Curve Rewards launches today – double-up on your existing credit card rewards!

After a number of delays, The Curve Card launches Curve Rewards at 3pm today. Hopefully.

This has been some time coming, to put it mildly, but it does look it will be quite cool when it is up and running.

Curve Rewards offers you instantaneous cashback when you use your Curve card at one of the 50 participating retailers.  No waiting around for ‘pending’ or ‘validating’ – the cashback will be available to spend as soon as you leave the store.

If you are not familiar with the Curve Card I will run through the product again at the bottom of this article.  The key things to know are:

  • The basic version of Curve is free (in fact, Curve will pay you £5 for trying it out if you use my referral code below)
  • Curve is now available for Android users as well as iPhone
  • Curve works with any other Visa or MasterCard you hold

Curve is currently targeting the small business market.  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.  If you do not feel able to make this declaration, you should wait for the consumer version of the card which will be launched soon.

Who are the Curve Rewards partners?

The following retailers are Curve Rewards partners.  From a travel perspective, the key one is Marriott.

The two cashback rates shown are for the Blue (free) and Black (paid) Curve Cards respectively. Remember that tracking does not start until 3pm today so don’t hit the shops at lunchtime!

Merchant / Blue Card / Black Card
Argos / 1.50% / 3%
Arcadia Group / 1.50% / 3%
ASK Italian / 1.50% / 3%
B&Q / 1.50% / 3%
Babies R Us / 1.50% / 3%
Belgo / 1.50% / 3%
Bella Italia / 1.50% / 3%
Boots UK / 1.50% / 3%
Burton / 1.50% / 3%
Cafe Rouge / 1.50% / 3%
Caffe Nero / 1.50% / 3%
Carpetright / 1.50% / 3%
Debenhams / 1.50% / 3%
Dorothy Perkins / 1.50% / 3%
Ernest Jones / 1.50% / 3%
Evans / 1.50% / 3%
Evans Cycles / 1.50% / 3%
Feelunique / 1.50% / 3%
Gap Inc. / 1.50% / 3%
Goldsmiths / 1.50% / 3%
H.Samuel / 2.50% / 5%
Halfords / 1.50% / 3%
House of Fraser 1.50% 3%
Leslie Davis / 1.50% / 3%
Marks & Spencer / 1.50% / 3%
Marriott International / 1.50% / 3% (UK hotels only)
Miss Selfridge / 1.50% / 3%
Moss Bros. / 1.50% / 3%
Mothercare / 1.50% / 3%
New Look / 1.50% / 3%
Outfit / 1.50% / 3%
Papa John’s Pizza / 1.50% / 3%
Pizza Express / 1.50% / 3%
River Island / 1.50% / 3%
Spafinder / 1.50% / 3%
T.G.I. Fridays / 1.50% / 3%
The White Company / 1.50% / 3%
The Works / 1.50% / 3%
Thorntons / 1.50% / 3%
Topman / 1.50% / 3%
Topshop / 1.50% / 3%
Toys R Us / 1.50% / 3%
Tune Tribe / 1.50% / 3%
Virgin Experience / 2.50% / 5%
Wallis / 1.50% / 3%
Waterstones / 1.50% / 3%
Wilko / 1.50% / 3%
Wyevale Garden Centres / 1.50% / 3%
Yo! Sushi / 1.50% / 3%
Zizzi / 1.50% / 3%

How does Curve Rewards work?

Your Curve Card ‘wallet’ in the app contains – as well as your stored Visa and MasterCard products – a card called Rewards.

As soon as you make a purchase at any of the participating retailers in Curve Rewards, your cashback is added to your Curve Rewards card.

Spend £50 in Marks & Spencer and you will get 75p if you have the free Curve Card or £1.50 if you have the premium version.  This money is added IMMEDIATELY (in theory!).

To spend your Curve Rewards cash, simply switch the linked card in the app from a normal Visa or MasterCard to the Curve Rewards card.  The value of your next transaction will be deducted from your Curve Rewards balance.  The only condition is that the transaction cannot be larger than your Rewards balance.  Curve Rewards money cannot be withdrawn via an ATM.

Will I receive my existing Visa and MasterCard rewards as well?

Yes.  You still receive the normal rewards on the Visa or MasterCard linked to your Curve Card.  The Curve Rewards cashback is an extra bonus.

You cannot link an American Express to Curve.  This means that you need to work out whether the Curve Rewards cashback – plus the rewards on your Visa or MasterCard – are a better deal than the rewards on your Amex card.

If you are getting 1.5% cashback via Curve Rewards at M&S PLUS rewards from a Visa or MasterCard worth, say, 0.5p, this is likely to be more valuable than 1.5 Avios on a BA Premium Plus or 1 Membership Rewards point on an Amex Gold.

Background to Curve

The rest of this article is aimed at new Head for Points readers who haven’t come across Curve before.  You can skip this if you have read my previous article.  The code to use to get £5 of reward points when requesting your free Blue Curve Card is at the bottom.

What can a Curve Card do and how can I get one? 

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

The idea behind Curve is that you can link all of your Visa and MasterCard products (and, long term, hopefully Amex) 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 wholesale 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 were using Supercard last year will know that the decline rate – especially for anything over £100 – is very high. Curve appears to be more reliable based on feedback from HFP readership and my own experiences. 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

You will earn £5 for any friends you refer to Curve, even though the card is free.  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 and is added to your Curve Rewards balance.

6 – Earn cashback when you spend at selected retailers

I outlined Curve Rewards earlier in this article.

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.

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.)

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 £5 credit added to your Curve Rewards account.  You can choose between the Blue card (no fee) or the Black card (£50 fee, higher rewards as outlined above).  To be honest, I don’t recommend you take the latter option unless you are certain that you spend enough money at partipating Curve Rewards merchants to justify the additional cashback you will receive.

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

Conclusion

With £2m of new funding recently raised and Curve Rewards now finally live, the company is looking to accelerate its roll-out. You have absolutely nothing to lose by giving them a try under this offer if you are a qualifying ‘small business’ person.

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, via Curve Rewards, you can double dip on your credit card rewards at participating merchants.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Does anyone know if charge is same if you have a foreign currency card (eg. Euro) and want to take out cash in another currency elsewhere, eg. Asia? Is it still £2 + 1% regardless of what the bank normally charges?

    • Curve is very smart here. You don’t pay a fee if you link a foreign currency card. Take a look at their FAQ’s, it should be in there.

      • I thought it was if you have for instance a EUR underlying card and pay in EUR with card currency set in EUR then there are no fees. Isn’t this Q slightly different?

        • If it is, I am wrong!

          • I did have a look at the FAQs before asking, but can’t work it out. Reason I ask is as I have a Euro account and thought I could maybe use those rather than devalued pounds when travelling. I’ll ask Curve and let you know.

          • *Travelling ex-Europe

          • From Curve:

            “The only charge you will receive from us is a £2 flat fee when withdrawing cash in a currency different to your payment card. We use a low conversion rate equivalent to the wholesale +1%. All transactions with Curve originate in London, so if your card issuer charges you for making transactions which originate in UK, this is something to be aware of. You won’t experience any conversion fees from your bank however.”

            So if I understand correctly, it’s 1% for spend, £2 + 1% for cash withdrawals, + any charge your bank charges for UK transactions.

          • Although presumably this means that if you have the card linked to your Lloyds card, as long as you switch the currency of that card to match the currency for the cash you’ll be withdrawing then there shouldn’t be any charge?