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What should you do with your Curve card now?

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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.)

Unless you only read Head for Points via email, you presumably saw my extra article yesterday about the decision of American Express to stop working with Curve card.

I won’t go back into how Curve works again, but you can find full details in this article.  Fundamentally, one of its benefits was that you could make credit card purchases using the Curve Mastercard and have them recharged to an American Express.  You can also make limited cash withdrawals and have them recharged to a credit card as a purchase.

With a few hundred comments to the article yesterday, I think the different options open to you have already been beaten to death.

The bottom line is this – no-one should be out of pocket here.  If you cancel, Curve has promised a full refund and you will already have received various benefits to date.  It is important to remember that.

There are two options open to you as a cardholder.  These are:

return the card for a refund of your fee (you might as well wait until after 31st May as Amex functionality continues until then) or

keep it and, as long as you spend £1,000 on the card between 1st June and 31st August, receive a £35 credit in their forthcoming rewards programme which can be used towards any card transaction

My gut feeling in the short term is that – if you can still get £ benefits via ATM and overseas use that would justify the fee irrespective of whether you get the £35 back – there is little to lose by sticking around.

Of course, you also need to consider the track record of the company to date which has been shambolic in many ways.  This includes:

delays in sending out cards

not having the loyalty programme ready to launch on Day 1, despite the premium version of the card being inherently linked to this

failure to predict cash recycling via ATM withdrawals, forcing them to cap those at a level below that required by most people for day to day spend

IT issues (outside their control, admittedly) which led to both transactions being refused and other transactions being double charged

failure to have Amex tied down to a long term agreement to support the card

It was also disappointing to read in the letter yesterday that the card was “saving you money when you travel with zero FX fees“.  This may be semantically true but, as Curve is using a foreign exchange rate which is 1% off the spot rate, you are paying the equivalent of a 1% fee.  There was simply no need for this comment to be made and it has not helped the situation.

Curve prepaid MasterCard

Here are the pros and cons as I see them (based on having the £35 version):

Reasons to return the card:

Card fee refunded now

No need to divert £1,000 from American Express spend in order to trigger the statement credit

No risk if the company closes down

Reasons to keep the card:

£35 fee refunded via a statement credit if you spend £1,000 between June and August – assuming that Curve Rewards is ready to launch by September and the company remains solvent.

If you were referred, you are still due an additional £10 credit when Curve Rewards launches.

You can continue to take out £200 via an ATM each month and have it recharged to a Mastercard or Visa as a purchase.  This is worth a couple of £ per month in benefits. 

You can use it abroad and pay just 1% in fees instead of the 2.99% which is normal on most UK credit and debit cards.  Even if you have a 0% fee card such as Halifax Clarity, it may be worth paying the 1% Curve fee instead if the rewards on your underlying card are worth more than 1%.

You can use it at those merchants who treat it as a debit card without paying the fees associated with using a credit card – but it is still hit and miss as to which those are

You won’t have to pay £35 to rejoin if American Express returns as a partner or some other interesting functionality appears

On the assumption that you wouldn’t have any problems making £1,000 of spending it comes down to whether you believe Curve will be around to credit your £35 of rewards and how much value you put on the FX and ATM benefits.

The company is funded via a high profile mix of private investors and well regarded venture capital funds, but of course start-up projects like this can be volatile.

If I had paid £35 (and I haven’t, because I was on the beta trial) I would stick with it – primarily because I can put my Summer holiday spend onto it for a 1% fee and recharge it to my old BMI Mastercard paying 2.5 Avios per £1.  I can cover £35 of value from that.  Of course, not many people have a Visa or Mastercard which is that generous.

If you have the £75 premium card, it is a different calculation.  Because the statement credit is only £50 but you can receive a £75 refund by returning the card along with the Tumi card wallet, I would take a refund.  You could always reapply for the £35 card later and only be £10 worse off.

Whatever you decide to do, however, remember that you won’t be out of pocket and that, if you’ve been using the card already, you should be ‘up’ overall.  No HfP reader should be losing any money here.

It is also worth remembering that, behind the faceless brand, is a small team of people who have been working hard, apparently close to 24/7 based on the timings of some of the messages I have received, to make this work.  If this experiment fails, they are the ones who really lose something. Welcome to the world of working with start-up companies ….

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Comments (242)

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

  • Hingeless says:

    It is useful in hotel rooms for putting in the keycard slot to keep the lights on, I used to use my Tesco clubcard but curve is less valuable.

    • mark says:


    • JamesWag says:

      “It is useful in hotel rooms for putting in the keycard slot to keep the lights on”


    • Daz says:

      Yeah great point, I currently have a Costa card that is worth more. And a McDonald’s card that has all the bean stickers on it (free brew) look at me!!

      I will however be loyal to Curve, it’ll make a handy ad hoc car window ice scrapper in winter.

    • Steve says:

      I put mine back in the box as it says ” store your curve card here”

  • Stu R says:

    I’m pretty hacked off if I’m honest – I’d planned to use my Curve for around £2300 of hotel spend charged to my BA Amex, at various locations in Italy over the next fortnight but it will cease to work half way through. I’ll then revert to my Supercard which will also cease to work a week later, and which I’ve had nothing but issues with, from not being able to turn the card on via the app, to multiple declined transactions due to their stupid 3 second time out error.

    The days of foreign travel with zero FX fees, and Avios earning thrown in, seems a world away now!

    • Worzel says:

      Stu R- a solution:

      Cut up both cards and stick them in the bin + email Curve and Supercard telling them you’ve done this- cancel agreement.

      Find most inexpensive way of using existing cards for holiday/take cash?

      On return, get Halifax Clarity CC (or similar), forget about earning abroad, and move on.

      Most important thing is to enjoy the holiday.

      • Ross Parker says:

        If you have a Halifax Current Account (no charge) you get £5pm for spending over £300 on your Halifax Clarity Credit Card. Better than nothing – I hit the threshold just on work-related overseas cash withdrawals (which you can pay off instantly on the app, hence getting no interest charges). I think of it as my free croissant and coffee from Halifax each month.

    • Bob says:

      Get yourself a Lloyds Amex / MasterCard no foreign exchange fees

      • Worzel says:

        Rubbish-Halifax Clarity.

        • TGLoyalty says:


          • JonP says:

            We found this on the Côte d’Azur also – there were perhaps only 1 or 2 places in Nice / St Jean Cap Ferrat / Monaco / Vence / Antibes that didn’t accept American Express. I have to say, the Lloyds Amex and Mastercard has been a fantastic addition to my wallet and for £24 it really is a bargain!

        • Mr Dee says:

          Seeing as you get Avios with the Lloyds it seems a no brainer

      • mark2 says:

        and earn Avios on spend, 9000 Avios sign up bonus with no spend requirement and their own cash back (my wife earned over £60 in a year (Lloyds current account required)).
        and no FX fees.

    • mark says:

      no avios, but i use N&P account… free from fees – great CS too

  • James A says:

    I’ll be sticking with it for now and seeing which way it goes. I’ve had a good time earning extra Avios and if I lose my £35 it’s hardly going to break the bank.

    • avidsaver says:

      Agreed. For the risk of just £35 l’m happy to give them a chance to sort things.

    • Nathan says:

      I’m the same, spent £4000 on it since I have had it, mostly abroad where AMEX not accepted, so thats 4000MR points I would not have had. Willing to risk £35 to give the Curve team a chance to sort it out.

  • Tom H says:

    Presumably if you went for the £75 premium version of the card that didn’t come with the wallet (as my dad mistakenly did) you would be eligible for a full £75 refund?

    • Paul says:

      Yes it was the terms and conditions link on the cancellation page

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    I think just for the sake of giving the company a chance to survive we should think twice about returning the card. Unless a return of the £35 is going to make a massive difference in their life I’d keep the card and see what happens re Amex. After all everyone dropping out will just spell the end of the company.

    • Mikeact says:

      Except of course, you don’t know how many users are non HFP sign ups, and I for one just can’t see the logic of cancelling at this stage.I have more than recouped my £35 ,not that was ever the driving force for me.

  • Kevin says:

    Disappointed? Yes, but I’m sticking with them. Had an issue earlier on and their customer service was great. And as pointed out, the staff have a lot more to lose. Will withdraw some cash for now and stick with the card to see what happens.

    • Yuff says:

      I can only say their customer service has been very good to both myself and Mrs Yuff.
      £8k spent this month between us and 1 small duplicate transaction, on the 9th May, resolved in 7 days. No other issues.
      It will be £15k by May 31st.
      Of course it’s disappointing that amex have paused their support of the product, however I believe Amex when they give their reasons for this and expect curve will work hard to get them back onboard and hope they’re successful in achieving this.
      We’ve had great value out of both cards, the limits are a little low to begin with, but we’ll both be keeping our cards and I see value in continuing to use them.

      • Bob says:

        Funny that I had a duplicate transaction on the 9th of May as well. Same here I’ll be keeping the card as well I’ve had loads of extra Avios already

    • Arun T says:

      I agree with this. I will stick with it as it isn’t really costing me anything to keep. If I lose £35 max in the event they go bust, so be it. If they do somehow (although I admit it is unlikely) sort out their issues with Amex, then its happy days.

      At worst, this saves me the hassle of remembering a new card number every time I churn a card and can still earn me a few £ on Mastercard/Visa Avios cards when I have one.

      I think people on here get a bit carried away when they find a way to game a system (Amex points) and get equally carried away when it’s taken away. A bit of realism needed.

  • Paul says:

    It’s simply not true that you will not be out of pocket . The £75 card is only receiving a £50 refund with the £25 only being repaid if the wallet is returned in its original packaging and unused.
    The wallet was a free gift, an inducement , to pay for the premium version. Indeed on their web site the offer was still available yesterday.
    This partial refund is scandalous and like their deceptive comments on FX fees completely unhelpful as it suggests the firm cannot be trusted.

    • Andrew says:

      I see the partial refund as a goodwill gesture, which they did not have to offer. It was clearly a beta product and now some of the functionality isn’t available – we can all choose whether we want to keep it or not, but let’s just relax a little.

    • harry says:

      Incorrect. Curve described it as a gift for taking out the higher level (Black) membership.

      • NFH says:

        The point is that it was not free, contrary to Paul’s comment. The gift was conditional upon paying something. Therefore if that payment is refunded, Curve can reasonably expect the conditional gift to be returned.

  • Dannyrado says:

    Well, it was good while it lasted. These things happen, and anyone who’s been at this a while will know that. Thanks for the opportunity Rob.

    Oh, and James 0755am 18th Feb, hfp comments for original curve article.. Told you so. Haha.

    • James A says:

      Just went back to see if that was me, but nope, that was another James 😉

      • Dannyrado says:

        Lol. No, just a straightforward ‘James’. He was banging on about how they were bound to have done a “risk assessment” (said in my best poindexter voice ..) Well they clearly never.

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