Supercard announces full launch in the Summer – how does it compare with Curve?

Supercard, the Travelex-backed foreign currency payment card, has emailed its beta users (a large % of whom were recruited via Head for Points) to say that the scheme is finally going to open up to the public.

(EDIT:  the new Supercard is now available, you can download the app here.)

I was expecting some sort of announcement from Supercard after the Curve launch.  I am a little surprised by the timing though.

All existing Supercards will stop working on 6th June.  Beta testers and other people who have an expressed an interest will be invited to reapply for a new card later in the Summer – no date given.


I covered Supercard a lot last year.  I have been very quiet about it since, as the beta was not accepting new users, so it is worth a recap of the product.

Like Curve, Supercard is a plastic credit-type card which does not have a credit limit of its own.  Instead, any transaction you make with the Supercard is recharged to a different Visa or MasterCard you own.  There is an app to manage your linked cards and transactions.

This sounds very similar to the Curve card which I wrote about last month and which is due to ship to the first 10,000 users later in March.

Curve prepaid MasterCard

The two products are different in some key ways:

Curve has a one-off £35 fee for the basic version, offset by a £10 credit on your first transaction if you are referred by an existing cardholder, whilst Supercard is free.  Curve will have a loyalty programme for users but there are no details yet.

Curve can recharge any MasterCard transaction to an American Express, Visa or MasterCard.  Supercard can only recharge to a Visa or MasterCard.  This means that Curve is the only option if you want to bulk up your Amex spend at non-Amex retailers.

Curve has a 1% fee when used outside the UK.   Supercard has no foreign exchange fee.

Curve can be used in the UK.  It can even be used to withdraw cash from UK ATMs and recharge the withdrawal as a purchase to your American Express card.  Supercard is not meant to be used in the UK.  During the beta process people have been doing it – and Supercard has not, I believe, been imposing the threatened 50p per transaction fine – but I would expect this rule to be applied more firmly when the full roll-out takes place.

The lines are now clearly drawn:

Supercard will be the preferred option for people who want no card fee and want to avoid all foreign exchange fees when spending abroad

Curve will be the preferred option for people who are concerned about reward points (the 1% is likely to be worth paying in return for the rewards offered on a linked Amex card), who need to build up spend on their Amex card to hit a bonus or spend target or who do a lot of UK spending at merchants who do not take American Express.

Of course, as there is likely to be a five month gap between Curve shipping (late March) and Supercard shipping (probably August, after your Summer holiday), you need to factor that in as well.

You can find full details on Curve – and my £10 referral code – in this HFP article from last month.  You can more information on Supercard in this article.

If you want to pre-register interest for Supercard, you can do so here.

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  1. Colin JE says:

    I’m a bit confused as to whether the Curve card is classified as debit or credit card?
    Your previous article discussed the enhanced interchange fee that Curve, as a business credit card, can still get from retailers. But you also mention that it might avoid paying the £5 fee at BA, which I thought only applied to debit cards. How so, if it’s a credit card, charging the retailer a credit card fee?
    Very interested, as I would pay my tax and VAT using the Curve if it was a debit card!

  2. Colin MacKinnon says:

    OT question:

    My wife has 20,000 in cash euros (and the paperwork to show they came legit from Spain!).

    What’s the cheapest way to turn them in GBP and credit a UK account?

    Or does she take an RFS to Spain and pay them back in to her Spanish bank and then use a FX transfer service?

    • I’d imagine FX transfer service possibly the best route however I must say whenever I’ve had foreign cheques I’ve found Metro Bank to offer excellent conversion rates with no fees – not sure what their rates are like for cash.

      • Lady London says:

        IME Metro Bank is good for Europe but not for the US.

        Beware also there are a couple of wrinkles where a transaction in Euros may still be charged – such as if a US bank sends you Euros. They actually do not do their own clearing and some other things – they tell me these are done by Barclays for them. Thus if a US bank sends you Euros – you will get charged. You won’t just receive your money at the interbank rate. Their t’s and c’s do not advise this. The humungous number of calls I had to make to them over a period of months trying to sort out 2 business transactions which fell into this category was the beginning of my readiness to contemplate using another bank.

        • Ah OK, interesting. In my case I had a USD cheque and saved about £65 or so by paying it into them rather than RBS, so was pretty happy :)

    • Citibank lets you run dual currency current accounts and you can switch money between £ and Euro online, presumably at a decent rate.

      • Though I found citi FX rates to be 2% worse than midmarket rates, at east smaller online transactions.

      • You could presumably pay the cash into a Citi EUR account then use an FX transfer service to move the money to any normal GBP account at a better rate than Citi offers themselves.

        • sandgrounder says:

          Citi used to be a lot better than it is today. For example, if I go to the site now and try to transfer £100 to my Euro account I am offered 124.34 Euro. Compare this to 128.14 on as I write.

          You used to be able to transfer sterling using faster payments into the currency accounts and it was converted with no fees (although this was against the Ts&Cs). Sadly, this loophole was closed a while ago. The accounts are still useful because you can hold USD and Euro and they have no fees, and as David suggests you can use a third party to make the transfers. I receive a rent from a property in the Eurozone, and my tenants can send a SEPA payment for free. Citi will also allow you to send SEPA for free. They do not charge ATM fees to use your debit card abroad when linked to the correct currency account, and you can have a USD chequebook which clears through New York, handy for sending birthday presents to US-based young relatives. These new super-dooper linked ‘cash-as-purchase’ cards win for me though, due to the obvious reward-earning potential.

  3. Hi Rob,
    Signed up for the curve creditcard using your link and now see on my amex card a lot of £1 transactions underthe namewirecars? Is the normal? I went for the 75 premium together with the tumi wallet?


  4. sandgrounder says:

    Everyone should get a Revolut card, even if they don’t want to use it often. It adds an option for fee-free cash abroad (as a back up maybe), and, if you find the £5 bonus for a £10 top-up code, you get a free fiver for very little hassle!.

  5. OT – AMEX Plat referral. Could someone confirm whether having the supplementary Plat card on someone else’s Amex Plat excludes you from getting a bonus if taking a new card out as the main card holder. Many thanks

  6. Genghis says:

    And this is newsworthy because?

  7. Perhaps Stan has missed the £50 option lol

  8. Hi
    I applied for the curve card about a month ago when it was first up on hfp everything seemed fine but have not seen nothing of the card as of yet? Is this normal?

  9. RIccati says:

    Curve rep confirmed to me,

    If you have a USD denominated card AMEX, say, then you can charge purchases in third countries to it. For example, charging a transaction in IDR to a USD card.

    FX rates on USDIDR (Indonesian Rupiah) and USDBLR (Brasilian Real) would be better than GBP cross.

  10. Genghis says:

    Indeed so as to effectively buy avios at 0.42p – a price at which I’m a buyer – but there’s a £50 limit. I never transfer straight to avios as you’re effectively buying avios at 0.95p – a price at which I’m not a buyer as you can pick up avios for much cheaper than that.

  11. My Curve referral code is: pK4vZ is anyone wants £10 off

  12. I’m delighted that Supercard requires users to reapply – as it means that my card will die, without having to phone up their call centre! The list of reasons that I won’t be using Supercard are:

    1) They failure to pick up fraud (when same fraud on another card was prevented)
    2) Their fraud department only works weekdays
    3) You have to phone up and claim any refunds on the card – and when finally transferred, the Fx rate had moved against me
    4) Their Fx rate is approx 1% worse than Halifax Clarity / Lloyds Avios
    5) The card was repeated rejected in shops / ATMs
    6) The description of transactions on statement (of linked card) is useless – have to refer to app
    7) Transaction showed as processed on app – but had *not* actually gone through linked card (hotel pre-authorisation in particular)
    8) The lack of standard credit card protection on purchases (not that I think I’ve ever used it)

    I will be going back to my Lloyds Avios cards for foreign purchases, and my Halifax Clarity card for foreign cash.

  13. tbh I’m extremely glad I never bothered with Supercard.

    For the same reasons, Curve can wait.

    You early adopters/ first movers etc can with my enormous blessings enjoy any glitches in your favour such as (potentially) the cash withdrawals on Curve – but whilst I might be a sad old frat I never believe something is too good to be true – as eg Curve surely won’t be.

  14. sam wardill says:

    Just got a reply on a declined tx as follows:
    “This is with reference to your query regarding the decline of the below mentioned transactions:
    19/01/2016 11:30 GBP -112.31 ATM KB,PLAZA,BN
    19/01/2016 11:29 GBP -97.66 ATM KB,PLAZA,BN
    Please be informed that this is a common error where the terminal has been registered as chip capable, but in fact is not. So, it appears that the merchant has set their payment terminal up incorrectly. As a result, the transaction cannot follow the necessary authentication and so payment declined.”

    I used my Nationwide debit card to withdraw cash straight after. Does a normal debit card not require chip capable atm whereas Supercard does? Or, alternatively, are Supercard talking complete rubbish? I’m tempted to think the latter because I’m sure I successfully used the same ATM before with Supercard.

    • i wouldn’t be surprised if Supercard are talking rubbish … they have contradicted themselves when i’ve communicated with them …

  15. Rodger McPeppery says:

    “Maximum card usage in one year – £20,000”
    Having to set-up a new card in June will at least over come this issue!

  16. Graham Walsh says:

    Yet again Supercard failed me today in Amsterdam, got a cab to my destination and he did it twice and it was declined. Used another card and it worked fine. I even informed my Visa issuer that it is linked to say that I’m travelling, but hey ho. It worked later in the evening to buy some food, but a few minutes later it failed. Tried a 2nd time and it worked. It’s not ready for prime time.

    • Out if interest, which card issuer are you linked to? Mine is on my old bmi Mastercard (therefore via MBNA) and it has been flawless recently – multiple purchases and ATM withdrawals in Poland and the UK all without issue over the past fortnight. I had lots of issues with them when I first signed up but thankfully it’s been well-behaved recently! Am looking forward to the NFC capability on Curve though, along with being able to charge to Amex. Just hope they get a move on with their Android app…

  17. I’ve been holding out to get my Curve card…. Any ideas on when Curve will announce details of their Rewards scheme?
    I’ve no need for a Tumi wallet, so am slightly reluctant to throw away £40 extra for no good reason, although there might be a very good reason to – depending on the scheme.
    Seems VERY odd they haven’t released details prior to the launch!