(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 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.
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
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.