How many credit cards are you carrying around all day long? Too many? Exactly. And that’s where the UK startup Curve comes into play. From now on you will only need to bring your Curve MasterCard with you. This card will combine all your other credit cards. Use it to pay for a flight or the bill at the restaurant and pick which one of your cards should be debited. This choice can be made via Curve’s app anytime – even after you’ve paid for something.
Curve is available in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom
If your card-issuing bank is currently asking for fees when paying or withdrawing money in foreign currencies, Curve can even help you to reduce these cost. Or maybe let them disappear completely. Instead of charging international service fees of 2%, Curve will waive these charges for amounts up to £500 per 30-day period. Cash withdrawals are free as long as they don’t exceed £200 per months.
Tip: receive £5 after your first transaction. Just use the code UUXRG during the registration process to get this welcome bonus. Travel-Dealz will receive £5 as well.
What Happened So Far
Curve has been on the market for quite some time now. Forst, the company, promised to support all major credit cards, including American Express. This, of course, has been a big announcement. And many people were hoping to extend the acceptance of their cards drastically. But unfortunately, this turned out to be a burst bubble. As of now, Curve can only support Visa and Mastercard. The company was also not able to stick to their very ambitious time plan. Customers had to wait patiently for their physical card to arrive.
At first, Curve only issued Commercial Cards, since they can charge higher fees fro those. But luckily those times are over. Also, private customers will receive their card, and most teething troubles have been solved.
Even if the range of benefits has been reduced, Curve still offers some nice perks to its customers:
- One card to rule them all: Once you’re using your Curve card, you can leave all your other cards at home. Use the app to chose which of your cards should be debited.
- It’s free: The Curve Blue card is ultimately free of charge. Currently, you won’t pay a membership fee for signing up with their service. You can also opt for the Curve Black or Metal card. The cost of £9,99/€9,99 is justified by higher fee-free withdrawal limits and travel as well as electronic gadget insurance.
- Fee-free cash withdrawals: you can get up to £200 from any ATM without paying fees for the transaction – within the borders of Curve’s fair use policy. If you exceed this limit, Curve will charge the higher of 2% of the amount or £2. While Curve didn’t forward the so-called merchant categorie code before, this identifier is no correctly transmitted to your card issuing bank. Therefore you could run into fees on the card you are actually using sooner or later. But according to most reports, this isn’t the case yet.
- No international service fees: Most credit cards will impose fees if you pay for products in a foreign currency. Not if you use Curve. Bevor, the company, actually debits your other credit card, they will exchange the foreign currency into your local one. An example: you live in Spain but pay for your New York steak dinner in US-Dolar. Curve will do the exchange and debit your Spanish credit card in Euros. Up to £500 per 30-day period are free. After that, you’ll have to pay 2% on the amount paid.
- Contactless payment: in case your current credit card doesn’t include the function to use NFC Curve is a great solution to get your plastic up-to-date.
- Useful app: The backbone of Curve is the app for Android and iOS. That’S where you can select the credit card that should be debited. But you can also check all your transactions, export them, or assign them to various categories. And there are push notifications for every purchase.
- Go Back in Time: Things like this can happen. You selected one card for the payment but later on realize that another one would have been better. No worries. Curve will let you use their financial time machine and change your decision. The amount will be credited to the card you initially selected, and the correct one will be debited.
- Rewards program: Curve offers to get you back 1% of all the money you’ve spent on 3 retailers of your choice. Since the list of retailers is limited to UK based merchants, this is a benefit that most EU citizens won’t be too interested in.
Before we continue and point out the points that might keep you from using Curve, we’d like to show you some unboxing pictures.
You’ll have a hard time finding a product that only offers benefits. And the same goes for Curve. There are some points that we’d like to highlight since they could be a show-stopper for some of you. But have a close look. Maybe these points may as well be entirely irrelevant for you.
- Curve is your point of contact for refund or complaints: if anything went wrong and you didn’t receive your order, or you’re sure you’ve never been to Rome and order a taxi there, you will have to inform Curbve and not the card issuing bank. But since Curve gives you the option to dispute transactions via their app. this might even be the easier way.
- Limit: Your limit will be a maximum of £2,000 per day and £5,000 in a 30-day period. Within 365 days, you won’t be able to exceed the limit of 10,000. Although these limits could go up to £5,000/day, £15,000/months and £50,000/year, the credit card that is debited might have a much higher limit that you can’t max out when using the Curve Mastercard.
- No Google or Apple Pay: as of now, Curve will not support Google Pay or Apples competitive product. The company seems to be working on it, but no point in time has been officially communicated.
- Startup: what you see now might not be what you’ll get a few months ahead in time. Just like most FinTech startups, Curve is running on millions of venture capital. And sooner or later, the company will have to seek options to increase its profitability. And that might result in fewer benefits or higher fees.
- Brexit: Curve is a UK startup. And no one can tell the future of Great Britain and the European Union. So there is the risk of Curve being forced to stop its service or at least adjust many points to new laws and regulations.
- Mandatory app: Sure, the app is great and all. But it is the only connection to Curve. If the app doesn’t work for whatever reason, there is no other way to change your cards or use other functions.
- International service fees: while the first £500 may be free, 2% of all further transactions can sum up to quite a significant amount. There are some credit cards out there that will waive this fee entirely, no matter how much you pay for. Those could be a better option if you’re planning on using the card more frequently for transactions in a foreign currency.
- Intransparent exchange rate: Curve uses a service provider to set the exchange rate.
- Surcharge on exchange rate on weekends: Curve will add a fee between 0,5% and 1,5% on all transactions that accrue on weekends to be safe in case of currency deviation.
- No support for American Express: while Curve has been offering a solution for this problem for a while, currently there is no way to add an American Express credit card to your curve account. But they are still trying to find a way, so this could soon be water under the bridge.
Be aware of dynamic currency conversion!
When using your Curve Mastercard, you will often encounter situations where you’ll have to deice if you want to convert the amount you’re paying for into your local currency. Since you are using the Curve card, the terminal that you are using to pay or withdraw cash will always recognize the card as a GBP card. Now, if you’d opt for your local currency, you will risk getting a poor exchange rate. But you could also run into international service fees since Curve will exchange the amount back to Euros.
What is happening here is called Dynamic Currency Conversion and is becoming more and more popular. You’re probably just not aware of what is happening if you’re paying in Euros or your local currency most of the time. Especially when shopping online, you should be mindful of this approach. Amazon, Ryanair, or Airbnb are just a few examples of big companies using this trick to make money. PayPal even activates this currency conversion automatically for all credit cards in your wallet. Check out our article to see how you can avoid this:
Not everyone will need Curve. If you only own one credit card and that’s the one you use for everything, and you’re happy with it – no use in adding another card that won’t get you unique benefits. But if you’re using several cards, maybe even subdivided into business and leisure, Curve could send you wallet on a real diet.
If you think that you could benefit from a Curve Mastercard, we’d be happy to see you using our promotion code UUXRG when signing up. Both, you and Travel-Dealz will receive a £5 bonus.