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
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Comments

  1. 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?

  2. 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+

  3. 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!

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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?

  9. 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