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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 points from credit cards? – January 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

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

Nectar American Express

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

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

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 card

American Express Business Gold

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

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

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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.

Comments (179)

  • Rob says:

    T&C’s imply the new scheme is only for sign ups after mid Feb.

  • Faithy says:

    Do the curve card and linked card need to belong to the same person?
    Would a spouse work?

  • Tical says:

    Have you had success funding an ISA or a SIPP with the Curve? Should work as it is a debit card but seems to fail to pass 3D verification.

    • Random user says:

      I was wondering this. Revolut’s card is rejected by my investment platform. These cards might be treated as prepaid cards rather than “true” debit cards unfortunately.

  • Test says:

    How does curve make money

    • Roger says:

      As stated earlier, they probably don’t.

    • Rob says:

      It’s a fin tech start-up, it has no real interest in making money 🙂 Santander is one of the main backers.

    • Harry says:

      I thought they are arbitraging merchant charges between Commercial Mastercard Debit vs your linked cards, although I have no idea what the processing rates are.

      If that is the reason they have uncoupled AMEX, wouldn’t it be great to have the option of paying the difference, say 0.5-1% extra for transactions on Amex.

      In any case, our collective spending habits must be worth a little something in the analytics sphere.

  • Don says:

    Just signed up, 40,000 people in the queue so far.

  • Nigel Williams says:

    Well, there are 40K people ahead of me in the queue for a card 🙁

  • Peter K says:

    I had the same problem at Tesco.

  • Ja Lawrie says:

    Was 40k when joined 4 hours ago, now down to 4K in queue.

    Rob is on to a good referral income ????