An update on Curve – you receive £10 credit when you are referred

On Thursday I ran a long article about Curve.  This was, I think, the most-read article ever on HFP – it was certainly the most-read article on the day of publication.

Curve has a number of fascinating features.  Most relevant for our market, it allows you to pay for anything where a MasterCard is accepted and have it recharged – as a purchase – to an American Express card.

Even cash withdrawals are recharged, as a purchase, to your Amex.  I have been testing the card for a few days and I can confirm that this works perfectly.

Let me repeat this bit – you can buy something using the Curve card at a retailer which only accepts MasterCard, or even make a cash withdrawal at an ATM, and it will be re-charged to your American Express card (or a Visa or MasterCard) as a purchase.  It will earn miles and count towards any sign-up bonus.  It also works abroad, even on overseas cash withdrawals.

Curve prepaid MasterCard

I have been taking part in the Curve pilot programme and I can confirm that the card does everything that it says.

The cost of the basic Curve card is £35.  There is a £75 premium version but I don’t know enough about the benefits to recommend it at this time.  This is a one-off fee, not an annual one.

What I didn’t know on Thursday is that, if you used my referral link to apply, you will receive a £10 credit into your Curve account.  This means that the net cost of joining up is only £25 and not £35.  The £10 is credited once you make the first transaction on your card.

If you haven’t signed up and are still interested, you will find full details and my referral details in the article from Thursday.

My referral code, if it doesn’t track automatically, is oqb4J.  It is a letter and not a zero at the start.

Note that Curve is targetted at the business market and you should have some sort of freelance / self-employed / SME income or involvement (although not necessarily full-time) in order to apply.

How to get Waitrose gift cards (or pretty much any gift card) from Amex Membership Rewards points
British Airways launches special Club World deals for Easter travel
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  1. the news of this card is very welcome. I would ask, though, how is the company going to make any money? If Amex charges retailers 5%, and MasterCard 1-2%, then surely Amex will be charging Curve. So, have curve just negotiated a ridiculous rate with Amex?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Been answered a few times

      expecting large volume of ‘sales’ so would have negotiated wholesale interchange fees not your small retailer ones

      Also business transactions can be charged at a higher rate than personal but they are banking on the registered amex/mastercard et al to be a personal one so they make money there. Also they will be hoping many people using this as a cheaper alternative abroad where they charge you 1%+£2 for ATM withdrawals vs most cards charging 3% + can withdraw fees of £4-5

      example on a holiday last year towards the end of my holiday I lost my Halifax clarity and using my lloyds debit card to withdraw enough cash to tide me over was daylight robbery, would have happily paid the 1%+£2 instead!

    • Curve is a business card so has a high fee to shops. It mainly recharges personal Visa or MC cards which have fees capped at 0.3%. Even Amex fees may be under 1.5%.

      • Would a shop owner know this is a business card thst will cost them more to process?

        Seems a little unfair.

  2. OT – 4000 Tesco pet insurance points have now appeared in my a/c – poor tiddles

  3. OT: Does anyone know at what point you start earning towards a second Lloyds Avios Rewards upgrade voucher. Is it the anniversary of card issue?

    I understand that you can only earn one per year but the actual mechanics seem rather less clear, with the waters muddied further by Lloyds reference to ‘calendar years’.

    • Agree they don’t make it clear but I’m going with anniversary of account opening from first statement.

      • I rang them up on this, I was told you earn towards your upgrade starting on the anniversary of account opening. However you can only earn one voucher in a calendar year and one voucher per membership year, they said for example if your membership year is June to May and you earned your voucher in say October, your spend between Oct and the following June wouldn’t count towards another voucher. Clear as mud? I think not.

        • I don’t quite understand your reference to membership year, but if you mean that you opened the card in June, reached the target by October then yes I wouldn’t expect any spend between then and the following June to count as it is still in the same 12 month period. Everything would then reset the following June when you entered year 2 and you’d start earning towards another voucher. This is no different to the BA Amex (except of course it actually has a nice clear progress bar on each statement!). Given the way they block you receiving a second sign-up bonus it doesn’t sound like there’s any benefit to trying to close and reopen the account either.

        • I think there is a differance, You can earn and get if you want two 241 in a calendar year, with Lloyds you only get one upgrade voucher per calendar year.

        • I don’t think so, I think they both only allow one voucher every 12 months but with both of them you can trigger that voucher as early or late in the 12 month earning period as you want, I think Lloyds have just made their wording really unclear?

        • That’s a much clearer statement than I managed to get out of them. They kept wanting to put me through to despite my telling them they wouldn’t be able to answer the question….

          Eventually they kind of gave me the same answer but left me with zero confidence they actually had any clue as to whether or not it was correct.

          The only way to get much sense out of Lloyds seems to be to raise a formal complaint!

        • The statement about only one voucher per membership year and only one per calendar year seems a bit odd. Does that mean if your membership year is Feb-Jan (as mine is) and you earnt a voucher in January 2016, that no further spend counts until January 2017 (which is almost the end of the next membership year!) or that the spend counts from February 2016 but they won’t issue another voucher until January 2017 regardless of your meeting the spend threshold earlier?

          Or are the call centre staff just totally confused themselves?

        • They area clueless and as others have said will try to transfer you to as soon as you mention the word Avios!

          It’s one every 12 months from the anniversary of account opening with the target resetting at that point too, they just confuse everything by referring to calendar year!

        • I’m not sure who knows the answer, i asked because the terms state calendar year hence the answer I got back. I did state to them as Marks says, there’s no point spending on the card once I’ve earned the voucher, they agreed and said that this membership (account opening year) is not in line with a calendar year it’s something that needs correcting.

          As we all know with the 241 they operate purely on the account opening

        • I had some reps try to tell me it was calendar year – account open in March and had to spend by 31st Dec. Other reps disagreed (as did I) – hit my target late Jan and voucher issued this month. I’m expecting to start earning towards a new voucher next month when my new 12 month period starts, but will call and check with them again – thy really are pretty useless!

  4. cynicalmosoe says:

    Raffles –

    Presumably this changes the calculus on the Amex IDC cards a bit?

    • Interesting point, although presumably they’ll charge in GBP so then won’t help? Although they had some comment re Euro cards where if you’ve got the ICC Euro card that might be of interest??

    • I hadn’t really thought about that. The problem with the IDC cards, however, is that you still need to pay the card bill in $ so, unless you have a US$ bank account, you get hit with another set of charges there which Curve cannot help you with.

    • Can you explain this please? I’ve got an IDC and a US Bank account I’m missing something, I’d be happy to do a test on it

      • IDC Amex cards are more generous – 1 point per dollar and 1:1 into some airlines, albeit BA is 3:2. Curve in theory will charge 1% FX fee putting a UK charge onto your IDC in dollars.

        Some articles on IDC if you search.

        • Thanks Raffles, so basically it’s adding your IDC to Curve, guess it also depends on the exchange rate as that can make a differance on points.

        • Yes, which is why I won’t be doing this as I can’t make it stack up paying the bill from the UK.

  5. May have been answered. But would PayPal pick this card up as debit or credit. Was thinking of sending rent to my landlord via PP using the Curve with a recharge to Amex – purely for the 1000+ points per month. PP charge for credit but not debit.

    • It hasn’t been answered/ tested. Same situation with payments to HMRC. Seems more likely to be picked up as a credit card payment as the shell is that of a pre-paid MasterCard.

  6. Aeronaut says:

    I can’t see Curve lasting using the current modus operandi for that long… cash advances treated as purchases (even with a fair usage limit), it’ll surely prove too good to be true! And Amex won’t be pleased if this really takes off – as a retailer, why bother accepting Amex… etc etc etc. And this seemingly lightly policed approach to what constitutes a business customer rather than a consumer in order to get around the new EU interchange fee rules just sees rather too transparent a dodge. Still, everyone enjoy it until the house of cards comes tumbling down!

  7. Would this work with an affiliated Lloyds Avios Amex or just the standard cards

    • Should be fine with the Lloyds issued ones too although obviously for international transactions it’d cost you 1% more (rather than 2% less with the Amex issued cards)

  8. I couldn’t see anywhere to use a referral code, but I did click in through your link

  9. Anyone with this card – is it contactless? I’d be tempted to pay £35 just to be able to charge stuff to my Amex contactlessly since about the only places that allow this ‘natively’ are TfL, Boots and Pret.

  10. Simon Schus says:

    Some information about Curve that they emailed me today:

    “All of our users are initially in Group 0. Over the next few months, you should automatically move into Group 1, based on your usage patterns and risk scoring, but it takes about 2 – 4 weeks of constant usage of the card…

    After passing such checks and 2-4 weeks passing, it will increase your limits, and will allow you to pay at automatic petrol forecourts.

    The current set spend limits for the Curve card are as follows:

    £2000 per single transaction
    £3000 per day
    £5000 per month
    £200 per single ATM withdrawal”

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  14. shajacksha says:

    Just ordered one through your referral link Raffles. Hope this is a good investment 🙂