Curve Card comes to Android – get paid £5 for trying it out

Six months after its launch as a purely Apple app, the Curve Card has finally launched for Android.

The £35 application fee is still being waived for new applicants. Even better, your free card will be credited with £5 after you’ve made your first purchase as long as you use a refer-a-friend code when applying.  You will find my code further down this article.

The Curve Card got a lot of coverage on Head for Points this year, for better and worse. It launched as an intermediary payment card which, among other things, allowed you to recharge Visa and MasterCard payments to an American Express card.

This was clearly very attractive to those of us in the miles and points community. Unfortunately, after a couple of months, American Express pulled the plug. This means that Curve has had to double-down on offering added value to Visa and MasterCard cardholders.

What can you do with a Curve Card?

1 – Carry all of your Visa and MasterCard products on one card

Curve is ploughing on and has been adding extra features, moving it closer to its original goal as a payment aggregator. The idea is that you can link all of your Visa and MasterCard products (and, long term, hopefully Amex again) cards to Curve, allowing you to just carry one card with you. Using the Curve app, you can switch the card which is recharged with your purchase. For businesses, there are additional features such as the ability to scan a receipt with your phone and have it stored alongside the transaction data.

2 – Save money when spending abroad

Curve can also be used abroad. It charges the MasterCard rate + 1%, compared with the 3% charged by most credit and debit cards, so you will save 2% AND still receive miles or points from the Visa or MasterCard linked to your Curve Card.

Supercard obviously does the same trick with zero FX fees but those of us who have been using Supercard over the Summer will know that the decline rate – especially for anything over £100 – is very high. Curve appears to be more reliable despite using the same back-end payment processor, Wirecard. That said, you might as well get yourself a Supercard too (download the app here to apply) because it is free

Both Curve and Supercard let you reduce your fees on foreign spend without having to apply for a specialist ‘no FX fees’ credit card. This will put less strain on your credit record if you are thinking of applying for other miles and points credit cards.

3 – Earn free miles and points every month

There is another benefit. You can withdraw £200 of cash from an ATM each month and charge it to a Visa or MasterCard credit card as a purchase. If you have the IHG Rewards Club Premium MasterCard, for example, you would earn 400 IHG Rewards Club points per month by doing this, totally free. Additional ATM withdrawals recharged to a credit card will incur a fee. Withdrawals recharged to a debit card are free.

4 – Add contactless functionality to any non-contactless card

One other potential benefit – which I find handy – is that Curve is contactless. If your main Visa or MasterCard product is not contactless, linking it to a Curve card is an easy way to gain contactless functionality.

Curve prepaid MasterCard

5 – Earn £5 when you refer a friend for their own free card

Curve Rewards is now partially live. An additional card is added to your Curve wallet which shows your Curve Rewards balance. This comprises your £5 sign-up bonus (if you were referred by an existing member) and any £5 credits you earned for referring other cardholders.

You will earn £5 for any friends you refer to Curve, even though the card is currently free for a limited period. Your friends will also get £5 credit for signing up. If you have a large social media following you could do quite nicely by promoting Curve at the moment. The £5 reward is triggered with your first purchase using Curve.

Spending your Curve Rewards points is easy. You select the Curve Rewards in the app before you make a purchase and, as long as the purchase is for less than your rewards balance, it will be deducted from your credit. You cannot make ATM withdrawals of your Curve Rewards balance.

6 – Earn cashback when you spend at selected retailers

Curve Rewards part two will launch ‘soon’.  Don’t ask me how soon, because the last stated date of late October has clearly slipped ….

Curve is striking deals with over 50 major High Street shops and restaurants to offer Rewards Points on purchases made using Curve. Holders of the free Blue Curve Card will receive 1.5% to 2.5% of their spend back as Rewards Points, depending on retailer, whilst holders of the £50 Black Card will receive between 3% and 5% back.

Points collection is automatic and will be added to the balance of your Curve Rewards card once you have made the purchase.

I have seen the list of retailers who have, or who are in the process of, signing up and they are all major High Street names, including department stores and a major food retailer. There is also one very large hotel chain included.

Even at the lowest level of Curve points earning, equivalent to 1.5% of your spend, the combination of Rewards Points plus the rewards from your underlying Visa or MasterCard are likely to exceed using an American Express card for the same purchase.

Section 75

I should mention Section 75 coverage at this point. Because you are not paying directly with your credit card, you are not not covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if the retailer goes bust before you have received your goods.

The same situation applies if you use PayPal, Supercard, Revolut or any other payment intermediary. For large transactions, such as a flight or holiday, it makes more sense to pay directly.

Get £5 free if you apply for a free Curve card

If you use a refer-a-friend code when you sign up – my code is OQB4J – you will also receive 500 Curve Rewards points worth £5 off any purchase.

Curve is targeted as the business market and you will be asked to confirm that you run your own business, are a partner in a partnership or have some form of self employed income on top of your regular job during the application process.

How to apply

The Android version of Curve can be downloaded here.  The iOS version for Apple devices is here.

Enter referral code OQB4J into the app on the first page when prompted. This is my refer-a-friend code and is required in order to trigger the £5 free credit. (For clarity, I will receive a £5 credit for referring you which helps keep HFP ticking over.)

This is the screen of the app where you enter the OQB4J code – click ‘Add A Referral Code’:

curve-pic

This code will get you a Blue Curve Card (usually £35) for free or it will reduce the price of the Black Curve Card, which earns double Rewards Points, from £75 to £50. To be honest, I don’t recommend you take the latter option. It would only make sense when the full list of Curve Rewards partners has been published and you can estimate how much you would get back with Black in additional rewards.

The £0 fee may not show during the application process but will appear on your confirmation email.

Conclusion

I don’t want to gloss over the last few months. If you have been following the Curve start-up story on HFP over the Summer and Autumn you will know that things have been a little chaotic so far, to put it mildly.  If you’re an Android user, you missed out on all that!

The company knows that, however, and with £2m of new funding just raised it is looking to accelerate its roll-out. You have absolutely nothing to lose by giving them a try under this offer.

You will get your £5 sign-up bonus, you can withdraw £200 per month from an ATM and recharge it to a miles and points earning credit card and, if it turns out that you spend a lot at the retailers included in Curve Rewards (when it finally arrives) then you will start getting decent amounts of cash rewards back.

Bits: 4,500 Avios with a Times Literary Supplement subscription, Virgin Trains competition
British Airways flight discounts (and a £69 Apple Watch) for VitalityHealth customers
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Not that you didn’t know it previously, but I’ve worked out how Curve makes money…

    …just tried to pay my VAT bill with my Curve card. Given that Curve is targeted at self employed, this should not be an unusual transaction. The fee is a whopping 1.973%. Good thing the EU doesn’t limit interchange fees then…

    I don’t have my other cards with me (because Curve allegedly replaces them), but I doubt the underlying cards are so expensive

    PS Android app? Only about a year after it was initially promised… Start ups, eh?

    • The EU does not limit interchange fees on business cards.

    • the_real_a says:

      Define making money 🙂

      Curve has burned £3m so far of investors money with with revenues of about £400,000 for transactions (plus any card fees).

      • The more lose the more you’re worth! Look at Uber, now managing to lose $600m per quarter. Need to work hard to achieve that …..

        • the_real_a says:

          🙂 I did pass up google stock circa 2004 wondering how they would make money. Would be interested to know the Curve business plan however..

    • I have just paid my income tax on a “normal” card and the fee was about .6% they did ask for the first 8 numbers first to determine if it was a private or business card and charged the fee accordingly.but its not curve making any money, its hrmc or MasterCard!

  2. How does this card handle refunds? Could I potentially buy an item with my curve card linked to my IHG mastercard, gain the points, and then return the item with my curve card linked to my debit card?

    • Not clear to be honest ….

      • i just assumed it knew which linked card the original purchase was on and it refunded it onto that card – does it not do that?

    • Don’t know precisely. My only experience is that I had one refund go through on Curve to a cancelled Amex (the initial payment card). I had no choice of where the refund went and it went back to the cancelled Amex so had to call Amex up to get it transferred to my bank account.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Refund goes to original card

  3. OT: I need to pay a large vat bill this quarter however I don’t have a visa with a limit as large as £20k.

    From Hmrc :

    ”Making more than one card payment
    HMRC limits the number of times you can use a credit or debit card within a certain time to pay your tax.

    There isn’t a set limit – it depends on HMRC’s view of what’s reasonable based on payment card industry standards and guidance.

    The rules apply to multiple card payments against the same tax – you can only make extra card payments if each one’s for a different tax, eg Corporation Tax and employers’ PAYE.

    If you’re unable to pay your bill in full by card, you should use another payment method like a bank transfer.”

    Obviously I want to get the points from my black virgin visa. Do you think I’d get away with 3 x payments spread across 2 weeks?

    • I doubt you’ll be able to make 3 payments over 2 weeks. From my experience you might manage two if you do one today and one in a fortnight.

      I was able to make 6 small (2 figure) payments towards personal tax in one day then system did not allow any further card payments for a fortnight. Then have been ok doing one payment every second working day.

      Have also been had corp tax to pay – 1x decent (4 fig) sum but when I tried near 5 figure sum exactly 1 week later it was not approved.

      Shows that it is not simply the value or number of transactions which they look at!

      • Just to clarify….

        I doubt you’ll be able to make 3 payments [to one single account i.e. Corp tax, vat or whatever] over 2 weeks….

        • Ugh, such a pain in the ass.

          I may just try it anyway and see what happens, I have three weeks to put the transactions through if I actually calculate my vat return tonight….

          Worse case scenario is that I do 2 x card transactions and the rest by bacs?

        • Or pay off your balance in the interim if that is the problem.

        • Yes a real pain… You definitely need to have patience paying by cards!

          I would give it a shot.

          Hopefully it will allow two card payments with the time you have left or you might get lucky and squeeze three in. Be prepared for a payment by Bacs or DD though!

        • I have done VAT in weekly chunks with no problem. Will be kicking it off again soon.

        • Rob – have you done this before you’ve sent in the vat return? I know approximately what the bill will be, circa £18k but until I hear back from the accounts about what we’re claiming back I’m not 100% of the final amount.. I’m assuming 2 x £6k amounts with the last one being the final exact figure..

        • Yes, did it for the September bill. I can only do chunks of £2k or I find my credit card is blocked (not by the Revenue, by the card company).

          I have almost zero reclaimable VAT apart from the office rent so it is straightforward to pay in advance.

    • I’ve made multiple payment a few days apart to pay a CT bill with HMRC. I think as long as its the same card then I’ve not had a problem.

  4. I took out the Curve card last month again but have not been able to use except for one transaction in Saudi. Each time i used the card, i was told by the seller i had not sufficient funds…,?!
    When i contacted Curve they told me that i had selected my Curve Rewards card for pay,emt even though i never selected this. i sent Curve screen shots, they told me they removed blocks, asked me to try again, and again and again but each time i get the embarrasing answer from the seller: i have no money on my account. For my last trip (this week Ukraine last week Dubai) i had no problem using my brand new supercard but the same transactions failed with Curve each time. So after probably 20 attempts, my Curve card will join the Curve card I took out last spring: somewhere in the drawer.

  5. How long does it take their CS to respond to a question about accounts? Put the message in this morning but no reply as yet?

    • On average, next working day turn around. Apparently there is a phone number but i have never found it.

  6. PS Was too honest – even though used “Other” as a business option (alongside “employee”) means you get parked for a future release!! And no £5. What proof do they ask for when I suddenly turn into an Entrepeneur I wonder?

  7. the-very-real-arry says:

    O/T so I tested Aspire Lounge in T3 today

    • the-very-real-arry says:

      Strange but good experience. Small/ compact yet fits 120 so would feel compact if full – team told me nobody has been turned away in the last 6/7 weeks

      No self pour

      Brilliant bits such as the sleep pods (yep people sleeping on divans) and the Quiet bit where you can get a personal TV on quietly and a very comfy chair

      in fact virtually all the seating is very comfy so that’s a plus

      limited booze offering but cold Guinness behind the bar

      food good, freshly renewed and judging by what I ate, expertly prepared

      not much in the way of get your own soft drinks either so nothing to filch for the 2 kids I left outside (though I grabbed a couple of newspapers)

      loos bright & shiny as you’d expect – I told the mgress to get my one serviced as it was filthy & she literally hopped to it/ I guess with a spurty water tap it was not surprising to see water all over the place

      only had an hour so 2 G&Ts, 2 Guinness, 1 prosecco (you only get 1 free then £4.95), 1 Moretti beer was all I could squeeze in

      miserable barman who preferred to scuttle into the kitchen between scuttling out if somebody appeared at the bar – maybe an off day so no criticism intended or maybe he fancied the very capable cook – other staff A+

  8. I like many have had my ups and downs with Curve! The biggest flaw was when they double charged me for a transaction worth £1100 which took nearly three weeks to refund. Nonetheless, since joining Curve I have spent just over £20k using the card. The biggest perk for me is the security, watching all the transactions pop up instantly on my phone and also being able to withdraw cash while abrod from a credit card! For any newbies, it’s definitely worth a trial!

  9. Does anyone know if Hargreaves Lansdown or any other investment sites take Curve as a debit card?

  10. Since Amex/Curve fell out, my use of the card has been limited. My local authority charges it like a credit card and so at the moment it is not so beneficial to me. I have kept it because it’s just a hassle apply for it all again if Amex/Curve do kiss and make up and I did get my £35.00 worth when they were buddies.

  11. I just got my card (used the referral code). I was wondering whether the £200 per month is based on calendar months or on a rolling month basis from the point of receiving the card.

  12. I’m confused about the “changing the currency of your card” option. If I link my Curve to my Lloyds Avios Mastercard (no FX fees), and then set my Lloyds currency as EUR in the Curve app, will Curve not charge me an FX fee if I use an ATM for cash withdrawals in Europe? Or do they charge you anyway for anything outside your home location?

    • The T&Cs are ambiguous:

      Fee for ATM withdrawal in the currency of the Funding Source: Free (subject to Curve Fair Use Policy)

      Fee for ATM withdrawal in a currency other than the currency selected for the Curve Card or the Payment Instrument: £2

      So if the currency of my withdrawal (EUR) is the same as my Lloyds card (EUR), it’s free. But what’s the “currency selected for the Curve Card”? Is that always GBP because I’m based in the UK?

  13. martyusha says:

    Has anyone else been emailed by Curve recently regarding ‘non-business’ spend? I was asked a little over a week ago to provide evidence of a registered business, and -not having got around to it over the holiday period- my card was blocked today. Anybody else had a similar experience?

  14. Correct me if you Im wrong…
    Link it to your Tesco credit card and withdraw cash as multiples of £8 (£40, 80, £120, £160, £200 etc) and you will never miss out on the Tesco Club card points. If you spend £7.99 with Tesco card (outside Tesco) you get nothing, you spend £15.99 you get only one clubcard point. Using cash from ATM will guarantee maximum benefit.

    • Correct. But withdraw £200 linked to normal Tesco credit card and you get 25 clubcard points = 60 avios = 60p. Linked to the premium version you get 50 clubcard points = 120 avios = £1.20.
      But withdraw £200 linked to something like IHG premium and you get 400 IHGs = £2.

    • Correct