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Curve Card and its new ‘acceptable use’ policy

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(EDIT:  Curve has changed a lot since this article was published.  Please do not rely on the information here.  Instead, please click here to read our detailed 2020 Curve review, which includes a link for a free £10 credit when you sign up.)

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: [email protected] 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.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

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You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

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Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

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Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

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American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

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1% cashback (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (401)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • JC says:

    Are you still allowed to withdraw greater than 200 at the ATM per month with our charges at least for the next 2 months? Thanks!

  • Don says:

    I find the most disappointing thing about the card that it doesn’t count as a master card debit card. I have tried several websites and it does not go through as a debit card. I thought since the EU cap those days of charging extortinate fees on cc payments are over. I guess those companies keep charging it anyway to make more profit.

    • Simon Fisher says:

      I have had the same problem, It states the card number is invalid.

      Does anyone know if there is a way around this?

  • DaVinci says:

    Has anyone else used curve for BA amex and not been given their points, i.e. it shows as un-qualifying spend?

    • Gary Arnold says:

      Yes me and Curve will not explain why, this was one of the reasons I got the card, not very happy

      • Rob says:

        That’s bizarre. Just looked at my wifes Amex Gold and all the cash withdrawals, plus other Curve transactions, have generated MR points. Why would the BA Amex be different?

        • Yuff says:

          Me too, card is working very well especially with my bonus MR points 🙂

  • Nick says:

    “We have spend limits for the Curve card to protect against fraud. They are:

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

    I ordered it for two reasons: (1) attractive FX rates; (2) ability to use where Amex not accepted (although I do have an HSBC Premier MasterCard that gives Avios). I am now questioning the usefulness with these restrictions – on holiday, a holiday stay is easily above GBP2k in a single transaction and I will spend more than GBP5k on a single trip, within a month. Seems a bit restrictive.

  • electrical work in ct says:

    electrical work in ct

    Curve amends fair use policy to restrict ATM use

  • Gary Arnold says:

    BA Avios points, is anyone having problems with the curve transactions earning Avios points, my first few transactions don’t seem to be earning any and the balance towards my 241 is not being reduced??

  • Mark B says:

    Anyone know if Lloyds Amex are also not crediting the Avios points ?

  • harry says:

    People need to check the associated Amex card’s statement online (ie the reward points itemisation) to see if transactions on Curve have actually generated any points.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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