Here we look at Tandem Bank – a fully-regulated digital bank that connects to your existing current account and offers a range of ‘greener’ finance options.
Founded in 2014 as a digital challenger bank to compete with the likes of Starling and Monzo, Tandem is now focused on building “the UK’s greener digital bank”, helping people to save, borrow and spend a little bit greener. Although it is a fully-regulated bank (having acquired Harrods Bank in 2017), Tandem doesn’t offer its own current account.
Instead, it offers a range of finance options – including savings accounts, loans for greener home improvements and mortgages – that are designed to work in ‘tandem’ with people’s lives. It has also recently launched the Tandem marketplace to provide information on how to make homes greener and reduce energy bills.
Tandem’s Instant Access Saver account currently has a very competitive (variable) interest rate of 2.55 per cent AER*. If you’re willing to lock your money away for a year, you could make an even better return with a one year fixed rate deal paying 4.0 per cent AER. The rate goes up further to 4.2 per cent AER for two years fixed and 4.30 per cent AER for three years.+
In January 2022, Tandem bought consumer lending firm Oplo and launched an ‘EPC discount’ on second charge mortgages for new customers with an EPC (energy performance certificate) rating of A, B or C.
It also bought green loans company Allium Lending Group in 2020, enabling it to provide loans to help reduce the carbon footprint of your home.
The Tandem app is as simple to use as it gets, with no fancy graphics or unnecessary extra features.
Signing up is quick and easy, you just fill in a few personal details and can give Tandem permission to link to your current account using Open Banking. This enables you to make payments into your savings account directly through the app.
Tandem offers support on instant chat, email or by phone, with lines open Monday to Friday in office hours. It has a 4.3 rating on TrustPilot, with users commenting on its good customer service.
Is it safe?
Yes. Tandem Bank is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), meaning you are covered for up to £85,000 if it was to go bust.
Tandem says it is committed to becoming the UK’s greener digital bank, enabling its customers “to understand and reduce the environmental impact of their finances and help to create a more sustainable planet.”
The bank says that by using its savings accounts, you’re supporting everyday people across the UK in a variety of ways, from helping them buy a house or car to making their homes that little bit greener.
Tandem guarantees that your savings are never used to fund fossil fuel extraction and production or similar destructive industries. Instead, money held in Tandem savings accounts is used solely to fund its lending products. Its home improvement loans finance energy-efficient improvements such as solar panels and air source heat pumps, saving people money on energy bills while also helping to save the planet. Tandem’s EPC mortgages reward customers who own energy-efficient homes.
With Tandem’s new Marketplace, you can learn about greener living with tips, advice and tools to help you live more sustainably and reduce your energy bills. The Marketplace also links you to Tandem’s network of “greener” home improvement partners.
Tandem runs a variety of environmentally-friendly initiatives across its business – the company has planted more than 40,000 trees in the UK and its Blackpool Head Office has an EPC rating of ‘A’.
Unique selling points
- Competitive savings accounts. Tandem’s savings accounts offer very competitive interest rates.
- Helps consumers make greener financial choices. Tandem is on a mission to help its customers save, spend and borrow more sustainably.
The plus points
- Compatible with most banks. You can connect most bank accounts (including many challenger ones) to Tandem.
- Simple design. The simple layout makes Tandem easy to use, making it suitable for those who aren’t used to banking online.
- Quick set-up. Download the app and get going in just a few minutes.
- No current account. While Tandem can look at and analyse your current accounts from other banks (and enables you to transfer money into your savings through the app), it does not offer one itself.
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* AER stands for Annual Equivalent Rate and illustrates what the interest rate would be if interest was paid and compounded each year. This allows you to compare easily what return you can expect from your savings over time.
+ Rates are as per 20 Jan 2023, and are subject to change
This article is in partnership with Tandem Bank