings account rates are very competitive. In fact, you won’t find many other banks that can beat or even match the interest rates on offer.
So, if you’re looking for a cash savings account through online banking, then Tandem really is an account worth considering.
If my Tandem review has you interested in finance apps, why not take a look at my review of the best budgeting and personal finance apps.