(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.)
If you have a Curve Card, you will have received an email from them yesterday which you may have found a little confusing.
There is a big Curve announcement coming this week which I will cover on Thursday morning. If you don’t know about Curve, I will run a full explanation in that article. You can also learn more in this HFP article.
I spoke with Curve’s CEO yesterday to get an understanding of what is going on.
As many Curve cardholders have discovered, Curve has a decline rate which is higher than standard credit cards
A key reason for this is that all Curve transactions carry the same merchant reference code. Standard credit card transactions are coded based on the type of retailer or, for big companies, the exact retailer name. Unfortunately, when your underlying credit card issuer sees transaction after transaction coming through marked as ‘general’, it can trigger fraud concerns.
In order to improve acceptance, Curve transactions will now carry a merchant reference code which reflects the underlying transaction. Your underlying credit card company will now see a mix of retailer types coming through instead of just ‘general’, ‘general’, ‘general’ etc.
Another upside here is that it will trigger sector-based and, for large retailers with their own merchant code, company-based promotions. For example, the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard – until the end of the month – offers a £20 Uber credit for a £500 airline transaction. A bonus like this should now trigger if you paid with Curve as it would now carry an airline merchant code.
As part of this recoding, ATM withdrawals made using Curve will now be identifiable as cash transactions by your card issuer.
It is important to note that, short term, my understanding is that there should NOT be charges for making ATM withdrawals with Curve. However, over time, it is possible that individual credit card companies will make changes to treat these transactions as cash withdrawals.
(ATM withdrawals made using Curve when it is linked to a debit card will continue to be free regardless.)
We have seen the same thing happen with Revolut. Some credit card companies have changed their terms and conditions recently to treat Revolut transactions as pseudo-cash, and so incurring cash withdrawal fees. Other credit card companies have not, so you can load your Revolt card from those credit cards and have it treated as a purchase, earning miles and points. (Our main article on Revolut including a HFP special offer for applying is here.)
For now, you should be able to continue making £200 per month of ATM withdrawals with Curve Card and have them treated as a purchase, earning miles and points on the underlying card. Keep an eye on your emails and card statements, however, as you may receive notice from your underlying issuer that this will change.
(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.)