(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 2019 Curve review, which includes a promo code for a free £5 credit when you sign up.)
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.
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.
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
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’:
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.
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 points from credit cards? – November 2020 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are my November 2020 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
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
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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:
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.