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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? – May 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. 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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Barclaycard Avios 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.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios or other airline miles, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

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Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus (SPECIAL OFFER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

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

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

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 Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

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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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

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.

  • Michael says:

    #Rob. Just wondering if you put your flight ticket purchase through curve, do you still get the travel insurance cover from say, Amex Plat/ Amex BA Premium etc?

    • harry says:

      of course not 😉

      ridiculous question

      • harry says:

        serious point though

        you’ll lose all the Amex advantages

        you’ll lose all the section 75 advantages

        the credit cards will disown you 🙂

        • Michael says:

          Fair Point. Thanks for clarifying. I only asked as quite often fare quoted on some foreign currency OTAs are significantly cheaper than sterling sites (or in case you are positioning, where sterling quoting may not even be unavailable) then you will face the dilemma of paying with Amex+3% or simply go with Lloyds Avios

    • Rob says:

      No

  • Simon Fisher says:

    So far I have failed dismally to use Curve on line! I tried to book tickets for the Titan zip line yesterday it told me the car type was invalid (choice was Visa Debit, Mastercard Debit, Mastercard I had chosen Mastercard. My brothers (normal Mastercard worked fine.) It seems to want a start date (which my card doesn’t have.)

    I also failed to pay for an up and coming cruise with it. The cruise company said it was credit card so had to have an additional 1.5% charge levied.

    Both of these were a bit disappointing as I am chasing mt 2-4-1 voucher and time is running out. Still I suppose a bit of excitement adds to the experience.

    • The_Real_A says:

      It is a prepaid MasterCard. It is NOT a debit card…

      Prepaid mastercards will usually appear as credit cards on merchant sites.

      • Alan says:

        Thankfully Supercard still seems to come through as Visa Debit on many systems – avoided card fees when booking using this (linked to my bmi Mastercard) with Easyjet yesterday 🙂

  • thesaver79 says:

    I’ve read all the comments, but I’m not unsure about one point. Has it definitely been confirmed that the £200 ATM withdrawal limit is per linked card rather?

    • Rob says:

      It is in total. The tweet saying per linked card was withdrawn.

  • Darren says:

    Anyone else having issues where you make some purchases in £’s, e.g at a supermarket, and it show’s on Curve as $’s? I am getting charged an fx fee by Amex!
    Also as someone else mentioned previously pre-authorisation charges are not coming out from pending but going through into recent transactions. Amex can’t really help as all transactions just say Curve!
    I like the idea of Curve as an Amex user, and see a great relationship ahead, but they are definitely making the dating period hard work!!

    • RC_Hammer says:

      When I validated my Amex card initially and entered the credit amount it rejected it. It turned out this was due to Curve thinking the card was US and were billing me in USD. This was a bug that they then later said was fixed. I noticed recently when I added a second card that there was an option to specify the currency, which was set to USD as default. I changed it to UK pounds. I’d check the iPhone app to see if you can change the currency or, if option not available, possibly de-register the card and register again making sure to select the correct currency.

  • Drolma-la says:

    Here’s a slightly OT question: now that I’ve started to use my shiny new Curve card, when can I expect the £10 credit due for using the Head4Points referral link?

    • Rob says:

      Good question. No-one has told me anything, others who have enquired have been told that it will go live with the loyalty programme. Not sure when that is.

      • Waribai says:

        Does that mean they will be backdating referrals? Will they suddenly say “Here you go £x for all the people you referred in the past x months!

        • Rob says:

          That is what others have been told – although I honestly don’t know.

  • rams1981 says:

    I tried to put through £50 online this morning which was rejected and DID not show up in my curve or AMEX as yet. Promising…

    So has anyone yet been charged for taking out more than £200 at an ATM?

  • Mel says:

    What is the card actually made of? Plastic?

  • PG says:

    Is it me or have all of the comments on this page disappeared?

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

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