The Curve card and its new ‘acceptable use’ policy

The Curve card is an innovative new payment card which is currently in beta mode.  I reviewed the Curve card in detail here but, put simply:

branded as a MasterCard, it allows you to recharge transactions to an American Express card – great for places where Amex is not accepted

when used abroad, it only levies a 1% FX fee (compared to 3% on 99% of UK credit and debit cards) and recharges the amount to any linked Amex, Visa or MasterCard

when used in an ATM, it recharges the withdrawal to any linked Amex, Visa or MasterCard and treats that transaction as a purchase for the purpose of earning points and counting towards BA Amex 241 vouchers etc

Curve was launched with a caveat that all transactions would be subject to a ‘fair use’ policy which was undefined.

Curve prepaid MasterCard

A policy on ATM withdrawals has recently appeared on its website:

At Curve we want to be your gateway to everything money giving you more choice and saving you money. However there are certain services which are high risk for Curve and/or expensive for Curve to provide due to third party fees. For these services we have a monthly free usage limit which if passed will result in a small but fair fee to cover costs. This helps keep Curve free to use for the majority of our users.

ATM Withdrawals from credit cards

You can withdrawal up to £200 (or currency equivalent) for free using your American Express or other credit cards per calendar month after which there is a 2% charge. This limit does not apply to ATM debit card withdrawals. Furthermore any behaviour which Curve deems to be “cash recycling” whereby high volumes of cash are taken out of an ATM using a credit card and then used to repay the credit card in order to gain rewards on the funding card or Curve Rewards is not permitted. Such behaviour may result in your Curve account being blocked or cancelled. See Section 6 of Curve Terms and Conditions for further information.

Our platform uses third party systems to identify whether the Funding Source is a debit or credit card. If you believe your card has been incorrectly defined you should contact us at: where you will be required to provide evidence as such in order for your case to be investigated.

ATM domestic withdrawal frequency

ATM usage is free for up to 10 domestic (withdrawals in the same currency as your Funding Source) withdrawals per month after which time you may be charged £0.50 (or currency equivalent) per usage for each additional ATM withdrawal.

It is worth noting that this new policy should not apply to anyone who applied for a Curve card before last Friday.

The Curve terms and conditions state the following:

1.10 Amendments to this Agreement. We may at any time amend, delete or add to this Agreement, including the Fees and other amounts which apply to your Account (as set out in Schedule 1) (a “Change”) by giving notice of such Change by posting a revised version of this Agreement on the Curve website(s). A Change will be made unilaterally by us and you will be deemed to have accepted the Change after you have received notice of it. We will give you 2 months’ notice of any Change with the Change taking effect once the 2 month notice period has passed, except the 2 month notice period will not apply where a Change is required by law or relates to the addition of a new service, extra functionality to the existing Service or any other change which neither reduces your rights nor increases your responsibilities. In such instances, the Change will be made without prior notice to you and shall be effective immediately.

As this is clearly a change in the fees levied, it requires 2 months notice to be given if you applied before Friday.  I have not been charged for a cash withdrawal over the weekend so they appear to be working to this.

Let’s look at where this leaves you with Curve

Under the new rules, you can withdraw – for free – £2,400 per year from an ATM to be recharged to a credit card.  Let’s assume that you use a British Airways Premium Plus American Express.

£2,400 will cover 24% of the £10,000 of spend required each year to trigger your 2-4-1 voucher – that is a meaningful contribution

You will earn 3,600 Avios per year which you would not otherwise earn

You also have the other benefits of the card:

Being able to recharge purchases at establishments which do not accept American Express to an American Express

Being able to make overseas transactions for a 1% foreign exchange fee, compared with 3% charged by almost all other cards.  Even if you have a credit card with 0% foreign exchange fees (Post Office Platinum, Halifax Clarity) you may be better off paying Curve 1% and earning the rewards on the underlying card.

The 2% credit card ATM fee may be worth paying

It may even be worth paying Curve’s 2% fee to make additional ATM withdrawals – whilst being aware of the ‘recycling’ rule.

Again, lets use a British Airways Premium Plus American Express as an example.  Withdraw £100 on Curve and you earn 150 Avios for a £2 fee.  At 1.33p each that is not a great deal, of course.  However, it also moves you £100 closer to your next 2-4-1- voucher.  A lot of people will find an acceptable trade off.

Curve is still a ‘work in progress’ and I doubt we have seen the last of the changes to their model.  Given that the Travelex Supercard will be relaunching at the end of the year – presumably still with 0% FX fees, still allowing overseas transactions to be recharged to a Visa or MasterCard (not an Amex) and still with no annual fee – Curve needs to offer substantially more than Supercard to justify the £35 fee and the 1% FX margin.

Full details of how to apply are in my original article.

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  1. rams1981 says:

    has anyone actually been charged for trying to take out more than £200?

  2. Steve says:

    Has anyone tried using the curve abroad and changing the currency on the linked curve credit card to the country visited?
    I ask this because Curve has said that if the currency spend on the curve card is the same currency as the card currency set on the card then you avoid the 1% fee.
    So this should mean that if I linked the Lloyds Amex and set the currency to USD, then when I spend in the states Curve will not charge me 1% because they will pass on charge in USD to my Lloyds card, this in turn will appear as USD on my Lloyds card which will be converted into GBP but with no fees as they are free on Lloyds Amex.

    Anyone tried that? Or does security kick in and check the address of card and home currency set? If so why then give the option to change after adding it into Curve app?

    Unfortunately I’m not overseas for a while to test.

  3. rams1981 says:

    my points for curve have posted to AMEX, takes a few days. Just did a £2000 online transaction without issue too.

  4. William says:


    What’s your view on using Curve for foreign atm withdrawal v ordering currency here? Fyi, I don’t have the Halifax card but we do have the favourable Nationwide version. It’s going to be for c. $200 US.


    • Genghis says:

      My opinion is that Curve would be pricy: your $200 would cost you +1% + £2 so about £3.39 (or approx 2.4% loading). If using Nationwide which is load fee, use that to get the $200 and take out £200 in the UK pcm to get your points.

      • Yes, if you’ve got a Nationwide card you are 4% down using Curve (£2 on $200 + 1% margin vs 0%) which wouldn’t cover the miles.

        However, I don’t have a credit with no FX fees for ATMs so Curve is perfect.

      • William says:

        Sound advice, thanks. So load $200 eqv to Nationwide and withdraw from atm abroad which will be better than ordering currency I assume?

        • Genghis says:

          It depends on whether your Nationwide card is load free and where you would otherwise buy your currency. At this moment in time, the VISA wholesale USD rate is 1.4441000001 but buying currency from Best Foreign Exchange (where I sometimes buy currency) is 1.4355. The former costing £138.49 for $200, the latter £139.32

    • Mr Dee says:

      In theory you could link your nationwide card as a US currency card and then avoid the 1% in practice I don’t know if this will work with Curve but you would still have the £2 charge for cash withdrawals above £200 a month.

      Supercard isn’t mentioned as much because its not available to new people right at the moment, anyone who has one would find it the best solution in most cases.

      The ‘Best Foreign Exchange’ looks good if you have a branch close by

      • harry says:

        tbh I’m not that bothered about paying 3% but getting 2% back in MR points

        chicken feed

        • harry says:

          We go out to our place in the sun either 4 or 5 times a year. About 12 weeks pa. We own it so no mortgage.

          Bills out there plus local taxes etc (couple of cars, house, insurance, food etc) are not going to be more than about £3-4000 pa.

          We pay most of it through HIFX.

          So we might end up a couple of quid down through not getting Clarity, boo hoo.

          • harry says:

            Which kinda explains why I’ve never been very interested in Supercard or Curve, nothing much in it for us – or for you, possibly.

            Rather amused to see Curve start to deliver less than they promised, always was too good to be true on ATM/ Amex points.

  5. Terence Semmence says:

    Just found out you cannot add an additional cardholder for MBNA BMI Amex. We have two Curve cards and added BMI Amex to one – you can’t then add the additional BMI card to the other Curve card as the BMI card has the same number……..Great…..

  6. Michael says:

    #Rob. Just wondering if you put your flight ticket purchase through curve, do you still get the travel insurance cover from say, Amex Plat/ Amex BA Premium etc?

    • harry says:

      of course not 😉

      ridiculous question

      • harry says:

        serious point though

        you’ll lose all the Amex advantages

        you’ll lose all the section 75 advantages

        the credit cards will disown you :)

        • Michael says:

          Fair Point. Thanks for clarifying. I only asked as quite often fare quoted on some foreign currency OTAs are significantly cheaper than sterling sites (or in case you are positioning, where sterling quoting may not even be unavailable) then you will face the dilemma of paying with Amex+3% or simply go with Lloyds Avios

    • No

  7. Simon Fisher says:

    So far I have failed dismally to use Curve on line! I tried to book tickets for the Titan zip line yesterday it told me the car type was invalid (choice was Visa Debit, Mastercard Debit, Mastercard I had chosen Mastercard. My brothers (normal Mastercard worked fine.) It seems to want a start date (which my card doesn’t have.)

    I also failed to pay for an up and coming cruise with it. The cruise company said it was credit card so had to have an additional 1.5% charge levied.

    Both of these were a bit disappointing as I am chasing mt 2-4-1 voucher and time is running out. Still I suppose a bit of excitement adds to the experience.

    • The_Real_A says:

      It is a prepaid MasterCard. It is NOT a debit card…

      Prepaid mastercards will usually appear as credit cards on merchant sites.

      • Thankfully Supercard still seems to come through as Visa Debit on many systems – avoided card fees when booking using this (linked to my bmi Mastercard) with Easyjet yesterday :)

  8. thesaver79 says:

    I’ve read all the comments, but I’m not unsure about one point. Has it definitely been confirmed that the £200 ATM withdrawal limit is per linked card rather?

  9. Darren says:

    Anyone else having issues where you make some purchases in £’s, e.g at a supermarket, and it show’s on Curve as $’s? I am getting charged an fx fee by Amex!
    Also as someone else mentioned previously pre-authorisation charges are not coming out from pending but going through into recent transactions. Amex can’t really help as all transactions just say Curve!
    I like the idea of Curve as an Amex user, and see a great relationship ahead, but they are definitely making the dating period hard work!!

    • RC_Hammer says:

      When I validated my Amex card initially and entered the credit amount it rejected it. It turned out this was due to Curve thinking the card was US and were billing me in USD. This was a bug that they then later said was fixed. I noticed recently when I added a second card that there was an option to specify the currency, which was set to USD as default. I changed it to UK pounds. I’d check the iPhone app to see if you can change the currency or, if option not available, possibly de-register the card and register again making sure to select the correct currency.

  10. Drolma-la says:

    Here’s a slightly OT question: now that I’ve started to use my shiny new Curve card, when can I expect the £10 credit due for using the Head4Points referral link?

    • Good question. No-one has told me anything, others who have enquired have been told that it will go live with the loyalty programme. Not sure when that is.

      • Waribai says:

        Does that mean they will be backdating referrals? Will they suddenly say “Here you go £x for all the people you referred in the past x months!

  11. rams1981 says:

    I tried to put through £50 online this morning which was rejected and DID not show up in my curve or AMEX as yet. Promising…

    So has anyone yet been charged for taking out more than £200 at an ATM?

  12. What is the card actually made of? Plastic?

  13. Is it me or have all of the comments on this page disappeared?

  14. Darren says:

    Double check your Amex online. I have had all my transactions from the 9th put through again yesterday! This is really a check, check, check period with Curve. Shame they never answer emails!

    • rams1981 says:

      so you’ve been charged twice? Did you put the transactions through twice?

      • rams1981 says:

        just checked and my transactions from 9th have been duplicated also! Who has had this issue resolved by them before?

    • Duplicate transactions here too, all 4 various ones that I made by various means.

  15. Used it for the first time an hour ago. Underlying Amex transaction shows “Wirecard” and the value. Will the actual purchase appear? Paypal manage to put merchant on my Amex transactions… Hmmm.

    Will also watch for being charged twice.


  16. rams1981 says:

    they replied to my emails… and have since sent out a broader communication saying it’s been looked into and they don’t think it’s them. Wonder how long refunds will take…

    • I have 5 duplicates now but reversals should be in 1-2 business days.

      I’m still trying to get money back for a declined transaction made last week.

  17. steveh says:

    May 16th – still no refunds for the May 9th duplicate Amex payments!

    Wassup Curve??

  18. rams1981 says:

    curve insisting this is AMEX’s fault and so there’s not much they can do their end. I will dispute the charges I think and get AMEX to refund.

    Has anyone gone over their monthly Curve limit?

  19. Mine arrived today, nearly 2 months after ordering. I ordered the Black version but no wallet was enclosed. There was non documentation any kind in the box. They have taken the charge for the card from my Amex twice. I have not been sent any notification of my PIN. Really very unimpressive so far and no way of contacting them other than via e-mail / social media.

  20. rams1981 says:

    the duplicate charges still to be refunded. And just had a transaction not go through which is on both Curve an AMEX. Did anyone have any luck with getting those refunded?

    • blenz10 says:

      still waiting on 9th may refunds as well. not sure how you can have transactions the haven’t gone through appear on both cards – they only appear one approved. I would contact them on this point.

  21. Genghis says:

    Anyone bought say a Mars bar from Tesco, got £50 cash back, then paid for it on Curve?

    • Please report.

      I’m saying nothing on Curve as I don’t want to rile nobody/ nobodies.

      Seems like a right mess but I guess the points are well worth it?


  1. electrical work in ct

    Curve amends fair use policy to restrict ATM use