Tandem seem to be changing their minds lately. First, they introduced a £5.99 monthly fee for its cashback credit card, and then later, in the same year, they scrapped the credit card altogether. This of course didn’t impress their customers.
We decided to have another look at this rather popular UK challenger bank in our Tandem review. But first, here’s our short verdict:
Tandem bank has doubled down on its offering outside credit cards and are on a mission to become “the good green bank” by offering green loans. Apart from that, you’ll still need a current account elsewhere, as Tandem only offers savings accounts.
About Tandem Bank
Tandem was founded in 2015 by Matt Cooper, Michael Kent, and Ricky Knox, who, until recently, was serving as CEO. He was replaced by former Credit Suisse executive Susie Aliker.
They acquired a banking licence by purchasing the Harrods Bank in 2018. The deal also brought them Harrods’ customers and £80 in capital. But also, £375 million mortgage book and over £400 million of deposits!
Harrods Bank, which was founded way back in 1893, provided for high-net-worth people and operated from the Harrods store in Knightsbridge, London.
Why is Tandem so special?
Tandem didn’t have just three co-founders, they had 11,000 of them. They acquired a banking licence as early as 2015 but had to give it up after the UK retail chain House of Fraser withdrew its planned £35 million investment.
That meant that the existing investors had to invest £3.6 million emergency cash into Tandem (in return for a hefty discount for Tandem’s shares).
In 2019, the company announced their plan to expand worldwide, starting with Hong Kong. The announcement follows from the earlier $15 million investment by Convoy Global, a Hong Kong-based financial adviser. At this time, you could still only join a waitlist.
The challenger bank was also offering popular credit cards but decided to pull them from the market after “consulting with their users”. Ricky Knox, Tandem’s chief executive, told Sifted that the decision has come as Tandem’s credit card product proved too costly, despite introducing a fee earlier that year.
According to the latest reporting, as of February 2020, Tandem Bank had approximately 800 thousand customers.
Pros and cons
- Autosave function
- Green loans
- Deposits protected up to £85k
- Open banking platform
- No more credit cards
- No current account
- Poor website with not much information
Who can open a Tandem bank account?
The Tandem account is available to anyone over 18 that already has a current account in another bank and have lived in the UK for at least three years.
The company is making a push for the Hong Kong market as well, but for now, you can only join the waitlist there.
How to open a Tandem account?
Fixed Savers Account
- 0.40% – one year
- 0.45% – two years
- 0.50% – three years
One of the two available savings accounts is the Digital Fixed Savers account. When you open the account, you have 14 days to fund your savings account. And you can make as many payments in that period as you wish. You can transfer the money with an instant transfer from your connected bank account.
After 14 days, you won’t be able to add any more money or withdraw until the time term is finished.
Instant Access Savers Account
You can add and withdraw money at any time with the Instant Access account. The variable interest rate is 0.40% AER and can go up or down at any point in time.
Tandem also notes that by saving money with them, you are supporting their green lending initiatives.
If you’re looking to redo your home to make it more energy-efficient, Tandem has a loan just for you. You can check your home’s energy rating on their website by filling in your postcode.
There’s not much more information about it, to be honest. If you’re interested in obtaining the loan, you’ll have to contact them directly.
One of the services that Tandem is offering are mortgages of up to £5 million. The minimum mortgage is £500,000. You can view rates and download application forms from their website.
How is Tandem Bank regulated?
Tandem got their banking licence when they acquired Harrods Bank in 2018. They did have a licence before that as well but they lost it when they lost their funding.
Who owns Tandem Bank?
Tandem Bank is a British bank based in London, fully owned by Tandem Money. It was founded in 2015 by Matt Cooper, Michael Kent, and Ricky Knox. Its headquarters are in London, England, UK.
The company raised more than $175 million from seven rounds of funding. The last round, in March 2020, brought in £60 million.
It has 12 investors that include Qatar Investment Authority, Convoy Global Holdings, Flourish Ventures, House of Fraser, headline, Digital Space Ventures, and others.
Is my money safe with Tandem Bank?
All your funds are protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Tandem also has all the security features that other digital banks incorporate. Things such as instant notifications, two-factor authentication, and similar, are standard.
Tandem Bank has only a 3.0-star rating out of 5 on Trustpilot, with 45% of 1k reviewers giving it an excellent mark and 34% a bad one. With a 3.0 score, Tandem is placed lower than Monzo (4.5), Starling (4.4), Revolut (4.3), and Suits Me (4.3) for example.
People who disliked their service mention accounts getting blocked with their funds frozen, unresponsive customer service, problems with the app, etc.
You can get in touch with Tandem Bank using the following methods:
- Live Chat on the Tandem app
- Email at email@example.com
- Call at 020 3370 0970
- Write to: 4th Floor, Hogarth House, 136 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6PX
Office hours are from 8 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday (Including bank holidays).
Revolut has become a global player in the neobanking world and has introduced many features that other challenger banks have started copying. While the company has to work out some kinks, it does offer plenty of incentives for you to switch to their slick app.
Monzo is a very popular bank in the UK that offers many banking products like current and savings accounts, as well as loans and overdrafts. The government also insures your deposits for up to £85,000.
Starling is winning award after award in the UK banking sector. It has only one type of personal account, and it is free with no monthly fees. It might not offer all the bells and whistles, but it’s a superb offering and one of the best if not the best bank account in the UK, period.
We recently made a comprehensive review of Wise and its low money-transferring fees and the ability to hold, receive and send money in more than 55 currencies. It’s great for travelling and for transferring money in multiple currencies and countries.
The bottom line
In such a competitive market, Tandem really has to up its game and add more features to its portfolio and not continue to take features out of the app. Its discontinuation of credit cards did not sit well with customers and has left a sour taste in the mouth for many which are reflected in users’ reviews.
Hopefully, the decision-makers will stay focused for a while now and stop pivoting.
Adrian Volenik is a fintech enthusiast who loves testing and reviewing digital banking apps and financial products in general. How many digital banking accounts can one man have? Not enough, if you ask Adrian. As his wallet will soon explode if he doesn’t cut back on the number of cards.