Tandem Journey Credit Card

By: Ian Webb | Updated: 13th September, 2019.

Great for: Building credit and travelling
4 stars question mark

It can be tough to find a great card offer when you’re building or re-building your credit. The Tandem Journey Credit Card may be worth a look, as it offers more than most. For starters, the APR on the Journey card is very attractive compared to the competition. There’s no annual fee on the card, and, even better, you’ll pay no extra fees on foreign spending if you travel. And, of course, responsible use of the card could lead to improvements in your credit score.

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CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Potential to build credit over time
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Annual purchase rate (variable) 24.9%
Representative APR (variable) 24.9%
Based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200

You may be offered a different credit limit or APR to that shown here as it depends on your individual circumstances. Subject to eligibility and credit assessment.

what we like

  • Potential to build credit over time
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    24.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 1/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 1/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Potential to build credit over time
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Annual purchase rate (variable) 24.9%
Representative APR (variable) 24.9%
Based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200

You may be offered a different credit limit or APR to that shown here as it depends on your individual circumstances. Subject to eligibility and credit assessment.

BOTTOM LINE

The Tandem Journey Credit card could be a great card to get you started and help build your credit rating, especially if you have limited credit history (first time credit card user) or just moved to this country (I’ve personally experienced the joy of this process!). This card has a very competitive APR, can be used at home and abroad with no additional fees, and has access to an app aimed at helping manage your credit card and bills. All of which could help you save money and demonstrate good borrowing behaviour.

Credit Rating Requirement: Poor/No Credit

What I like about the Tandem Journey Card

It seems to me that Tandem realizes that we all have to start our credit journey somewhere and so they may be willing to give users with poor or no credit history a chance to build their credit rating. Let’s take a look at what Tandem has to offer.

  • Manageable credit limits – If you’re approved, Tandem may offer you a minimum £150 limit to get you started and potentially more depending on your credit history and income level. You’ll still go through a credit history check, but this is a great chance for you to show that you can manage a credit card and pay the balance off at the end of each month.
  • For credit card users with limited history – The T&C’s do state that you need to have had an address in the UK for three years, but for those moving countries, in my experience, some institutions may waive this if you can show that you have secure employment and a good salary. My experience is that some lenders will give you a small credit balance to begin with and after three to six months of showing good credit behaviour, may increase the balance. It may be worth calling Tandem first, to seek clarification as to how they handle new arrivals.
  • Competitive APR – The minimum interest rate charge is quite a competitive rate when compared to similar cards. Paying the balance off each month not only allows you to avoid incurring interest charges and saves you money, it could also help build your credit rating sooner. If you end up with a higher APR than the representative APR, you can ask Tandem for a lower rate once you have established good credit behaviour.
  • Could help you to stay in control of your money – Tandem is aiming to rethink and recreate banking. As part of that, they have created an app that helps you manage your credit card and money. The app can keep track of your monthly spending, show you how much money you have spent, and where it has gone. It alerts you when a bill or payment comes in and, more importantly, if your bill has increased it will let you know, so you’re not caught by surprise.
  • No additional fees on overseas purchases – This is a great bonus for card holders. Most cards charge extra when you use your card overseas. The Tandem card doesn’t. There are no extra transaction fees on top of the standard Mastercard exchange rate on overseas purchases. And, unbelievably, no charge on cash withdrawals when you are overseas (that really is unbelievable!). But interest will be charged from the date of the withdrawal.
  • Additional information – You must be at least 18 years old to receive the card, have a UK address for the past three years (as mentioned above) and earn a minimum of £6,000 per year. Of course, the better your previous credit history is, the better the terms you’ll receive, but at least they are willing to give newbies a chance. There is even protection on all purchases over £100, in case something goes unexpectedly wrong and protection against fraudulent activity when at home, online or abroad (conditions do apply).

Why trust me

For 15 years, I taught both primary and secondary students. One thing that always stood out to me was that we do not teach financial literacy in schools, despite the fact that students nearly always lack knowledge in this critical subject. I have always had a keen interest in personal finance, debt management and wealth creation, so I decided to make a career change and become a financial planner/educator with the aim to provide sound, independent financial education. I moved to the UK three years ago, so I know personally what it is like to begin my credit history all over again, since financial institutions don’t take into account your overseas history. My commitment to you is to give you up to date, “no BS” information that will help you decide what is best for you.

What could be improved

The Tandem Journey card is a card aimed at people with limited or no credit history. It doesn’t offer any balance transfer or other introductory offers and there are strict penalties if you miss your minimum repayments.

  • Potentially high APR – The representative APR is the APR that at least 51% of applicants will receive, but take note, applicants with particularly poor credit may get an offer with a higher rate. This is pretty standard for people they deem as high-risk users, but in exchange for accepting the higher rate Tandem offers those with less-stellar credit histories the chance to improve their credit rating. If you believe that you can stick to the repayments and stay within your credit limit, the high APR shouldn’t be an issue. Remember to ask for a lower interest rate after three to six months of demonstrating that you are a reliable customer.
  • Penalty fees – Tandem also has some fees and charges if you ‘misbehave’. If you are late for a monthly repayment, you will be slugged a £12 fee and you’ll get a similar £12 ding if one of your direct debits is returned. If you withdraw cash in the UK, you will also be hit with a £2.50 or 2.50% fee (whichever is higher). As with any credit card, these fees can be avoided if you regularly check your statements, read the one-page Tandem summary statement, and budget accordingly. I like to call these a voluntary tax – as very often, you volunteer to pay them. Gambling transactions on this card are treated like a cash withdrawal and will also incur the £2.50 or 2.50% fee. Surprisingly there are no overlimit fees, but as a user who is looking to improve their credit rating, going over the limit is most likely not the best way to impress the institution.
  • No introductory offers – The card has no additional benefits. There are no rewards points or balance transfers. This does allow the user to focus on good borrowing behaviour, but it does make it less enticing.

How does the Tandem Journey Credit Card offer stack up?

The Tandem Journey Card is designed as a credit builder/rebuilder card for those with a tarnished credit history or no credit history at all. So don’t bother comparing this card to cards aimed at people with good credit records. However, when you put this Tandem card up against similar cards, it stands up quite nicely. The representative APR is among the lowest in this segment of the market and like most competitors there’s no annual fee to pay here. If you travel, this card could be an especially good choice, as the card doesn’t charge any fees on non-sterling transactions. That’s a benefit that you don’t often see on top-notch cards, let alone ones in this category.

The Tandem Journey Card Credit Score

If you are a customer with limited credit history, don’t despair. Tandem may still give you a chance. You may be charged a higher interest rate and only given a relatively low credit limit, but it’s a start. Once you prove yourself a worthy credit risk and get a better credit rating, you can ask for a higher limit and/or a lower interest rate, or pay it off and seek a better deal somewhere else with your newfound credit rating.

How to apply

To start your Tandem journey (pun intended), you apply online which takes about ten minutes. You’ll need your home addresses for the last three years, details of your monthly income and your mobile phone number. Tandem will conduct a credit history check through the agency Experian to assess your suitability and what credit limit and interest rate should apply.

Is the Tandem Journey Credit Card right for you?

The Tandem Journey Credit card could be a good way for those with limited credit history to get started. For those approved, the Tandem card gives users a chance to build their credit scores and potentially move to a lower rate card such as the Tandem Cashback Card. If you are a person just starting their credit journey, I think the Tandem Journey Card is worth a look.

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