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Why Curve Card is a no-brainer for UK air miles and points collectors

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Curve Card, the free Mastercard that allows you to merge all of your Mastercard and Visa cards into one product, has added an extra benefit – cashback rewards for new cardholders for three months.

(Well, it added it three weeks ago but we only just got around to fitting it in!)

This replaced the original rewards scheme offered during the beta phase.

What is Curve Card?

Put simply, every purchase you charge to your Curve Card is recharged to a linked Visa or Mastercard.  Via the Curve app you can select which card is charged per transaction, allowing you to add all of your Visa and Mastercard credit cards and then switch between them at will.

Curve Card is a debit card.  You can use it anywhere where a debit card is accepted – even places where credit cards are not accepted.  This includes paying HMRC as I showed here.

This is why Curve Card is worth having:

You make your debit card purchase using Curve Card

Curve recharges it to your linked Visa or Mastercard credit card

It goes through your linked Visa or Mastercard credit card as a purchase

It therefore earns points from your linked Visa or Mastercard

You have just earned credit card points from making a debit card transaction

And the best bit is that Curve Card is free.  In fact, it is better than free – Curve Card will pay you £5 for taking it out.

It actually gets even better, due to two additional Curve Card benefits:

You can withdraw £200 of cash per month from an ATM and have it charged to your credit card as a purchase – this means it earns miles and points. 

Foreign currency transactions made on Curve are recharged to your linked Visa or Mastercard in Sterling with a 1% foreign exchange adjustment.  This makes it a better deal than using the underlying card which is likely to have a 3% FX fee.

There are more practical features too, such as the ability to export your spending data for analysis and the ability (as I found out myself in November when I lost my wallet) to lock the card from your phone.  As Curve is contactless, it is also a way of making any non-contactless Visa or Mastercard you have into a contactless one.

And now a rewards scheme too

Curve Card has recently launched a rewards scheme for new customers. 

For the first three months, it will pay you 1% cashback on your purchases as three retailers of your choice.

The retailers you can choose from include:

Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsburys, Starbucks, Caffe Nero, Pret A Manger, EAT, Deliveroo, Just Eat, Boots, GAP, H&M, Top Shop / Topman, ASOS, Zara, Ikea, House of Fraser, TFL, Gett, Virgin Trains, BP, Shell, Netflix, Spotify and more

If you pay £50 for Curve Premium – which I don’t recommend as the extra benefits are few – you can earn 1% back at six retailers instead of three and get access to a wider range which includes:

Amazon, Ocado, Apple, Selfridges, Whole Foods, Uber, easyJet, Four Seasons Hotels, Dishoom

Card limits

Before you too get excited, it is important to note that Curve imposes some limits on what you can spend.  Don’t think that you can instantly pay a huge VAT bill with it.

The maximum spending limit is £3750 per day, £20000 per month and £50000 per year.  As a new cardholder, you are likely to be capped at £2000 per day and £20000 per year.   This limits will increase as the company grows to trust you.

The other warning to note is that purchases with Curve Card do not get you Section 75 coverage in case the retailer goes bust.  This is because there is no direct contract between the card company and the merchant, as Curve sits inbetween.  However Curve does use MasterCard Chargeback for customers to claim on lost goods as you can read here.

How to order a Curve Card

The Curve Card is FREE so there is no harm in trying it out.

(I am understating the case massively.  If you pay any bills which take a debit card but not a credit card, you would be crazy not to pay them with a Curve Card linked to a rewards Visa or Mastercard.  Similarly, if you withdraw cash from ATMs it is no-brainer to use a Curve Card for the first £200 per month as it will be treated as a points-earning purchase on your linked credit card.)

The Curve website is here if you want to know more.  You need to download the Curve app for your phone and order a card from there if you want to try it out.

If you use a refer-a-friend code when you sign up – my code is OQB4J – you will receive £5 off your first transaction with the card.  You must use a referral code to get the £5 credit.

If you have self-employed income, you may want to get the corporate version although the benefits now appear to be the same as the consumer card.  You can see full details under the ‘Accountants / Business’ tab on the Curve website.  If you use a refer-a-friend code when you sign up for the small business version – my code is OQB4J – you will receive 500 Curve Rewards points (worth £5 off any transaction) when you first use your card.

(EDITED:  an earlier version of this article said that the original rewards scheme had been retained for the business version.  This was wrong, sorry.)

If you have one of the earlier corporate versions issued as a pre-paid business Mastercard, you may want to enquire about switching to a debit version.  This will also make it easier to use at establishments which had issues with the old card because it was coded as a pre-paid card.  Curve is happy to switch you over to the debit card and it arrives within a few days.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (180)

  • DJ says:

    Can it also be used to pay bills such on barclays card or amex?

  • Lee says:

    Note that with the recent changes in the terms of conditions any rewards now expire after 6 months if not used. So use any rewards that have sat in your account for a while.

    • Genghis says:

      This also came up with my conversation with Curve. Whilst it is indeed in the T&Cs, it is not currently being applied as they supposedly do not have the technology yet to implement it.

    • Alex W says:

      I tried this on both my wife’s and my own curve. I topped up my Amazon account with both our curve cards, £1 linked to credit card. Transactions both went through fine, no £1 holding charge.

      Then tried to top up £5 using curve rewards. Transaction failed both times because they deducted the £1 holding charge from the curve rewards balance. How strange and annoying! I can’t understand why they didn’t take the holding charge from the first transaction. Anyway, a week has passed and the £1 holding charges have finally been refunded.

      • Rob says:

        Amazon always take a £1 holding charge oj new cards. Remember that Amazon never asks for your security code when making a purchase – they use their own fraud protection which they believe has a similar impact but without the ‘drag’ caused by making customers dig out their CVV code.

      • Alex W says:

        Amazon didn’t take the holding charge off the first transaction of both curve cards. They only took a holding charge for the second transactions.

  • RussellH says:

    Sorry, but what does

    > more practical features too, such as the ability to export your spending data for analysis

    actually mean??

    I cannot think of when I have ever ‘analysed’ my spending – strange new chemicals I made back in my research days, yes, but not ‘spending’.

    Or does this just mean that Curve does not issue statements. Presumably there is no need, as it works as a gateway to another card that does issue monthly statements / bills?

    • the_real_a says:

      It means you can pull the transaction data in Xero or excel for account purposes. The new buzz in fintech is allowing greater access to one’s own data. For the business card this made perfect sense as you could easily account for expenses. For the consumer card its less of a benefit.

  • Kathryn says:

    Does anyone know if you can link it to a US card? For example, if my husband got a curve card could we link it to my US Safire visa?

  • Tilly says:

    Trying to sign up but the email from them after downloading the app isn’t coming through. Checked junk folder too and nothing. Oh well.

    • Tilly says:

      I wad obviously impatient. Signed up now but over 40,000 ahead of me …….

  • Bach says:

    What happens if I link a no FX fee card to curve (Halifax Clarity)? From what I understand it would still use the curve FX + 1% so in this case better not use curve abroad. Or did I miss something?

    • Andrew says:

      It only makes sense to link it to a rewards card that does charge FX fees, that way you pay the reduced 1% to Curve and still gain the rewards from the linked card. Halifax Clarity offers no rewards and charges no FX fees, but linking it to Curve would attract a 1% charge per transaction abroad……pointless.

      • Bach says:

        Well the “carry 1 card and leave the rest at home” was the point. But no point if that makes me lose money indeed. Thanks

        • Andrew says:

          In the UK I use Curve linked to Creation IHG card and also carry the same IHG card as back up.

          Abroad……same as above except I carry my Clarity card as back up instead of the IHG card.

        • George says:

          You can tell Curve the natural currency of the underlying card and they will charge that. This means in the USA you set clarity to USD and you’re good to go with no fee

    • Lee says:

      Use Clarity abroad if over £100 in value as you will be protected. No protection with Curve.

      Or I think you can change the underlying card currency to say USD if in the USA and avoid the 1%.

    • Alan says:

      Just change the currency for the linked card to the one you’re spending in and you’ll be sorted – I’ve done this for many different currencies on the Lloyds Avios Mastercard. Have now switched to using Revolut though for forex transactions since they made it free to top-up using CC, as I can get better benefits topping up Revolut balance from IHG.

  • Ash says:

    I’ve been using this card for a while now and can honestly say it’s a great card, never had any declines unlike the old Travelex card issued ironically by a global payment provider. Recently came back from San Fran where I got charged twice for one transaction and their customer service was very knowledgeable (tips can be charged under a separate transaction sometimes) and corrected it straight away. Just a shame you can’t link it to an Amex!

  • Andrew says:

    Remain on the curve rewards scheme I think, but you’d need to confirm that by sending a message to Curve.