Tandem Journey Card: a credit builder card for your holiday

Tandem Journey Card: a credit builder card for your holiday

Targeted at people with a limited credit history, the new card offers fee-free spending AND cash withdrawals abroad.

Sam Richardson

Banking and Borrowing

Sam Richardson
Updated on 16 October 2018

For a long time, travel credit cards and credit builder credit cards were on opposite ends of a spectrum.

The right credit card could save you a fortune when travelling, but you needed a good credit history – or at least some credit history – to get one.

Tandem’s Journey Card is a new credit builder that also charges no fees on foreign spending.

It’s also just one of five credit cards in the UK that offer no fees on overseas cash withdrawals – a huge advantage in those parts of the world which still rely on cash.

It has an APR of 24.9% – although customers could be offered up to 39.9% – and a minimum credit limit of £150.

To get it, you’ll need three years’ address history in the UK and an income of £6,000.

But does Tandem’s Journey Card really offer the best of both worlds?

Paying for a holiday? Use your credit card

Is it the best credit builder card?

In general, credit builder cards don’t have many perks: the idea being that you use them for a year, regularly pay them off, improve your credit rating and move onto something better.

Other than Tandem’s Journey Card, the only other credit builder card to offer free foreign spending is Aqua’s Reward Card and 118 118 Money’s surprisingly pricey credit card.

And, providing you get the advertised 24.9% interest rate, Tandem’s card has a lower interest rate than most of its immediate competitors.

That’s still considerable, however, so you should definitely ensure you pay off your balance every month.

If you are already in debt or need time to pay off a big purchase, you should instead opt for a credit builder card with balance transfer or interest-free purchase capabilities.

Compare credit builder cards on loveMONEY’s comparison site

Is it the best card for travelling?

As mentioned, Tandem’s Journey Card is one of only five credit cards to offer fee-free cash withdrawals.

Some of these other cards have added benefits, however. Tandem’s own Cashback Credit Card is also fee-free whilst paying you 0.5% cashback on all spending.

Creation’s Everyday Mastercard has a far lower interest rate: 12.8% compared to the Tandem Journey Card’s 24.9%.

Alternately, Barclaycard’s Platinum Travel Visa doesn’t charge immediate interest on cash withdrawals (see below for why this saves you money).

Even if your credit history is limited, it’s worth looking at these cards and using a soft credit check to see if you’d be likely to get one, without risking your credit rating.

Read more about the top travel credit cards here

Should you withdraw cash abroad?

Being able to withdraw cash abroad without fees is a big benefit of Tandem’s Journey Card.

Usually, we’d advise against withdrawing cash on your credit card as it appears on your credit report.

However, given how much you could save in fees with the right travel credit card, withdrawing cash abroad is OK, providing you’re not planning to apply for another line of credit in the immediate future.

Keep in mind that you're charged interest as soon as you make a withdrawal – not the end of the month – so consider paying off your balance early. If you get Tandem’s higher rate, 39.9%, those interest charges could rack up especially fast.

A better solution could be a fee-free debit card, by getting a bank account from the likes of Starling Bank or Monzo. You can find out more about the best bank accounts for holidaymakers here.

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